Editorial Leadership for Transformation in Tourism Education
journal contributionposted on 23.10.2020, 01:54 by Christian Schott, Ulrike Gretzel
In light of ever greater financial and philosophical attacks on tourism higher education across the world, it is critical to contemplate the role of tourism education at university level and its place in modern societies. This need for reflection is given urgency by increasingly neoliberal education policies, market-driven universities, and ‘consumers’ with distinctive demands that are able to choose from a growing variety of educational ‘products’. Often relegated to an area of specialization within business studies, tourism is increasingly under pressure to demonstrate its value, which is commonly interpreted as producing graduates with industry-ready skills and good immediate job prospects. This focus has led to tourism higher education that seeks to cater to industry needs and is fundamentally vocational. In doing so it is at the mercy of an industry that still largely subscribes to the dream of the self-made leader/entrepreneur, who emerges in a senior managerial position at the end of a career path that starts with washing dishes and/or cleaning toilets, rather than actively promoting and rewarding formal education.