EMTM celebrates future tourism leaders
They are some of the sharpest, freshest minds in global tourism. Committed to the future of the sector, for the past two years they spent their time and energy studying, researching, and living some of the most critical issues of the industry.
Together, these 31 individuals, master’s degree students from across 23 nationalities, represent an EU Commission program providing unique global perspective on tourism through a tailor-made by three European university partners:
• the University of Girona (Spain),
• the University of Southern Denmark (Denmark), and
• the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia).
Having completed the program with requisite stamina and success, this group came together just days ago for a special tri-university graduation ceremony in the historic Centre Cultural la Merce in Girona, Spain where faculty, students, family and friends from across the globe gathered to applaud the graduating class of 2013.
With their newly minted Erasmus Mundus European Master in Tourism Management degrees in hand, these future tourism leaders are now on the market, giving the global tourism industry reason to feel very confident that the future is in good hands.
As outlined on the EMTM website (http://www.emtmmaster.net/), “EMTM’s main objectives are to (a) prepare future professionals to strategically manage and make sustainable and effective decisions in placements of high responsibility in tourism institutions; (b) provide future professionals with an integrated knowledge of the dynamics of tourism development, the principles of sustainable management, environmental issues, the role of cultural diversity and creativity for innovation and the governance of tourism networks the quality management of customer services; and (c) train future researchers in the field of tourism management.”
Graduates proudly took to the stage to accept their masters degrees while their thesis subject was displayed, revealing areas of interest dominating their minds, including: ecotourism, mega-events, social advancement through tourism, LGBT tourism, adventure tourism, tourism safety & security, sustainable tourism business development, travel law, student travel, culinary tourism, community based tourism, business tourism, branding, development aid in tourism, and cultural sensitization through tourism.
Giving the keynote address to the graduating class, Anita Mendiratta, author and Managing Director of Cachet Consulting (www.anitamendiratta.com) reinforced the critical role of leadership in shaping the industry, and its impact, in the future. Mendiratta’s address included quotes from global leaders of the industry, including Dr. Taleb Rifai (UNWTO), David Scowsill (WTTC), and Dr. Hannah Messerli (World Bank), as well as global recruiter Viv Gordon regarding entry of graduates into the workplace, should this be their next step. Lastly, a word from Harry Potter creator JK Rowling on the power of imagining a better world.
In closing her address, Mendiratta encouraged the graduates to look to the future with a compass in hand, not a map, to be able to be open to unexpected, invaluable opportunities, and to be sure to keep their “champions” close by.
Reflecting on the occasion and the EMTM program, Jaume Guia, Managing Director of EMTM at the University of Girona spoke openly about the difference of the EMTM program:
“EMTM is truly unique in that for two years students learn in, and from, transnational, intercultural and sociopolitical contexts through which dynamic understanding of underlying values can be critically and experimentally facilitated. EMTM students are challenged not only to think about the means to current problem solving but to critically reflect upon tourism practices and ends in the context of desirable futures. The EMTM program adopts the values-based education framework proposed by the Tourism Educational Future Initiatives (TEFI) for educating future tourism leaders. The primary rationale for embedding values-based learning in tourism higher education is to engage students in learning-to-learn and learning-to-be, rather than simply learning about a topic.”
Learning it by living it - reason for confidence in the future of travel & tourism for the first one billion international travelers, and the next.