ERG SES G 07, Higher Education
Tourism industry is an important sector in the global economy and highly contributes to the employment worldwide (Donina & Luka, 2014). That’s why development of domain-specific competencies and high level professional knowledge in tourism higher education plays a crucial role. Skill shortages have caused significant numbers of tourism establishments worlwide to have difficulties meeting quality standards (WTTC, 2015). Employers in European Union experience skills shortages related to increasing specialisation within industry or to the fact that education curricula have not kept pace with the technological or innovative development of the sector (European Union, 2015). In Latvia also, it was indicated that a big gap exists between supply and demand for quality personnel. Graduates from tourism education institutes and vocational training schools cannot completely fulfill industry needs in terms of quality and quantity (Dombrovsky, 2009).
Therefore, in order to be more competitive, tourism education should be tailored to meet the needs of the tourism industry in terms of the professional skills required (Lo, 2005). This idea has been extended by Wang (2008) to the dialogue between the tourism industry and tourism education for the design of tourism curriculum in compliance with the tourism industry needs that will contribute to the development of the tourism industry. In Latvia Donina and Luka (2014) concluded that qualitative cooperation of tourism education with industry is essential and will benefit all stakeholders involved. Therefore, the first step in the task of constructing a competitive tourism education system must be its management, based on identifying the needs and expectations of the different stakeholders involved in the system - the employers, the educated and the educators.
Furthermore, tourism as a fast growing sector of market economy requires innovations and technology development. That’s why creativity is an important aspect for tourism development (Richards, 2014). Creative specialists are in high demand on the tourism labour market because they can generate new ideas and technologies, bring them to the market and implement them in the workplace, and which is able to adapt to technological and structural changes across society (OECD, 2015). In particular, issues regarding the sustainability of creativity within a system cannot be separated from the role of education, which is not always integrated with the players and the dynamics of the territory to which it refers, although it is always a critical factor for the territory’s economic and competitive development (Minguzzi & Presenza, 2012). So, topicality of the development of creativity and innovation-related skills beyond domain-specific skills especially in business and tourism education has been stressed by O’Neal and Runco (2016).
Thus, Latvian tourism industry lacks innovation performance and as shown in previous studies (Chlaidze, Utinane-Sukharevska & Linde, 2008; Dombrovsky, 2009; Luka & Donina, 2012, 2014, Kiralova, 2014; Rampersad & Patel, 2014) the fostering of employability and creativity related skills in education doesn’t meet the industry needs. The purpose of the current research is studying the perceptions on creativity and factors influencing its development among tourism higher education stakeholders: students, employers and educators. These surveys aimed to investigate the creativity enhancement level in tourism higher education and its conformity with employers’ creativity expectances and tourism higher education students’ and educators’ beliefs and opinions about creativity within the tourism higher education.
Chlaidze, V., Utinane-Sukharevska, I., Linde, I. (2008). Tourism Education Quality Standards and Higher education in Latvia. Information Technologies, Management and Society, 1 (1), 67–71 Collis, J., Hussey, R. (2009). Business Research. A Practical Guide for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Cunningham, S. D. (2013), Hidden Innovation: Policy, Industry and the Creative Sector, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane and Lexington Books, http://eprints.qut.edu.au/57654. Dombrovsky, V. (2009). Is anything wrong with higher education in Latvia?, Baltic Journal of Economics, 9(2) , 5-24 Donina, A., Luka, I. (2014). The Compliance of Tourism Education with Industry Needs in Latvia. European Journal of Tourism, Hospitality and Recreation. EJTHR Tourism Research, 5(3), 91-120 European Union (2015). Labor market shortages in the European Union. Online, available at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/studies Kiralova, A. (2014). New Trends in Tourism - a Challenge for Modernization of Tourism Higher Education in the Czech Republic, Skyline Business Journal, 10 (1), 1-8 Lo, A. (2005). The past, present, and future of hospitality and tourism higher education in Hong Kong. In: C.H. Hsu (Eds), Global tourism higher education: past, present, and future. NY: The Haworth Hospitality Press. Luka, I., Donina, A. (2012). Challenges of tourism education: Conformity of tourism curriculum to business needs. Academica Turistica. Tourism @ Innovation Journal, 5 (1), 85-101 Minguzzi, A., Presenza, A. (2012). Destination building. A strategic approach to the sustainable development of a tourism destination. In: Alfonso Morvillo. Advances in tourism studies. p. 471-489, Milano:McGrow-Hill O’Neal, I. C., Runco, M. A. (2016). National Association for Elementary School Principals’ (NAESP) Principal: Special Supplement sponsored by Crayola, 20-23 OECD. (2015) OECD Innovation Strategy 2015 and Agenda for Policy Action. Online, available at https://www.oecd.org/sti/OECD-Innovation-Strategy-2015-CMIN2015-7.pdf Rampersad, G., Patel, F. (2014). Creativity as a desirable graduate attribute: Implications for curriculum design and employability, Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 15 (1), 1-11 Richards, G. (2014). Tourism and the Creative industries. Online, available at https://www.academia.edu/7768353/Tourism_and_the_Creative_Industries Saunders, M., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2009) Research methods for business students, 5th edition. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Wang. J. (2008). Is tourism education meeting the needs of the tourism industry? Thesis submitted at the University of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia. Online, available at http://www.canberra.edu.au/researchrepository/file/1d7eef38-6d47-552b-673e-adb17f0c721a/1/full_text.pdf WTTC (2015). Global Talent Trends and Issues for the Travel & Tourism Sector.
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