An investigation into the gaps between tourism education provision and industry need in KwaZulu-Natal
There is a growing demand for professionally educated and trained staff in the tourism sector. However, current literature reveals a significant disparity between the tourism education provided by institutions and the skills required by the industry. A major challenge facing tourism education institutions is the identification of industry needs and requirements and the involvement of industry in curriculum design. The aim of this research is to examine the education, skills and training required of tourism employees and whether the provisions of higher education tourism courses are adequately meeting industry needs. Identifying this „gap‟ will assist in improving the development of tourism education programmes to meet the needs of industry. The research examines the relevance of the tourisms qualification from three stakeholders‟ perspectives, namely, managers from the tourism sector, tourism graduate employees, and tourism academics. Surveys, in the form of structured questionnaires, were used to obtain information from the three groups. The overall findings of the study revealed that gaps do exist in the tourism curriculum according to the perceptions of stakeholder groups that participated in this study. The recommendations are that closer collaboration is required between academics, managers from the industry when designing tourism curriculum and also to sustain the relevance of the curriculum to meet the needs of industry.
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