With the occasion of the 5th annual Aldo Papone International Case Writing Competition, which was organized by the Global Travel & Tourism Partnership (GTTP) where 18 students from nine countries were honoured, Nancy Needham, director of the GTTP analyzes in TravelDailyNews International the importance of GTTP`s role in the tourism and travel industry. Ms Nancy Needham strongly believes that the Global Travel & Tourism Partnership enables students from all over the world to have a better and more consistent education over the issues of the tourism industry and such awards give a more professional perspective for the future leaders in the tourism & travel industry.
TravelDailyNews: In what way will such educational awards improve the knowledge of young people in travel and tourism business?
Nancy Needham: The students who participate in the competition do extensive research on topics relevant to their communities, such as the sustainability of the tourism industry in their areas. They meet local tourism business and government leaders, and often they interview tourists as well. They gain first hand, in-depth knowledge of what is happening in their own community or country. From the other students, they learn what is similar or different in other countries with respect to the same issue. Working on the case studies given students a heightened awareness of their local industry and a sense of where they fit in this global industry.
TDN: How would you characterize GTTP`s educational mission?
N.N. : There are three main elements in the GTTP’s mission. The first is to introduce students to the many kinds of careers they can have in this industry. The second is to ensure disadvantaged youth have access to a program that utilizes the very best teaching methodologies and helps them learn how to learn. The third is to help the students and their communities understand how travel and tourism can support economic development in a sustainable and culturally sensitive way.
TDN:How can the right skills help in the development of tourism business?
N.N.: A successful tourism business requires effective employees, financial capital and customers. Tourism is a service business that requires people who know how to relate to customers and people who understand how to utilize the technology that underpins the operations of both global and local companies. GTTP students learn people skills and technical skills. They then can become competent employees and/or better-informed customers. In both cases, these young people will join the “people part” of any tourism business.
TDN: Do you follow a process when deciding a specific research topic?
N.N. : Yes, the Directors from each country meet annually to discuss the key issues and opportunities facing the industry and select one of these as the area for student research. Schools are informed months ahead of the time when the winning teams are selected so that there is ample time for students to research the topic and its application to their particular locale. The topic for 2006—cultural tourism — has already been announced.
TDN: How do you see GTTP`s global orientation?
N.N:Travel & Tourism is probably the most global industry there is in terms of customers and their ability to select a destination from among thousands of competing destinations and in terms of multinational firms that operate in more countries than just about any other industry you could name. Concurrently, it is an industry that supports small, local firms. The curriculum in most countries focuses primarily on the country’s own industry because this is what any country wants to develop. However, because competition for Travel & Tourism dollars is global, students must be aware of what is available to travellers not only in their own countries but also in other countries. They need to determine if they are suited for employment in a large global firm, or more inclined to a smaller local firm. Both will have global customers. Our students are the future managers and policy makers for our industry. They will need to make local decisions based on global trends.