THE ROLE OF ACADEMIA IN SUSTAINABLE TOURISM
1 Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
2 Buckinghamshyre New University (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The Master’s Program in Management and Ecological Tourism combines sustainability and tourism in an educational program, in a high quality education program, with professionals and experts, in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach that allows improving product competitiveness and increasing cultural, social and environmental sensitivity. In order to determine the role of academia in sustainable tourism, we asked experts in the area. It should be to unify tourism development with sustainability, which requires knowledge applied to management. The demand for qualified personnel grows as this type of tourism increases. There are no educational alternatives to professionalize sustainable tourism. It is a fact in this field that local graduates do not find an outlet in the labour market, while companies complain that graduates do not respond to their needs. So, there is a mismatch between training and the labour market in Sustainable Tourism, which generates a training need. The areas in which education is needed are management, good practices, administration, economic resources, marketing and communication. The students are professionals and recent graduates. Professionals want to apply concepts of sustainability to their work, to expand knowledge and start new projects or to undertake an ecotourism project. Recent graduates have a sustainable mentality and lifestyle and want to orient their professional life in this sector and deepen knowledge about ecotourism. This program is taught online, and often this causes contradictions, so students were asked regarding the advantages and disadvantages of e-Learning methodology. The advantages of studying online are self-organization of time, self-taught research, comfort, costs savings, possibility of studying anywhere, to be able to combine master with work and daily life conciliation. Regarding disadvantages, some students do not see any, and other say there is no direct contact with teachers or other students, they don’t live the university environment, the sensation of "loneliness" and difficulties in understanding.
Keywords: Sustainable tourism, education, e-learning.