Green Ideas For Tourism for Europe
Date du début: 1 oct. 2015,
Date de fin: 31 mars 2018
The European Commission, within the framework of the Europe 2020 strategy, is encouraging educational measures fighting youth unemployment. Special emphasis has been put on vocational education, thus recognizing its potential to provide specific knowledge and skills, which contribute to raising youth employability.
The Green Ideas For Tourism for Europe project (GIFT) is aimed at improving the management skillset of students from tourism vocational schools by introducing them to the newest practices in environmentally sustainable tourism management. Environmental responsibility has been recognized as a key factor for the competitiveness of the European tourism industry, as cultural and natural resources are the main assets of the tourism. Therefore the ability to make environmentally sustainable decisions will not only raise the employability chances for tourism students, but will also contribute to the modernization of the sector in the future.
GIFT for Europe proposes an innovative and interactive method of learning based on the use of an online educational tool. This tool offers its users an overview of the organizational structure of tourism SMEs in the form of an interactive mind map. The mind map is a simulation where the user can make managerial decisions and thus affect the environmental sustainability of the company.
The project consortium consists of organizations with rich experience in the fields of sustainable tourism management (Ecosystem Europe), environmental policies (SEI Tallinn), global education (Center for Inclusive Education), e-learning (Context Learning) and a tourism vocational high school.
The project implementation will go through several phases. First research activities need to be carried out in order to provide information needed for the content of the website and the online tool. This requires a research of existing best managerial practices, governmental policies, educational needs, tourism SMEs case studies, as well as the drafting and analysis of student questionnaires to determine the level of awareness about the environmental impact of the tourism industry. The second consists of the development of the website itself, as well as the production of supporting literature (user’s manual, manual for teachers). The development of the functionalities of the online tool has to match the needs of the target group in order to achieve a user-friendly product. After the completion of the online tool it is to be popularized among professionals and key stakeholders. A teacher’s manual will be produced and sixty teachers from Bulgaria, Estonia and Finland will undergo a training course and receive certification. They will then introduce the online tool in their respective schools, thus starting the first communities of users. Meanwhile wider recognition and use of the online tool will be sought through the familiarization of tourism SMEs with the tool and the advantages it can bring for them and meeting with key stakeholders (schools, representatives of professional organisations of the tourism industry, government officials, centres for professional education).
The project is expected to raise the awareness of future tourism professionals about the environmental impact of the industry and familiarize them with the existing best practices. As a result of the use of the interactive online tool, the students will be able to make competent managerial decisions, specific to the particular case that they are being applied to. The involvement of real SMEs in the educational process, through the provision of case studies will strengthen the links between vocational education and the industry. By being able to reflect upon and find solutions to existing issues in the tourism industry, the students will gain valuable skills. The recognition of these skills by instruments such as Europass and Youthpass will facilitate their professional development. The use of innovative technological solutions for educational purposes and the strengthening of the relations between vocational schools and businesses will modernize educational practices and make them more relevant to the actual needs of the labour market.
In the long term, the existence of tourism professionals familiar both with the operational challenges of tourism SMEs and the best environmentally sustainable managerial practices will contribute to the development of a more sustainable, and therefore more competitive, European tourism industry.
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