Main Article Content
Greek tourism education, graduates skills, demand for tourism graduates, industrial placement, hospitality industry
In this study the authors examine the public tourism education system provided at the tertiary level in Greece by: (a) the Technological Educational Institutes (TEIs) supervised by the Ministry of Education and (b) the Advanced Schools of Tourism Education (ASTEs) supervised by the Ministry of Tourism. The aim of the study is to examine whether tourism education graduates are well-qualified, and the extent to which the hospitality industry recruits tourism higher education graduates. For this purpose, a primary research focused on the upscale hotel enterprises in Crete was carried out. The managers of 60 hotels were contacted and were asked to fill a questionnaire that was sent to them by email. Among the issues surveyed were the extent to which these hotels are staffed by higher education tourism graduates and whether the graduates’ education meets the industry’s needs. In addition, the participants were asked to evaluate the industrial placement which is incorporated in all tertiary-level programs of study. The results of the research indicate that, although tertiary education graduates are considered to be well qualified, they lack certain ‘soft skills’ which are considered to be very important in this sector.
Moreover, the study reveals that only a minor percentage of hospitality employees (24%) are tourism graduates, an issue that requires further examination. Finally, it is suggested that education providers develop a close and effective cooperation with the tourism bodies, in order to keep track with the new developments in the tourism business, and update the academic curricula constantly to fit the industry’s needs.