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Tourism Education and Future Needs

In course of 50 years, the travel and tourism and hospitality industry has been acknowledged by international and national tourism promoting countries as a major force for social and economic development. But inspite of such recognition, we all have seen that in course of the five decades passed, the growth has not been matched by the development of a solid foundation or an infrastructure on which to sustain and enhance the datas. Often we have seen that the datas sometime may not be reliable or supported with documentary evidence.

There are many reasons and very nature of the industry could also be some way responsible. The large number of organizations involved in tourism related activities and their relatively small size of operations implied that efforts to collect datas from each of them are both cumbersome and time consuming. This is not so for other industries like Automobile or other manufacturing industries where information is concentrated in the hands of much smaller number of firms and where government facilitate the collection of date base. But this is not so for Tourism Sector. Though some efforts have now been initiated by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

The Second factor is the nature of the travel experiences itself and the inherent difficulties in understanding consumer behavior, expenditure patterns and preferences.

Thirdly being new industry, it has not been able to establish educational infrastructure necessary to attract fair percentage of best talents who are looking for openings in tourism industry. As a result, there is little interest shown on to have reliable information base on which best management decisions can be made or attract best talents.

However one good thing happened that in   course of this five decades, there is global competitions to take the share of the tourism pie and more and more countries have now realized the importance of tourism as economic and social force and for overall development. Though some beginning was made by having in-service training for the staff specially for changing consumer behavior, consumer preferences for selecting a destination, tour itineraries, sales and marketing for companies, spending patterns etc but the need is for more focused education for carrier opportunities and tourism information research. This has been rightly felt by the tourism entrepreneurs and respective governments of the countries who started promoting tourism in a bigger way.

Thus the need was felt for tourism education in the last three decades. There were sincere efforts in the development of educational programmes designed to enhance the education and training levels of those entering the industry as well as those keen to be employed in it. Since some progress was visible yet it has not reached the educational progress as seen in other manufacturing industries like automobile, textile, engineering products etc. It has now been felt that there is the urgent need for tourism education. Thus tourism syllabus is to be revised as per the needs of the market to fuel the need of educational institutes and tourism education and research through those institutes. Even universities were involved to boost tourism education.

The first step to streamline the tourism education was to prepare text books and other teaching material for tourism at the level of introductory courses. Here also there were usual bottle necks as diversity of the knowledge base which had the problem of having any one individual who can master the many skills involved. Because of the formal education background, the individuals were forced to develop their own abilities.

This further necessitated having educational institutes where basic tourism education to be impacted by drawing upon the knowledge and skill found among both educationists and practitioners. Leading experts in various aspects of travel and tourism provided the benefits of their knowledge and experience. Success has been varied. The initial education was based on industry practices focusing on Managerial Perspective to assist management in improving the quality of planning and decision making and put the message that tourism is multidisciplinary activity. Impact of tourism on both host and tourist as the tourism increasingly became a worldwide phenomenon and cross many cultures. The need for better understanding of these cultures and impact on culture, the studies of motivation became important, even case history of tourism business etc.

Ministry of Tourism, Government of India also had a research and marketing wing in the Department, still not specific tourism education policy was drawn up. These divisions were mainly collecting international tourist arrival datas and tourists profile. The tourism education remained restricted to market surveys Research looking into collection of datas, processing and analysis, provision of information for decision making on the need for some new or enlarged facilities or services for future course of action for example what would be impact of oil crisis on tourist arrivals, what relation exists between disposable income and propensity to travel internationally among holidayers. Forecasts relate to international tourist arrivals. Just a beginning mainly to have some basic tourism education purely need based to that Juncture of time, very focused but not through a proper syllabus for real tourism education. As the tourist arrivals increased through the 2nd Five Year Plan period, a new orientation was given to tourism education in the tourism planning mainly focused to Hospitality industry by setting up Food Craft Centers and Hotel Management Institute under the umbrella of the Ministry of Tourism to service the growing demands of tourists for good accommodation and food services etc and also to be competitive.

The Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) was established as a registered society in 1983 at New Delhi under the Ministry of Tourism with the objective of developing and promoting education, training and research in the field of travel and tourism. In August 1992, the Institute was shifted to Gwalior and is now functioning from its own campus at Govindpuri, Gwalior.

