TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY EDUCATION IN AUSTRALIA
Australia is a place to study and experience the best tourism has to offer, says Professor Dianne Dredge of the Council for Australasian University Tourism and Hospitality Education.
People have always travelled, and despite growing concerns about the sustainability of our current travel practices, it is likely that people will continue to travel to destinations far and wide for a variety of reasons. People travel for pleasure, for business, for family reasons, for sport, festivals and events and for personal reasons and fulfilment.
The challenge for tourism and hospitality professionals in the future is how to best plan for and manage this vital service sector where sustainability, climate change, community well-being and corporate social responsibility are key challenges.
In Australia and globally, tourism offers a variety of career opportunities. The demand for skilled employment in this dynamic and innovative service sector over the last 30 years has led Australian education institutions to develop a range of education opportunities catering to the sector in general (e.g. tourism and hospitality) and to specialist segments (e.g. ecotourism and cultural tourism).
As a truly spectacular tourism destination, with high quality education programmes, Australia provides the perfect opportunity for interested students to both study and experience tourism. If you are interested in low impact experiences, then the ‘outback’ provides a wide range of specialist ecotourism adventures. If you are into high impact adventure, you can go skydiving, white water rafting or abseiling at many locations around the country. If your interests are for inner city experiences, there is an eclectic mix of bars and clubs, as well as eating and drinking experiences that reflect Australia’s multicultural character. For the arts and culture lovers, our museums and galleries host a staggering array of permanent and touring exhibitions. Or, you can do it all.
Tourism and hospitality degree programmes have been offered in Australia since the late 1970s and have gained considerable worldwide recognition as being innovative and student oriented. There are now over 40 undergraduate degree programmes on offer at 26 universities, and a small but growing number of private education providers.
Australian offerings range from skills-based vocational degrees, to business management, to social science orientations. Tourism and hospitality programme offerings can be broadly divided into three areas: tourism-related degrees, hospitality-related degrees and events and festival management-related degrees. However, within these broad categories there are programmes that cater to niche segments. For example, it is possible to undertake studies in tourism entrepreneurship, ecotourism, cultural tourism, sustainable tourism and event production and design. Many programmes also incorporate an industry workplace component, which provides students with valuable industry experience and insights prior to graduation.
Most universities offering undergraduate programmes in tourism and hospitality also offer coursework master’s and research master’s, as well as PhD programmes. These research-based programmes integrate tourism research and education to ensure students are exposed to leading edge ideas and innovative tourism practices before they graduate. An active tourism industry in Australia, supported by a proactive government, ensures a cutting edge environment in which to study and experience tourism and hospitality.
So, what are you waiting for?
Associate Professor Dianne Dredge
First Vice Chair
Council for Australasian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE)
MASTER’S DEGREES IN HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM
While a bachelor degree is increasingly recognised as the norm for entry-level management positions, master’s degrees are now increasingly popular.
A master’s degree typically used to be built on the foundation of an undergraduate degree and was in the same academic area. However, times have changed. MBA degrees were originally designed for people who had studied engineering at the undergraduate level but needed analytical business skills at the master level. Today, many of the students studying for a master’s degree in tourism, hospitality or events did not study this at the undergraduate level. They may have studied a foreign language, business or even have a degree in unrelated areas such as biology.
While the common term of a master’s degree is still used, there are really two types offered by institutions. The first of these can be referred to as ‘progression’ master degrees. These courses are designed for students who are progressing from an undergraduate degree into a master’s degree in the same academic area. On the other hand, there are now many more institutions offering ‘conversion’ degrees, where the master’s degree does not require students to have a relevant undergraduate degree.
The tourism and hospitality industries not only expect master’s students to have additional analytical skills, but they also require them to understand business management and to have relevant industry experience. Given that many of these students entering into ‘conversion’ master’s degrees tend not have much experience in studying business subjects or in industry, they then should consider courses that have study options and internships. Needless to say, there are also many other master’s degrees that focus on more specific academic areas, where business skills and work experience may be of less importance.
Depending on your career goals and circumstances, it may also be advantageous to study for a shorter length postgraduate qualification such as a Certificate or Diploma. Increasingly, postgraduate qualifications are being offered online, and there are now a number of global study options. This means that people already in the industry do not need to leave the workforce to further their studies - and can study with institutions anywhere in the world.
Written by Dr JS Perry Hobson (2011)
The International Centre of Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Education (THE-ICE)
STUDYING HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT IN THE US
An insightful article from author and Professor of Hospitality Management Clayton W Barrows on hospitality courses in the US, including advice on choosing the best programme and school.
There are a variety of four-year programmes in the US offering hospitality management as a major of study — there are estimates of between 200 and 250 four-year programmes and even more at the two-year level. This article will focus on four-year hospitality management programmes offered in the US. Typically, these programmes will offer hospitality (or a combination of hospitality and tourism) as a major although some offer it as a ‘track’ or ‘emphasis’ where students will take fewer courses in the hospitality area and more in other areas, such as general business.
Hospitality management programmes usually focus their curriculum on the study of hotels and restaurants although numerous other areas may also be covered including meetings and conventions, event management, gaming, on-site foodservice, resort management, and private clubs, just to name a few. Before choosing a programme, students are advised to preview the curriculum to see if it matches with their desired course of study.
Students who earn degrees in hospitality management (usually a bachelor of science, a bachelor of business or a bachelor of commerce) have multiple options available to them. Many graduates go to work for large hotel companies or restaurant companies; others go to work in resort areas, on cruise ships in private clubs or other hospitality sectors; others will start their own businesses and some will go into consulting. Some remain in school and combine a hospitality degree with a culinary degree; others may go on for an advanced degree such as an MBA or an MSc. Finally, some students may go into an unrelated business but they do so because the hospitality degree has provided them with the skills that they need to succeed in business, whether it is hospitality related or not. As should be clear, a degree in hospitality management provides many options assuming that graduates are flexible. It also provides geographic mobility since the industry is so global.
