Approach and discussion of the new challenges for the tourism sector in the EfVET Thematic Team Tourism (TTT)
From the 30th of May till the 1st of June 2022 the Thematic Team Tourism met in Zwolle, Netherlands. The host school was Landstede which is a regional training centre in the region of Harderwijk and provides secondary vocational education to approximately 11,000 students.
The main topic of the seminar was to discuss the new challenges of tourism and education in these years and to share knowledge and ideas and the good practices of the participants. Therefore, some subgroup sessions were developed during the seminar so as to have different perspectives of the same issue regarding tourism and education. In fact, participants were also divided into three groups in order to have diverse discussions during the sessions.
The first subgroup was the Future of Tourism. One of the main concerns that were discussed was the problem of digitalisation. Many users do appreciate the fact that it is easier nowadays to book a certain flight or a hotel, but tourism students believe that digitalisation is reducing employment opportunities and if the tendency continues in this way, it would destroy more in the near future. Indeed, digitalisation is also reducing personal connections. The second subgroup was Digital Tourism. In this case it is undeniable that digital tools are going to stay, but there are many professionals in many sectors from the labour market who do not know how to use them. However, students do know how to deal with these tools because they belong to the digital generation. Therefore, should we teach our students how to use digital tools if they already know how to do it?
The third subgroup was related to Sustainability in Tourism. The issue in this case is how to deal with the fact of trying to pollute less in a world where travelling is becoming a must in every aspect of life. The fourth subgroup was the one associated with Mobility and Work-Based Learning. It is clear that for this there is not the need for more KA1s but more educational policy which leads to change the VET curricula, in order to have more contact with the labour market. The last two subgroups were TTT future plans and TTT road maps. One of the main proposals was to create a database in order to collect all the good practices developed by the members. Moreover, there were also some proposals for training courses for teachers and some projects for the mobility of them.
In conclusion, it is undeniable that there are many challenges in the field of tourism and many of them are already here. The future of tourism seems to be more and more digital, but not necessarily sustainable. Moreover, it seems that students want more contact with the labour market and teachers need to be trained with digital skills and mobility for them. For the future plans, the creation of a database could be helpful for the spread of the acquired knowledge.