By Dr. Nitin Vyas
Tourism is globally acknowledged as one of the few economic sectors that has more than significant growth prospects and is characterized as a catalyst for peace and prosperity. At the same time, this sector is known for its high turnover of staff, persistent lack of qualified personnel and rapidly changing skill needs. Despite the rapid growth in the provision of tourism, higher education in the past 40 years, uncertainties remain about the content and nature of tourism degrees and how these are aligned with the needs of the tourism industry.
The travel and tourism industry, along with the related sectors contributing to it, is expected to grow in leaps and bounds in the coming years. A job in this industry can be highly exciting and adventurous and even pays well. In India, the travel industry hopes to create 46 million job opportunities by 2025. Though it was slow to take off, the government’s initiatives in this eld are uncovering a bright future for those who want to make a career in this field.
India’s potential in the eld of travel and tourism is hardly close to being saturated. The country is a geographical anomaly, having almost all the geographical features available. According to a report published by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), India could possibly add another Rs. 8,50,000 crores by the year 2020 – just through tourism! WTTC calculated that tourism generated 8.31 lakh crore or 6.3 percent of the nation’s GDP in 2015 and supported 37.315 million jobs, which is about 8.7 percent of its total employment.
Tourism and hospitality sector creates diversified employment opportunities in different sectors like accommodation, food and beverage establishments, transportation services, travel agencies, tour operation companies, natural and cultural attractions sites. Students have endless career opportunities in the fastest growing industry of travel. Few of the career options are working in travel agencies, Customer Ground Handling (customer service) at international or domestic airports, tour operator, event manager, ticketing officer, adventure tourism expert, transport officer, holiday consultant, logistics, cruises, airlines, hotels, travel writer and tourism departments in government and private sectors. The travel and tourism industry provides various job roles. If we talk about tourism education, it is the way tourist destinations prepare the human resources to be able to work professionally in developing the tourism sector. More educated people who take part in destination tourism development would depict a better quality of life, for both tourists and local people at the destination. Tourism is a person-to-person activity, with its quality depending on the education and motivation of its employees. Thus, tourism education is important to improve employees’ abilities and consequently promote the tourism industry’s capabilities.
Realizing the dearth of educated tourism professionals and the vast avenues of employment opportunities available in this field, Himachal University was one of the earliest universities in the country and second in the Northern Region to start a Master of Tourism Administration Degree. But now, numerous universities are coming up with Graduation and Master degree of Travel & Tourism. Students have more options now and more professionals are being prepared. These courses are not only being taught theoretically but the focus is on practical training as tourism is a service industry.
The development of tourism in India has brought an international boom. At the same time, the region faces global competition that has to be met by the destinations. This requires skill development and similar professional skills across the country.