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New Trends in Tourism
 

It is tourist’s preferences or motivation travels are changing, Tourism education need to adopt to significant societal and industry changes so that the new generation students can lead the industry into the future as it faces increasing pressures for responsibility and stewardship that puts a  priority for change in tourism educational programmes, fundamentally re-design not incrementally by adding new courses or putting courses on line, but by changing the nature of what is taught and how it is taught.

Skills and knowledge sets must be redefined; structures are to be discussed and old ways of doing things must be transcended. We have to keep in mind tourism employment in the coming decades will have a very different profile then it does today. Already what is taught now in our institutes (IITTM’s) have become obsolete. The education has to be need based to the industry’s changing scene and provide responsible leadership qualities with technically savy. To be more specific the syllabus to be value based tourism education. In the global scene we understand that there is an initiative from five sponsoring universities (Temple University and university of Hawai USA, The university of Quensland (Australia) Bocconi University (Italy) and model university (Austria) .

They had deliberations to discuss and recommend a frame work for a new tourism curriculum for 2010-2030.

Specifically they came together with the intentions that include. (i) To understand the changing environment that future students of tourism and hospitality will enter upon graduation (ii) identify the values, knowledge and capabilities that graduates will need to lead positively responsibly and effectively and time frame was kept for 2010-2030 (References Coles, Hall and Dural, 2006; Pink 2005, Samuelson, 2006 p -356 walles and steptoc, 2006. The initiative is called BEST EDUCATION NET WORK (BESTEN) (www.besteducationalwork.org).They is continuing with research on regular basis and furthering the development and dissemination of knowledge in the field of sustainable tourism. They have put emphasis on Destination Steward Ship skills (ability to respect and work with all stake holders’ environmental management skills, knowledge sharing skills form the primary objectives)

 Political and Ethical Skills (ethical behavior and practices human values at the work place and ability to motivate political process, Enhanced Human Resources Skills (Team building, leadership, meeting challenges etc) and Dynamic Business Skills (multitasking, entrepreneurship decision making (thinking)

As tourism promoting country we have to associate ourselves with such educational universities and take their guidance to re-organize our educational curriculum based on that expert and researched inputs and adopt to Indian scenario to the optimum level possible. Tourism education has to create a frame work for a value-based tourism curriculum that will be relevant and effective to meet the new challenges of the industry.   

We always think that tourists have always travelled to distant parts of the world, even India, to see buildings (rich architectural Heritage Buildings) which are termed as Cultural Tourism and till date India is branded as a major cultural tourism destination. We have also dovetailed our efforts for leisure travel with Beach holidays Mountain Resorts, Wildlife resorts and luxury Heritage Hotels (Palace Hotels). We have to look into the new trends.

We have to create special focused curriculum for Winter Tourism – i.e., Skiing Holidays and Safety norms Do’s & Don’ts. In India, government through Gulmarg Sports Project and its umbrella organization Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering have made a very good beginning. We have now developed Ski Resorts in Gulmarg (J & K), Auli (Uttarakhand), Solang Nala (Himachal Pradesh) Kufri (Himachal Pradesh) Kumaon Hills attracting winter tourism tourists. But we do not have regular curriculum for having Ski professional trainers and its regular supply to service this specialized tourism segment.

 Now there is a new trend of Mass Tourism through movement of charters. Mass Tourism need a different education for handling big groups and different languages and interest. It can develop with improvements in infrastructure at all levels, improvement of airports, Technology, allowing the transport of large numbers of people by air, or surface, Rail, Cruise etc in a short space of time to boost of leisure interest so that greater number of people could enjoy the benefits of leisure time. To boost this segment of tourism: Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has made special Travel Trade Cell to look after charter operations and norms for charters to India are regulated. But this also needs special training and adopt the global norms for operations.