So, how should a student go about choosing a programme?
First understand what makes programmes similar and what makes them different. There are several things that most hospitality management programmes in the US have in common. Most (but not all) are found at public universities (whose budgets are funded in part by the state); most are ‘management’ focused as opposed to being focused on preparing students for line-level jobs (such as cooks or front-desk clerks); most are housed in larger academic units (typically referred to as ‘colleges’) such as business or human ecology; most offer a diverse curriculum with certain core/ required courses and some elective courses (specialising in more specific areas as mentioned above); and most, if not all, require students to gain real work experience during their four years in school.
This will usually be equal to about 1,000 hours and there may be further stipulations requiring the type of work required. Some programmes will help students find employment to fulfill these requirements. Other programmes expect students to identify their own work opportunities.
What makes programmes different from one another?
Factors include location (rural or urban), where the programme is housed (which dictates the non-hospitality courses that are required), reputation of the university, size of the programme (ranging from 25 to over 2,000), quality of faculty, relationship with the hospitality industry, course selections, job placement and extracurricular opportunities available. All of these can have a bearing on the educational experience a student receives. There may be other differences as well but this is just a short list. Students should not hesitate to ask about any or all of these during the search process.
Keep in mind, however, that like everything else in life, you will get out of the programme what you put in. In my 20 years of teaching, I can safely say that the ‘best’ students are those who took their classroom lessons seriously but, at the same time, took advantage of opportunities outside of the classroom (such as student associations, field trips, volunteer work and the like).
Finally, the students who earn the greatest advantage are those who have a combination of the educational credentials that the degree provides along with real-world work experience.
Some of the things that international students should be aware of include: the percentage of international students accepted (this varies from university to university but typically universities do not have established quotas); that international students are not eligible for federally funded financial assistance but that other scholarships and bursaries may be available; that international students typically pay the same tuition fees as so called ‘out-of-state’ students; and that international students will typically have to demonstrate financial resources and the ability to pay (sometimes upwards of US $40,000).
Most programmes also require a TOEFL (or similar) exam as part of the admissions process.
Finally, the process and procedures for applying to a US university can be more onerous for international students so plan ahead — be aware of deadlines and documents, be familiar with the culture, talk to other students when searching programmes and contact the university’s office of international students with questions.
To summarise, there are many choices for study in the US and many great programmes to choose from. Students need to do their homework though to determine the programme that is right for them.
About Clayton W Barrows
Clayton Barrows, EdD is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and is currently Professor of Hospitality Management at the University of New Hampshire.
He has worked in the hospitality industry and hospitality education in the US and Canada for 30 years.
Clayton’s areas of expertise are food and beverage management and private club management. He has published numerous articles in both of these areas. Additionally, he has co-authored four books relating to the hospitality industry — most recently, the ninth edition of Introduction to Management in the Hospitality Industry.
Clayton was the winner of the 2008 Stevenson W. Fletcher Achievement Award from I-CHRIE.
Clayton was also the recipient of the University of Guelph’s 2002 Presidential Distinguished Professor Award which he received in recognition of contributions in teaching, research and service. Finally, he is Editor of the International Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Administration, a Taylor and Francis publication.
AUSTRALIA: THE NEW HOME OF HOSPITALITY EDUCATION
Chair of The Association of Australian Hotel Schools, Peter Lewis, discusses Australia’s emergence as a leading location for hotel schools.
Whilst Switzerland is perceived by many as the long established home of hospitality, we regard Australia as the new, innovative and strategic centre of tourism and hospitality education. Our infrastructure of world-class hotels and educational facilities, currency in curriculum, innovation in delivery and genuine Australian hospitality make for a great learning environment.
Australia is also one of the best places in the world to live while you learn. The standard of living is amongst the highest in the world, yet costs still remain competitive. On your breaks from study, you will have a wide choice of activities to enrich your experience - from cultural festivals, concerts and museums, to major sporting events.
Members of the Association of Australian Hotel Schools (AAHS) are all private, full fee paying colleges, offering programmes that are specifically geared towards preparing new entrants to meet the demands and expectations of the service management sector including tourism, hotel, conventions and event industries.
Australian education has a strong international reputation for excellence; you will receive a quality education that will form a strong foundation for your future success. Studying in Australia promotes innovative, creative and independent thinking. You will learn to work as part of a team, to communicate effectively with others and to develop the practical skills and intellectual abilities you need for global success. A key distinguishing feature of the hospitality and tourism programmes offered is that students acquire, by graduation, all the skills, knowledge and attributes required of industry professionals. They can be expected to perform competently at the entry and junior supervisory level upon appointment and to build on their skills for long-term careers in progressively more responsible positions. Most programmes include practical training and significant workplace release to ensure the development of the required competencies.
Australia’s approach to vocational education and training leads the world in innovation and quality. You will have the opportunity to step outside the classroom and practise your skills in real and simulated workplaces. This will give you a genuine advantage over other graduates. The rewards of studying at an Australian university are endless. Develop your potential in an innovative, flexible, yet supportive learning environment. Gain an internationally recognised qualification that will open doors for your future in the industry.
The purpose of the Association of Australian Hotel Schools is to reflect the growing maturity and professionalism of the sector and will contribute, through benchmarking and a quality assurance focus, to improved outcomes for lifelong learning in a changing global environment.
Courtesy of Peter Lewis
The Association of Australian Hotel Schools