Tourism Management Programmes in Higher Education: Past, Present And Future
The tourism industry has experienced tremendous growth both in size and complexity during the latter half of the twentieth century. Global tourism today provides employment for more than 222 million people worldwide, or approximately one in every twelve workers, and it is widely believed that service industries are one of the major potential growth areas of post-industrial societies (Brackenbury, 2002). Tourism represents a significant portion of the world economy at macro level, as well as a generator of economic growth in countries at micro level (Padurean & Maggi, 2009). It is also worth noting that tourism, as an industry, supports and stimulates directly or indirectly a number of related economic sectors. Consequently tourism occupies a considerable space in the agendas of both developed and developing countries and governments pay considerable importance to the tourism sector, which potentially can drive a countries’ economy forward. The growth of tourism in turn fueled a dramatic increase in the number and types of programmes offered in colleges and universities around the world (Riegel & Dallas, 1999). In addition, changes in the work environment, increased competition, a demanding and increasingly sophisticated clientele, advances in technology and the changing expectations of investors, employers and employees have profoundly impacted education and training as it relates to the industry (International Labor Organization, 2001). As the industry continues to evolve, programme curricula have come under intense scrutiny from key stakeholders namely educators, alumni, students, and industry professionals, and a key reason for this is the need to satisfy institutional and industry demands (Martin, Ryan, Regna, & Regna, 2002). From the point of view of human capital theory, tourism education aims to enhance people’s ability in dealing with uncertainties in the tourism industry and managing future changes in the tourism labour market globally. Tourism education, often as the starting point in the training and development of human capital to undertake occupations in the tourism industry, not only adds value, raises personnel quality and infuses a sense of tourism professionalism, but also serves to sustain the local communities that underpin successful tourist destinations. Higher education in Tourism tends to focus on enabling students for future careers in the industry. There has been no attention given to the meaning of tourism education in higher education, and certainly no elaboration has been provided regarding careers in philosophical tourism, or tourism education as a career. Therefore the paper analysis tourism programmes in higher education by examining past, present and future trends and industry demands in tourism management and higher education. The paper also elaborates on the perspective of providing students with a philosophical and sociological foundation for decision making strategies, as well as for professional philosophical industry preparation.
Index Terms— Education Challenges, Employability, Future Education, Tourism Management.