|General programme, activity sheet|
||Friday 25 October, 2013 12:20 to 12:40
Creating tourism awareness through introducing tourism as a high school subject: Empirical findings from south africaSpeaker: Mathilda van Niekerk, Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida
Authors: Dr. Mathilda van Niekerk University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management 9907 Universal Blvd Orlando Florida 32819 Email: Mathilda.firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (+1) 407 903 8052 Fax: (+1) 407 903 8105 Dr Edwin Torres University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management 9907 Universal Blvd Orlando Florida 32819 Email: Edwin.email@example.com Tel: (+1) 407 903 8103 Fax: (+1) 407 903 8105 Prof. Fevzi Okumus University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management 9907 Universal Blvd Orlando Florida 32819 Email: Fevzi.firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: (+1) 407 903 8177 Fax: (+1) 407 903 8105
The research aims to investigate whether tourism awareness can be created through introducing tourism as a subject in high schools in South Africa. It also explores if taking tourism as a high school subject will have an effect on the travel patterns of students and their parents, and if it can stimulate students to pursue a career in the tourism industry.
Travel and tourism is one of the world’s largest industry and account for 9% of the global GDP (WTTC, 2011). According to Tourism Towards 2030, the number of international tourist arrivals is predicted to increase with an average of 3.3% a year for the next 20 years (UNWTO, 2012). Although there was only a slight increase (1%) of international tourist arrivals to Africa, South Africa in particular has maintained its positive trend of growth over the past few years. The successful growth is the result of the fact that South Africa has recognized the potential of travel and tourism and has earmarked it as a key economic sector, with a high potential for growth specifically in its domestic market (National Department of Tourism, 2012). It has been argued that creating tourism awareness amongst all South Africans will mobilize them to purchase tourism products and assist in strengthening the domestic market, which already comprises 67% of the total market (GCIS, 2012).
It is however important to understand how tourism awareness is created and how consumers make decisions to buy tourism products. The first stage of the buying process is to create awareness of the tourism product (Cunningham et. al, 2005; Kotler et. al., 1996; Kotler & Keller, 2009). Awareness may be defined as a situation in which the consumer have become aware of the new product, but still need some information about it (Kotler et. al., 1996). Although many tools exist to create awareness, one way of creating awareness is to introduce tourism as a high school subject. The goal of tourism in high schools was therefore to familiarize students with the concept of tourism and to trigger interest in the study field, especially since South Africa has such a vast potential for domestic tourism growth (Department of Education, 2003; Jafari & Ritchie, 1981).
Based on a literature review, a questionnaire was developed. It was then distributed to Grade 11 students in 10 randomly selected high schools in South Africa. Two groups of students were selected; the experimental group (n=250) was the group of students who took tourism as a high school subject. The control group (n=250) was the group of students who did not take tourism as a high school subject. Parents (n=500) of both the experimental group and control group were given a separate questionnaire to complete and return to the school. A total of 893 questionnaires were received back ensuring a response rate of 79%. Of the 500 high school students who were given the questionnaire, 207 students participated in the study from the experimental group who studied tourism as a high school subject, 192 students participated in the study from the control group who did not study tourism as a high school subject. Among 500 parents, 192 parents participated in the study whose children studied tourism as a high school subject and 198 parents participated in the study whose children did not study tourism as a high school subject.
Descriptive data revealed that the domestic travel patterns’ of those parents whose children studied tourism as a high school subject are more influenced by their children than those parents of students who did not study tourism as a high school subject. The parents whose children studied tourism were more aware of new tourism attractions and were willing to explored new tourism destinations. Parents whose children studied tourism had also indicated that their children were requesting them to visit various tourism destinations and according to the study findings, their tendency was higher to visit such tourism destinations. The parents have indicated that they were more aware of the tourism industry as a whole then before. It was also found that 70% of students who studied tourism as a high school subject were likely to pursue a career in the tourism industry.
A factor analysis was employed to determine the most important aspects of a trip. Five factors were identified namely: “(1) facilities, (2) quality of the tourist facilities, (3) family togetherness, (4) motivation to travel and (5) exploring”. According to the Cronbach Alpha test results, the factors were found reliable. A t-test then determined the effect sizes between the parents whose children studied tourism as a high school subject and those whose children do not study tourism as a high school subject. Of the five factors, three indicated small differences among parents whose children have tourism as a high school subject (facilities, quality of tourist attractions and motivation to travel). The third factor “family togetherness” showed a medium effect, which indicates that tourism is bringing families back together. The fifth factor that was identified “exploring” indicated a medium effect size. Parent whose children studied tourism were looking for new tourism products and were exploring South Africa more.
A major finding of this study is therefore that tourism as a high school subject can create awareness not only among the students who studied tourism but also among their parents. What was more interesting is that this creation of awareness may start influencing the travel patterns of the parents and their children. Introducing tourism as a high school subject in other countries can be considered as a way of creating tourism awareness and to stimulate the tourism industry as a whole. If tourism can be introduced at a younger age students would be more aware of the tourism industry and might stimulate them to pursue a career in the industry. This can potentially lead to managers and employees that are prepared from an early age to assume their roles within the tourism industry.
Keywords: awareness, tourism as high school subject, tourism education, buying process
Cunningham, L.F., Gerlach, J. H., Harper, M.D. & Young, C.E. (2005). Perceived risk and the consumer buying process: Internet airline reservation. International Journal of Service Industry Management. 16(4). pp. 357-372.
Department of National Education see South Africa. Department of National Education.
Jafari, J. & Ritchie, J.R.B. (1981). Towards a framework for tourism education. Problems and prospects. Annals of Tourism Research. 8(1): pp.13-34.
Government Communication (GCIS). (2012). Domestic tourism growth strategy. Government Printers, Pretoria, South Africa.
Kotler, P., Bowen, J. & Makens, J. (1996). Marketing for hospitality and tourism. USA: Prentice Hall, Inc.
Kotler, P. & Keller, K.L. (2009). Marketing Management. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
South Africa. Department of National Education. (2003). National Curriculum Statement Grade 10-12. Tourism. Pretoria: Shumani Printers.
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). (2012). UNWTO Tourism Highlights, 2012 Edition. Madrid, Spain.
World Travel & Tourism Council. (2011). Travel and Tourism 2011. World Travel & Tourism Council, London, United Kingdom.
Session 5 – Skills, competences and tourism education
Place: Room SB04