Tourism is a hallmark activity of the postmodern world. As such, it is a significant factor in world-making and people-making. The same can be said for universities – they are major enterprises and can be sources for innovative thinking and change. The intersection of tourism and universities is, therefore, a powerful nexus of potential influence. However, tourism educational systems are in need of radical change in order to meet the challenges of the next few decades. The Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI) was born in 2007 to meet this challenge.
A number of innovators concerned about the future of tourism education first met in Vienna, Austria to discuss the status of tourism education. During this meeting, a process emerged that provides a framework for the growth and development of TEFI. Subsequent meetings in Hawaii, USA and in Lugano, Switzerland built on the work in Vienna. TEFI is organized around a process which is both proactive and action oriented, focusing on translating the core values articulated by the participants into implementation to bring about fundamental change in tourism education.An important outcome of the TEFI process is a set of five values-based principles that tourism students should embody upon graduation to become responsible leaders and stewards for the destinations where they work or live. The five value sets are: 1. Ethics, 2. Stewardship, 3. Knowledge, 4. Professionalism and 5. Mutuality, and are portrayed as interlocking Value Principles because of their interconnectedness and their permeability. A White Paper provides more detail on these value sets, how they can be incorporated into the learning experience for tourism students, and examples of courses incorporating these values.
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In 2011,the Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI) World Congress will partner with BEST EDUCATION NETWORK that is hosting the next Think Tank "Learning for Sustainable Tourism", in Philadelphia from May 21-24, 2011 in conjunction with Temple University. Call for papers and more details can be found on the BEST EDUCATION NETWORK website.
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