Perception of tourism graduates and the tourism industry on the important knowledge and skills required in the tourism industry

Nicola Wakelin-Theron, Wilfred I. Ukpere, Jane Spowart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Higher education institutions (HEIs) are under increasing pressure to equip graduates with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attributes that would make them employable and highly versatile in various tourism sectors. This means that the various qualifications in tourism that are awarded by HEIs should reflect the tourism industry's needs and expectations. Consequently, it is important to identify the kind of knowledge skills that need to be developed in tourism graduates to prepare them for the working world. The purpose of this article is to identify the perceptions of tourism graduates and the tourism industry on the important knowledge and skills required in the tourism industry. The research adopted a sequential explanatory mixed method, which entailed combining quantitative and qualitative methods. However the findings, both from the quantitative and qualitative phases highlight the important knowledge and skills required. In terms of important knowledge and skill, both parties seem to be at par in their perception. The study found that the most important knowledge and skills required in the tourism industry are customer service/awareness, ethical conduct at work, verbal communication, acceptance of responsibility, attention to detail, ability to work under pressure, time management skills, and motivation. Significant differences existed between the perceptions of tourism graduates and those of the tourism industry regarding professional, operational, knowledge and skills attributes. However, no significant differences existed between the perceptions of tourism graduates and those of the tourism industry regarding personality traits. This paper is hopefully useful for the development of important knowledge and skills required in the tourism industry. As such it has meaning for higher education institutions that offer tourism qualifications as well as the tourism industry who employs tourism graduates. This paper is original, as the study contributes to the body of knowledge and skills required in the tourism industry since no other paper as far as could be assessed, has taken up the topic of the perception of tourism graduates and the tourism industry on the important knowledge and skills required in the tourism industry in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure
Volume7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Employability
  • Graduates
  • Important knowledge and skills
  • Tourism industry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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