|General programme, activity sheet|
||Thursday 24 October, 2013 16:25 to 16:45
Rethinking Caribbean Tourism Education: the way forwardSpeaker: Acolla Lewis, University of the West Indies, St Augustine
Authors: Acolla Lewis
Without doubt, the Caribbean is the most tourism dependent region in the world and is four (4) times more dependent on tourism than other regions of the world. The Caribbean has a long history in tourism development with conventional mass tourism dominating the region over the past 30 years. Over the years, tourism education and training has come under intense criticism with respect to the governance and operation of the institutions as well as the quality of the programmes. The education offerings have been described as “fragmented, un-coordinated, occasionally redundant” (Conlin & Titcombe, 1995); “dated” (OBUS, 2000); “primarily euro-centric” (Lewis, 2005). Much of the discussion on tourism education has centred on epistemological issues where the fundamental concern has been the relevance of tourism programmes in relation to industry’s needs.
After more than 30 years of mass tourism development and concomitant tourism education provision, the time has come to shift the debate to the creation of Caribbean centric tourism knowledge. Tourism programmes developed in North America and in the UK have been dominated by economic models and by a vocational ethos that placed minimal emphasis on a critical assessment of the varied consequences of tourism. In establishing Hospitality and Tourism Institutes and programmes throughout the region, ‘Western’ models have been imported without taking sufficient account of the needs of the local tourism sector and the existing social, cultural and economic framework of the host country. Furthermore, the tourism educators at these institutes were educated in the “international classroom” (in North America and the UK) and thus the tourism knowledge constructed in the region is primarily euro-centric.
It is with this in mind that the focus of this paper is twofold. First, this study aims to critically examine what is Caribbean tourism education. This discussion will be set against a backdrop of an understanding of the contemporary Caribbean; an overview of tourism development trends in the region and; the role of education in the growth and sustainable development of the industry. Second, the paper aims to propose a regional tourism education strategy that will inform how the further development of tourism in the region can be effectively supported by education. This study will be based primarily on secondary research data. One of the key arguments in this study is that based on the peculiarities of the Caribbean context, it is possible to make a clear distinction between Caribbean tourism education in terms of its aims, content and practices and European or North American tourism education. The other argument is that the focus of tourism education must be different at every level of the educational system and that focus must be harmonized across the islands in the Caribbean.
Conlin, M.V. and Titcombe, J.A., “Human Resources: A Strategic Imperative for Caribbean Tourism” in Conlin, M.V. and Baum, T. (eds.) Island Tourism: Management Principles and Practice, Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 1995.
Lewis, A. (2005) Caribbean Tourism Education in Airey, D. and Tribe, J. (eds.) An International Handbook of Tourism Education, London: Elsevier Science
Office for the Board of Undergraduate Studies (OBUS) (2000) Review of the Centre for Hotel and Tourism Management, Nassau, Bahamas, unpublished document, Office for the Board of Undergraduate Studies, Mona, Jamaica.
Session 3 – Critical curriculum development
Place: Room SB04