There are several other new trends and our tourism education Curriculum needs to include them in the tourism education syllabus. These areas are “Adjective Termed” as tourism which refers to the numerous Niche or Specialty Travel Forms that have emerged over the years, each with its own adjective. Many of these have come into common use by the tourism industry and academics in the western universities. These are emerging concepts that are gaining popular usage and often termed as Niche Tourism Products. These include “Agri Tourism” visiting agro Farms, Wineries, Rural centers. India has better opportunities for servicing such experiential tourists. Here travel has a similar definition of tourism but implies “a more purpose full journey” i.e., to satisfy his special likings in the field of agriculture farming real tourism experience etc.

This is often now clubbed under Sustainable tourism. Another focused trend in tourism where the emphasis is “Management of all resources in such a way that economic, social, ecological process, biological diversity and life support systems” (World Tourism Organization) “Sustainable development implies meeting the needs of the present without compromising the need” Source: ((World Commission on Environment and Development 1987). The emphasis is on having guidelines of operations of Hospitality Travel industry, wild life parks, Rivers and Lake areas etc looking into areas which can be detrimental to ecological or Sociological impacts of tourism development to a destination. This part was seldom considered in our tourism education till date. But needs broader realization by incorporating in tourism education syllabus. There cannot be real economic growth without regard to its social and environmental impact studies. This has brought focus into Eco tourism also known as “Ecological Tourism”. This implies travel to fragile, pristine and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact (often) small scale. It mainly tries to educate traveler, provides tourism revenues for education/conservation and benefiting the local communities and foster respect for different cultures and human rights. In India there are now over 170 Rural Tourism Centers under development and at various stages of completion mainly to promote eco tourism objectives. But for systematic education and development, tourism education for rural tourism needs to be included under Niche Products with outhining Do’s and Don’t and system of conservation, impact studies, Research base, carrying capacity etc.

Similarly Medical Tourism is now a new concept and has taken global attention among tourism promoting countries. But no specific education syllabus is available for this segment.

When there is a significant price difference between countries for a given medical procedure particularly in South East Asia, Europe, USA and where there are different regulatory regimes in relation to particular medical procedure (Dentistry, Heart surgeries etc) travelling to take advantage of the price or regulatory difference is often refer to as Medical Tourism. India has made a significant progress on this account but there is no proper education on how such business need to be operated on ethical practices. Similarly in India it is wellness tourism and it is part of the medical tourism combining alternative health practices along with usual allopathic i.e., Homeopathy, Ayurvedic massage, unani etc. Alternative Medical treatments are special education which hither to was not duly recognized but now quite in vogue in India and globally acceptable.

Here comes another segment which is also termed “Creative Tourism” that had existed as “Cultural tourism” since the beginning of tourism itself and was part of main tourism curriculum. This concept got a boost since high profile organization like UNESCO who through the creative cities Net work have endorsed creative tourism as an engaged, automatic experience that promotes an active understanding of the specific cultural feature of a destination, like World Heritage Monuments in India China, Egypt, Turkey, France, Jordan to say some unique heritage  holding countries.  Cultural and Crafts tourism also focus on cultural festivals, craft festivals where tourists have direct interaction with craft people, though inter active workshops and informed learning experiences. In India, every state has its own cultural festivals, special Craft fairs, unique handicraft, folk traditions, and how these are to be categorized within our tourism educationist for future generation of students who are looking for a career in tourism related activities.

There are other new segments in tourism but for now there comes a new trends in tourism and will need professionals to do justice for future development in a systematic manner. The one which is getting quite popular in Western Europe is dark Tourism (Lennon and Foley) Dark Tourism which involves visit to dank sites such as battle ground (like waterloo in Belgium). Scenes of horrific crimes (Postdum and Dresden in Germany) acts of genocide (like concentration camps where Jews were massacred) INA Memorial in Manipur, Cemeteries in Lucknow and Kolkata by British tourists visiting India etc. This niche tourism product reflects Remembrance, Mourning Curiosity or even Entertainment like in Rome chariot, Races sites at coliseum, gladiator fights, matador fights in Span etc. There are also visit to off the beaten track sites which may also include places where worst earthquake took place (Kutch areas in Gujarat, Pornpidue, Japan etc). It has some link with the other new trend which has been named Doom Tourism which involves travelling to places that are environmentally or otherwise like Melting glaciers of Patagonia, the dwindling coral of the Great Barrier Reef, Tribal Regions of Andaman islands Orissa etc. “Priority Consideration” is to be there before it becomes too late. Indentified by travel trade magazine Travel Trends Editor-in-chief Kenneth in 2007 and later explored in the New York Times, this type of tourism is believed to be on the rise. Though often it is clubbed with sustainable tourism as these centers are also threatened by environmental factors such as Global Warming, Over population, Climate Change and Rampant Use without due consideration to the sensitiveness of these areas.

