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Education in the tourism industry and how it works

Tourism studies are the threshold of a successful carrier in the tourism and travel industry and many institutes either private or public are trying to advance the level of their programs in order to attract more students.

Tourism is a huge industry that yields millions in revenues every year. Tourism studies play a major role in the preparation of future leaders and a well trained labor force can boost a destination or make the difference in a more globalized environment and more competitive market.

Specialized studies in the tourism field are growing fast as global travel is increasing both in the business and in the leisure field. This means that the trained staff must be prepared to cope with a multicultural clientele and has to have the right qualifications to fit in today’s environment.

Today’s educational programs are trying to adjust in this kind of thinking and concentrate both to the industry and to the students needs. The hospitality sector is a strong segment within the tourism industry and many schools are offering hospitality studies based on a constant contact with hotel operators which gives the opportunity to students to practice in real conditions. Practice is the key for a successful carrier in the tourism industry as the real environment gives the whole idea and taste as the theoretical basis and knowledge acquired in schools sets the fundamental steps for the future.

Tourism management is essential also in the academic programs especially in US and many US institutes either private or public have management studies in their academic programs. Important though is the fact of the internship and how the studies that one student is receiving will lead to a future job in the tourism field. Many schools in Europe and US are working closely with companies and organizations within the industry and offer internship credits that help them to have access to the market.

Furthermore the number of the students who choose to follow a carrier in the tourism sector is increasing. The biggest markets in the tourism industry that offer equal level of studies are the USA, Canada and Europe. Asia – Pacific region’s tourism growth is increasing fast and this will help the opening of more tourism related schools in the continent as there is a significant lack of specialized institutes in the region.

An important aspect of the increasing demand of tourism studies in Asia is the fact that many universities from Japan, Korea, Singapore and China have signed memorandum of understanding with universities from US in order to open new faculties or advance the level of the studies in their existing programs.

The various institutes and tourism colleges around the world, especially in the big markets are hosting many students who are from different countries. Undergraduates or future students that choose tourism as their future carrier depends on their needs and standards but its crucial if the college or the institute can open the door to the working place.

Differences among US, Europe and Asia

There are some important differences in the educational programs offered by institutes in US, Europe and Asia. Unquestionable, the systems in US and Europe – where the heart of the tourism industry lies – are the most advanced and comply more with the needs of the industry.

Until the mid to late 90’s European schools were more technically or skill oriented but now include management related courses.

“The undergraduate programs in the US, are oriented to the business aspects of tourism such as management, planning and development,” Dr. Lalia Rach Associate Dean and HVS International Chair NYU Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management said.

“Historically, the difference between US, European and Asian programs has been the focus on management, internship credit and the years of study.”

Qualifications that are in the top list of tourism companies and organizations :

According to Deans from respectful universities and schools, tourism companies and tourism organizations around the world are searching for those most skilled persons that can be trustworthy and adjust easily in the rapid changes of the industry. People who are responsible and don’t hesitate to take action are highly appreciate it in a more tough and competitive environment. But two requirements are in the pole position of the preferences:

  1. Staff that is trained in multicultural norms
  2. Teamwork and leadership

Research advances academic programs

Research is very important for understanding the trends of the global travel market. This market is changing rapidly and private and public institutes are launching research programs or trying to advance the already existing ones in order to cope with the industry needs.

Many institutes in Europe and in US are in close cooperation with companies and conduct researches. The institutes pay attention to the results of the surveys or research either being conducted by them or by the companies in order to come out with useful information and data which will give guidance lines to their academic programs.

Finally, another growing factor in the education in the tourism sector today is the e-learning method. This method is gaining ground as many universities and private schools have enhanced this system by giving more significance to the e-learning method. The imminent results were the growing number of students both in local and international level. But if this method is going to surpass the traditional way of teaching is still unclear.