The travel and tourism industry and hospitality education are transforming. Each year, over 1 billion tourists travel to another country and the number keeps growing. The industry by 2026 will support 1 in every 9 jobs i.e., 370 million jobs. The sharing economy, technology, and innovation are reshaping and personalizing the consumer experience. For example, Airbnb is valued at $30 billion—that’s as much as the world’s largest hotel chain, Marriott International. The last two decades have seen an increased sense of self-awareness and reflection regarding the current state and the future evolution of hospitality. Virtual and augmented reality have been driving innovation across sectors, creating new layers and multi-sensory experiences in gaming, dining, hotels, retail, and entertainment. These have created a new need for the internship/industry experience, preparation for industry employment, leadership, hospitality management and organization, and ethics. Hence, the most important factor in developing a curriculum that ensures graduates’ success in their career is the hospitality program’s ability to deal with changes.
Education – The Cornerstone
Hospitality education began as vocational – artisanal and practical in nature based on standard practice. Later, hospitality education evolved increasingly into management science based on research and empirical evidence. But in an economic environment, which depends less and less on norms and standards or on processes and traditional economies, it is unlikely that either approach will be sufficient to address the needs of today’s post-industrial environment. It is reasonable to believe that hospitality education must now enter the third phase—while not completely abandoning practice-based vocational science—must at the very least embrace a substantial new aspect based on arts approaches and design.
Vocational knowledge is based on transmitted know-how generally of a less intellectual and more practical nature-based on mastery of existing techniques as judged by other masters.
Tomorrow’s hospitality leader needs not only to learn to act according to develop the competencies to think critically, measure satisfaction and performance, and apply a set of tools to achieve standards, she/he needs to be able to create a complex new environment and experience and then shortly thereafter tear it all down and build it over again to achieve a new surprise. To reiterate, while this more artistic approach will not simply replace the practice-based training and management science education as a new model, it will be an element that will complement both. It is impossible to create new experiences without knowing traditions and techniques, and management of business processes, people, and performance, especially in the new era of sophisticated distribution and advanced technology, will continue to be relevant and necessary.
Experience Is Career Ladder
Management roles can be found in all sectors of the hospitality industry. Because companies in the hospitality industry operate multiple units, a manager with multi-unit responsibility for a restaurant, pub, hotel, club, or catering outlet, is viewed as absolutely crucial. Where there are large numbers of small units, for example, the restaurant and contract catering sectors, there is also a requirement for large numbers of multiunit or area managers. To operate the large size and complexity, specialist managers, such as HR, marketing, or finance, are commonly hired at the head office level rather than working within the units themselves.
The career opportunities available in these categories of management roles vary considerably across the industry. One of the greatest factors is its size and complexity. Generally, unit management in smaller units in restaurants, hotels, contract catering outlets, or pubs tends to be hands-on and focused on operations. Larger operations, for example, hotels, the general manager is increasingly required to focus on longer-term strategy, product, and market development, and it is his or her deputy who focuses on the day-to-day operation.
Toward a New Paradigm
Preparing students capable of meeting the challenge of innovation involves higher education establishments. Institutes now create sustainable educational programs that provide students with the necessary skills for the business world of today and tomorrow. Young students need a natural transition from being qualified to be competent. To empower them, industry-inspired schools that have evolved and adjusted to higher education standards are more prominent in some countries than in others. Equally noteworthy is the fact that some countries are absent from the top listings, whilst the economic importance of their hotel sector would certainly justify the presence of a strong hospitality education system.
Many schools have redesigned their practices or recontextualized them putting the focus on managerial experiences. The fact that students participate in operational activities is sometimes seen as undesirable in view of university standards and regulations, whilst a lack of preparation for practical work will generally jeopardize industry relations and graduates’ options for career entrance. The development of the educational system and institutions is one of the driving forces behind this movement that prioritizes theoretical over practical education. Practical facilities are expensive, and budget restraints have caused schools to eliminate the corresponding educational experiences or to outsource these, e.g. in cooperation with a commercial business. These measures have affected the competitiveness of “academicized” curricula as prospective students value the existence of practical facilities in their study choices.
Scope and Future Will Not Disappear But Take Different Form
The insertion of hospitality programs in an academic environment has contributed to the maturity of the discipline, in the sense that schools and universities have become sources of knowledge, whereas initially discipline knowledge would be generated elsewhere: in business environments, governmental studies, think tanks, etc. But this maturity has also turned the vocational roots of these programs into a constraint. Institutes have tied curriculum development too close to the needs of the industry and have prevented the subject from expanding into a consideration of the wider issues which are raised by and underlie hospitality.
Economically, the travel and tourism industry alone has contributed a whopping $8.9 trillion to the global economy in 2018 and generated 319 million jobs. In fact, this industry has a growth rate more than the world GDP put together. This dictates volumes about the substantial contribution the travel and tourism industry has been making, continually, to the global economy. Career opportunities such as accommodation manager, chef, and hotel managers attract a wider range of students seeking organizational and time management skills. These hospitality management jobs are rewarding as well as challenging. The career progression in this industry is also fast, thanks to the abundance of opportunities available.
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