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Conference Report: `Innovation in hospitality and tourism education`

The European Congress titled Innovation in hospitality and tourism education was jointly organised this year by the European Council for Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Education (EuroCHRIE<.>), the…

The European Congress titled Innovation in hospitality and tourism education was jointly organised this year by the European Council for Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Education (EuroCHRIE<.>), the International Association of Hotel Management Schools (IAHMS) and the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). This very successful congress was held at Maastricht, the Netherlands the 26-28 of October 2000. The general theme was Innovation in hospitality and tourism education and although the majority of the delegates were affiliated with universities, an important number of industry practitioners and tourism policy makers were also represented. The conference aimed to bring together all relevant stakeholders to discuss a wide portfolio of issues related to the hospitality and tourism industry and education. The mixed audience of more than 140 participants included representatives from all over Europe, as well as from North America, Australia, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This combination ensured the exchange of diversified ideas, and guaranteed lively and interesting discussions during the several academic and industry workshops, refereed paper presentations, posters, and joint panels.

Without doubt, this year` joint EuroCHRIE, IAHMS and HSMAI congress proved to be a really big, interested, varied and excellently organised and administered event. The majority of papers focused on the imperatives of the continual dynamically changing environment on hospitality curriculum development, delivery and design. Overall, eighteen referred papers thematically divided into eight tracks were presented during eight concurrent sessions: a) the learning of knowledge acquisition; b) developing students-oriented learning strategies; c) integrated approaches of education; d) quality management in hospitality education; e) distance learning on line; f) vie on leadership skills; g) innovations in the tourism curriculum; h) training on multimedia technology skills.

Steward (Washington State University and International College of Hotel and Restaurant Administration) argued that a transformation from a teaching environment to a learning environment is required whereby the teacher becomes a learner himself. The concept of the learning organisation was the core of most arguments regarding educational transformation and Van der Meer (Hotel Management School Maastricht) clearly illustrated how the Hoge Hotel School achieves continuous learning by diverting their approach from problem based education to problem based learning. Dieleman (Hotel Management School Maastricht) argued that there are two critical goals of learning strategies namely self-awareness and self- development and proposed a Competence Based Learning program that aims at life long improvements at both personal and organisational levels.

The need to develop hospitality educational programs that take a holistic approach by satisfying all stakeholders was also argued by Christou (Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki) and Kuo and Westlake (University of Bournemouth). The application of a Total Quality Management (TQM) approach was the central part of these arguments whereby innovative TQM implementation frameworks specifically designed for hospitality education were presented. Becker`s, Connolly`s (Dundalk Institute of Technology) and Losekoot`s (Scottish Hotel School) research findings provided empirical evidence of the in some extent overlooked need to take into consideration the characteristics and needs of hospitality students in designing and developing hospitality educational material, learning methods and environment.

Moreover, several speakers, e.g. Antonakis (University Center Cesar Ritz), Maas, Turner, Applebee and Margules (Hotel Management School Maastricht) and Wells (University of Canberra) highlighted the nowadays indispensable need to incorporate innovation, leadership and entrepreneurial skills into the design and development of the hospitality curriculum as transformational forces in both demand and supply sides are continually shifting our society from a managerial to an entrepreneurial one.

A special interest and focus was also given to the role of new technologies on both the design – i.e. curriculum development – as well as the delivery- i.e. Web based- of hospitality education, Sigala (University of Surrey), Maas, Wells and Kandampully, (University of Ipswich, Australia).

According to Sigala, this is crucially important since, despite its wide diffusion and application of multimedia technologies, the hospitality industry was found to possess limited skills/competencies as concerns the strategic and operational exploitation of new technologies, while on the other hand, its ability and efforts to deliver training on such skills was limited and constrained by financial and operational issues.

The next EuroCHRIE conference will be held at Brig, Switzerland, the October of 2001. More information will be published shortly, but, for any preliminary inquiries please contact with the EuroCHRIE Secretary & Treasurer, Mr. Evangelos Christou (

Evangelos Christou

Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki

Department of Tourism Management


Marianna Sigala

University of Surrey

School of Management Studies for the Service Sector


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