Reflecting on industry and student expectations for working in the tourism and hospitality industry: A case study
The tourism and hospitality industry faces major challenges of which a shortage of professional industry-related skills is probably the most pronounced. Added challenges include recruiting and retaining staff within an industry that is intensely service-driven and customer-oriented. Staff should be suitably qualified and able to cope with the challenges of being service workers. It is thus vital that students who study or intend to study Tourism and/or Hospitality Management should be adequately informed about industry’s expectations and challenges, as well as the demanding work environment they can expect once they are employed in the industry. It is also imperative that industry stakeholders clearly articulate what is expected from graduates once they are employed. As there is often a mismatch between what the students and industry expect from each other, the aim of this paper is to address the expectations of both industry stakeholders and students. The study was conducted in the Bloemfontein area of South Africa and respondents included the Tourism Management and Hospitality Management students of the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT), and selected industry stakeholders. The findings underline the importance of management/technical and people skills in an extremely demanding and labour-intensive industry.
Key words: Student expectations; Industry expectations; Tourism and hospitality industry.