Space tourism is also taking off since last decade though the number is very restrictive as both Resource and Technical Education are needed by the intending travelers. But lot of education has gone into this segment. Here we have to wait for some more time as this will need to improve infrastructure like Space Elevator  need  to be put into place, possible Airship Hotels Solar Powered Airplanes etc. This will need special Training and Skill development. A curriculum is needed for this segment also and we need specialists and exchange of ideas.

Under water hotels like “HYDROPOLIS” (in Dubai) for ocean tourists which will attract big cruisers which will be like “Floating Cities”. Thus “Cruise Tourism” format will change with new destinations added. In India, we have totally ignored this segment of “Cruise Tourism”. We have to have special tourism education Syllabus for servicing Cruise Tourism Segment. Though it has made some mark and many countries are doing well. Even in India, government has given some priority status but lacks in skill development for servicing this segment tourism.  Sports Tourism  is also progressing in a big manner which have some adventure tourism components; Trekking in the Himalayas, River Rafting, Acqua sports in Rivers, Oceans, Himalayan Car Rally, Desert Safari, Elephant Safari Motor Racing, Golfing, Polo, High Altitude Expeditions, Bungi jumping etc one major components of sports tourism.  We have no Safety Regulations enacted but all these have life threat possibilities and often take place in deep sea/rivers quite far away from metro cities, evacuation is needed on a short notice. But also need very specific education and licensing for operations, Football, Cricket, and Hockey world cups attract volumes of tourists. IPL in India itself needed special companies to gain official tickets allocation, sell them through pre-appointed agencies and sell them in an attractive package which will include flights, hotels, transfers tickets, sightseeing excursions these new segments. For Europe, India even Japan, China etc Rail Tourism has added new dimension and especially in India Rail Tourism with special tourist trains like Palace on –wheels, Deccan odyssey, Royal Rajasthan etc are offering unique Rail tourism experience. Shopping Tourism (shop till you drop), Architectural and Photo Safari, Gourmet Heritage, Astrological tours, cycle tours, educational tours (which has now have increasing demand. Because of the growing popularity of teaching and learning knowledge  and enhancing of technical competency beyond the class room environment like Yoga in India, learning special instrumental music like Sitar, Flute or learning Magic, Playing Cards (Bridge, Chess, Religion at religions  discourse on Indian Religious centers under Gurus etc and even IT education in India. Thus Education Tourism focus on the leisure activity visiting another country to learn about the culture such as students exchange scholarship for higher studies for tourism relation and Hotel Management, study tours / work and apply skills in a different environment and need a significant curriculum to attract future practitioners.

As India, we do not have any proper curriculum or in-depth study. There is no reference in Tourism syllabus now in use to train tourism professionals on the above new trends.

Thus the need is to re model the whole tourism syllabus looking into all these new trends, prepare an inventory of all available components of these new segments in India, Look for professional who are already involved in one in the other way and can deliberate through previous experiences. To have a faculty team of educationist and experiences of the tourism industry to workout syllabus, focusing on skill development for each segment, certification and duration of each course etc. This has to be done very fast as in the absence of trained staff, we may fail to attract these niche tourists’ components of the growing industry and our tourism will remain to cultural segment for decades.  We have to go out of this branding of cultural tourism destination; our image should be a Land of. All Seasons and All Reasons and Tell your interest and we can .tailor made it – “Allow us to spoil you”. “We take you to all places where you had never been”. But first we need to prepare our future students in tourism by having professional education and let us work together to create the syllabus and Do it Now.

 

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