Tourism Education for Job Opportunities

Author: 
* Dr. S. Ganesan

The human interest for movement from one place-to-another has been expanding day-by-day. Like open sea, surrounding all sides of Island, the scope of tourism is also wide open in all its dimensions. The pleasure of tour and travel is enjoyed by people, for a range of one-day tour to long duration (few months) tour stay. To meet the growing demands of tourists, in both the organized sector and unorganized sectors of tourism industry, all the possible steps are being taken both government and private orgnaisations. Imparting training and education to ever-increasing tour operators & travel agents is a challenge. Moving towards ‘well managed tours with comforts’ is need of the hour. Without proper education, the quality tour management is not that easy. Here, the focused tourism education plays an important role. Besides, regular colleges, the Open Distance Learning System is also offers a variety of courses on Tourism subject. Some of the popular Tourism Studies  (courses) are Six months Certificate in Tourism Studies (after 12th standard), One year Diploma / PG Diploma in Tourism Studies (after 12th Standard), three years Bachelor of Tourism Studies, two years PG/Master of Tourism & Travel Management and Ph.D.,  in Tourism Studies
The tourism education facilitates the people who are already employed, directly or indirectly, in any branch of tourism industry. It upgrades the persons to take-up managerial jobs or make a career in travel agency, hotel, and tour operations etc., Youth population can equip to provide tourism related services through their own enterprise or plan to become entrepreneur also. The Tourism Studies gives professional base for the staff members involved in tourism organizations of State and Central Government. Their knowledge and skills in the field of tourism is enhanced professionally. Because, the tourism industry requires special management functions, specific HR planning and development, unique marketing strategies pertaining to tourism sector. For example, developing a brochure on tourist attractions of Port Blair needs special training and education. The theoretical orientation on ‘Islands and Beaches’,  ‘Adventure Tourism’, ‘Health Tourism’, ‘Ethnics & Rural Tourism’ ,‘Special Interest Tourism’ etc,. will make a normal tour operator into an educationally qualified professional. Many a time, the tourists may not appreciate the information provided by tour guides; but, if your name board or visiting card has few Diploma/Degree in Tourism Studies, you will feel the difference. We all know that multi-language compatibility/competency in   some cab drivers plays added advantage for preference by tourists.
Those days have gone with simple tour with home packed food packets. Now-a-days, the complex nature of tourism is increasing day-by-day. For instance, the tour at Andaman & Nicobar Islands involves all three modes of travel- by road, by water, by air- and thereby adds the degree of its complexity. Integrating all three modes of transportation is not that simple, as the delay in one affects the other significantly. Definitely an experienced tour operator or a professionally educated/trained person in Master of Tourism Management will handle the situation of ‘expect the unexpected’ . Acquiring an educational qualification ( certificate ) in Tourism Studies, by incurring just two thousands rupees, gives long term benefits (life-long) for a tour operator. A driver with Certificate in Tourism Studies will be selected easily by a tour operator. This phenomena is also applies in the process of recruitment of drivers, empanelment of tour operator/travel agent in Govt. sectors.
Innovations in tourism are always a centre of attraction for tourists. Even if a cycle shopkeeper rents 4-5 cycles (on-hire) at Marina Park road of Port Blair and  few baby cycles at Traffic Park, his innovative approach may give him a good business. Having a plain terrain for cycling in Port Blair beach area may be an innovative idea of tourism attraction.
            Developing oneself from simple driver to reputed tour operator is a common dream of many youth. Channelizing their dream can easily be done through the Tourism education in Open and Distance Learning System. Many Distance Education Universities offer Tourism Studies Diplomas to develop the tourism industry in our Country. National University like IGNOU also offers, Certificate in Tourism Studies (CTS), Diploma in Tourism Studies (DTS), Bachelor of Tourism Studies (BTS), Master of Tourism and Travel Management (MTTM) (www.ignou.ac.in) to provide professionally trained manpower for tourism industry.
While applying for a car loan (for tourism), the bankers will also prefer qualified persons in Tourism education. Having immense potential for Tourism Studies, especially in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the growing work force and unemployed youth can tap the business of tourism through qualification in Tourism. Imagine a situation where all the drivers of tour operators are having some certification/qualification in Tourism Studies and its impact in quality tourism in entire A & N Islands. As emphasized by our former President Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam, our dream will become true, if we have vision.
* The author is Regional Director of IGNOU, Regional Centre, Port Blair and can be reached at rcportblair@ignou.ac.ipn (M-8900936718)

Wednesday, 15 November, 2017