Since 1995-96, the IITTM started a full time one year Diploma in Tourism Management (DTM) programme with the approval of All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) New Delhi. In the year 1995, the National Institute of Water sports were also incorporated in the IITTM for education training and consulting in the area of acqua based tourism activities. In 1996-97, Eastern Regional centre of the IITTM at Bhubaneshwar was established with the same DTM programme. From the academic year 2007-08, the IITTM started another centre from Delhi IITTM; also now conducts Regional Level Guide Training Programme.

For Hospitality Education, Ministry had setup 21 Hotel Management Institutes in the central sector and six state government sponsored institutes. There are 5 Food Craft Institutes offering specialized courses. There are eight private Institute of hotel management. The IHM’S offer MSC in Hospitality Administration, Bsc in Hospitality and Hotel Administration, PG Diploma and other Certificate Courses. The Food Craft Institutes (FCI’s) offer one and half year Diploma Programme in Food production, F & B Service, Housekeeping operation, Front office operation and Bakery and Confectionary.

All these Institutes are affiliated to the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCH MCT) at apex level which regulates academics for all the Institutes. The MSc and BSc Programmes are offered in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Open University for which certification is jointly carried out by the University. Certification for all other diplomas and Certificate courses is done by the NCHMCT.

Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is putting special thrust on development of human resources. There is special focus on this sector in the 12th Five Year Plan Ministry already took positive step in early November, 2009 by organizing crash courses to sensitize Indians to the need of foreign tourists ahead of the Commonwealth Games in October, 2010. Most of the course were focusing on behavioral aspects and is on basic cleanliness. These programmes included for CISF staff at the airports, Railways Porters, airport servicing staff, tourist coach operators and in fact all  those who will have the opportunity to have direct contact  with the tourists. These worked very well with Ministry’s Earn while you learn (EWYL) and “Hunar Se Rozgaar” scheme where thousands of young boys and girls were trained to service the Hospitality and Travel industry. Ministry also undertook TV Campaigns to sensitive citizens about cleanliness and how to be tourist friendly. Monuments are not defaced with Grafithies; but we had genuine problems. All round development and beautifications works were taken up in hand for the Commonwealth Games but hardly the Civic administration cared to provide garbage bins and public toilets. This is the reason why litters are scattered everywhere and often the walls become giant urinals. Things have changed to some extent with Sulabh toilets facilities. Now we can see some garbage bins at important places/shopping areas. Even Ministry had contributed for setting up tourist facilities (toilets etc) and sensitized how to keep city clean with regular Media and TV Campaigns. Even there was special training about changing attitude toward women and tourists in difficulties. This was mainly focused on  safety of tourists. This was primarily with the incidents of harassment to tourists etc took place at regular intervals (Goa incident). These efforts had very positive impact and people were educated on our “Atithi Devo Bhava” traditions. In the 12th Five Year Plan there is continuity in all these efforts and with the help of stake holders regular courses have been synergized for our Hotel Institutes and Institutes of Tourism and Travel Management. Some features of the Human Resource     Development areas as envisaged in the 12th Five Year Plan 2012-2017) is as  enumerated in the subsequent paras in a brief sketch;-

Skill Development

Strategy 1

Enhancing the Institutional Infrastructure of Hospitality Education by

·     Opening new Institutes of Hotel Management (IHM) and Food Crafts Institute (FCI)

·     Augmenting the capacity of existing IHMs/FCIs by strengthening and upgrading infrastructure

Strategy 2

·     Hospitality Education to be broad based to cover

·     Universities /Colleges

·     Polytechnics

·     Industrial Training Institutes

·     Vocational Education at +2 level through CBSE and other State Level Boards

Strategy 3

Skill development through “Hunar Se Rozgar” programme through

·     IHMs/FCIs

·     Govt./ Private education/training institutions recommended by State Govts.

·     Classified hotels

·     Programmes proposed for following trades:

1.   Food Production, Food & Beverages Services, Housekeeping, Bakery Travel & Tour Facilitators, Home Stay owners/workers, Valet Parking Assistants, Spa Therapists, Bell Boys, Golf Caddies, Security Personnel from Hotels.

 Strategy 4

·     Skill of existing Service Providers to be certified through a stringent process to enhance their employability

·     New sectors to be identified e.g. Restoration workers of heritage buildings Neemrana as example

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). They are 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 – ie 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 (Uttarkhand), 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 especialized 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 experientaial tourists. Here travel has a similar definition of tourism but implies “a more purpose full journey” ie 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.

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 ie 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 now come as 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 dark 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 lack total 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 majoar 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, 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 specially 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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