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The Value of Higher Education to Global Tourism

The Value of Higher Education to Global Tourism
February 5, 2018

With the 28th Annual CAUTHE (Council of Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Educators) Conference commencing in Newcastle today, Dr David Beirman of the University of Technology Sydney has considered the value of higher education to global tourism.

Hosted by the Tourism Discipline in the University of Newcastle’s Newcastle Business School in the Faculty of Business and Law, CAUTHE 2018 is being held from 5th to 8th February 2018 in the University landmark NeW Space City Campus.

Representing all Australian and New Zealand based institutions offering degree courses in tourism and hospitality - including universities, TAFE and private degree granting colleges - over 200 tourism academics and higher degree research students have gathered for the CAUTHE Conference.

The CAUTHE Conference attracts academics from well over 20 countries and is the largest annual gathering of tourism academics in the world and this year over 130 academics and higher degree students  will present papers on their various areas of research.

Writing for ETB Travel News, Dr Berriman explains “throughout the year, all over the world, tourism academics gather at conferences to share their research. Globally, there are over 30 high quality academic journals devoted to tourism and hospitality studies in which tourism scholars publish their research.

“Academics focus on just about every topic relevant to tourism. Many publish on sustainability, tourism business and destination marketing, tourism, destination and hospitality management, event management, tourism trends, the political dimension of tourism and risk crisis and recovery management.

“In addition to journal articles, new books and manuals are being published by tourism academics to add to the growing body of literature on tourism.

“Much of this research contributes to the industry’s understanding of the industry’s big issues.

“Globally, over five million students are studying tourism at tertiary level. The growth of tourism as a focal point of tertiary study has taken off strongly in Asia and in many developing countries where tourism is now recognised as a key sector in economic growth.

“Historically, the global tourism industry was slow to recognise the value of tourism degrees. Not so many years ago, many employers regarded job candidates with degrees as ‘nerds’ who had acquired a body of knowledge useless and irrelevant to jobs.

“In the past, the only training which was valued by employers were those skills to do their job. Times have changed and many employers now see the value of hiring graduates with a broad understanding of the tourism industry, an ability to think strategically, laterally, critically and creatively.

“These qualities are effectively addressed by most degree granting institutions. My own university, University of Technology-Sydney, in common with most good tertiary institutions is committed to extensive industry engagement with students.

“All UTS tourism students undertake an internship to apply what they learn to working with a tourism and hospitality enterprise.

“Many other reputable institutions offer similar programs. Universities and colleges encourage their students to undertake original research individually and in teams which is valuable preparation for management. Universities also focus extensively on presentation and communications skills which is valuable for many tourism and hospitality jobs.

“As the tourism industry becomes increasingly, competitive professional, tech savvy and reliant on strong strategic skills, employers with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees will be increasingly valued.

“Generally candidates with a degree in tourism can contribute a great deal to any tourism and hospitality enterprise. Most tertiary institutions which teach tourism are committed to enhancing their links with industry.

“Unfortunately, some barriers between town and gown remain. It is vital for both educators and industry that this barrier is broken down. Both the tourism industry and tertiary tourism educators have a lot to contribute to each other.”

Dr David Beirman is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism in the Management Discipline Group, University of Technology Sydney.

Click here to read the original article in ETB Travel News.

Click here for more information on the 28th annual CAUTHE Conference in the Australasian Leisure Management industry Calendar. 

Images: Newcastle University's landmark NeW Space City Campus (top) and Dr David Beirman (below).

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