WORKING IN TOURISM
One would expect that a potential career in the industry would be something a young person aspires to.
Unfortunately, this is not the case, due to the absence of holistic tourism conscious, familiarization and education at primary and secondary level.
In addition, there is limited knowledge and understanding on:
- the importance of tourism & hospitality to the economy
- the plethora of stakeholders involved
- the impacts on local communities
- career perceptions and ultimately recognising tourism as a vital tool for shaping a prosperous future.
COMMUNITY EDUCATION & VALUES
Tourism education and training, therefore, in schools and communities especially in destination with tourism interest can enhance the development of sound, responsible practices of tourism management.
This process will result in environmentally and socially conscious residents who will be empowered to develop a local viable visitor economy.
Enhancing attitudes and values should also be part of the education process.
Attitudes and values with regards to are vital in developing individual and group responsibility mentality:
- tourist interactions
- the environment and community
- partnership and collaboration culture
Most importantly the next generation must learn to celebrate and value local culture, nature, history in order to act as catalysts and change agents in tourism practices.
A comprehensive understanding of attitudes and values, as well as their adoption will enable communities to choose what they wish to preserve and what should change for the benefit of the destination’s future and its competitive advantage.
Creating awareness, concern and care for the environment, striving to find ways to bring new people, new perspectives, new ideas, developing the attitude “we are in this together” and realizing we are on a mission for the greater good are appealing messages which a community and in particular the youth should adopt.
MEETING TRAVELERS' INTERESTS
There is an overgrowing demand for unique, authentic, immersive experiences since travelers are continuously looking for holistic meaningful life changing opportunities and moments.
Travelers are more interested in the impacts of their travels and are willing to support tourism which benefits local people and the environment.
ADAPTING TO CHANGE
Covid-19 pandemic along with the critical environmental issues highlighted over-tourism and the fragility of communities strongly dependent on tourism. The importance of strengthening and protecting economically, culturally, environmentally local communities is discussed globally.
EQUAL COMMUNITY BENEFITS
Currently visiting a destination does not necessary mean that local people participate or benefit equally as a community.
The type of tourism where local communities invite tourists into their communities, giving them insight into their culture, daily events, and allow them to connect closely with them is the future successful model.
Tourism owned and managed by communities requires care, preparation and strategy as it is intended to deliver wider community benefits.
SHAPING THE FUTURE THROUGH LOCAL COMMUNITIES
Tourism growth must be centered on the kind of future the community is leaving for the next generation.
The aim therefore, is to improve tourism business practices, destination sustainability and resilience, the people’s well-being, successful conservation of nature and its resources ultimately leading to the creation of more healthy and prosperous societies.
Investing in distinctiveness and differentiation from competition is a critical success factor.
The shift in tourism is that sustainability is no longer about doing less harm instead it is about doing more good.
The concept and prospective of “Giving back” plays a significant role currently in sustainable tourism.
Tourism by nature is an extractive industry since as travelers, we take something away when visiting destinations. The focus therefore should be to find ways to shift from extractive to attractive.
Even though destinations improve in how to attract visitors, in most cases it is not done in a sustainable way.
Very few destinations that create and lead on tourism products plan or have in place the necessary education mechanisms to prepare and develop local people.
Educating a destination’s social capital as early as possible is critical in building community empowerment, resilience, regeneration, synergies which will all lead to prosperity and a thriving visitor economy.
PROSPER & THRIVE
KEY BENEFITS FOR COMMUNITY & YOUTH
The ultimate goal is communities to benefit in the following three key areas, and these to become the norm for the next generation whose decisions will impact the future of tourism.
Education and training of tourism in schools and communities surrounding tourism destinations will enhance the development of sound, responsible practices of tourism management.
At the same time producing environmentally and socially conscious citizens who are empowered to develop their tourism and hospitality industry viably.
Determining and prioritizing current, short, long-term goals and planning with a holistic view is more likely to ensure sustainable, achievable and beneficial results.