via
Joint Masters in International Tourism and Events Management
via This project is supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union
Research

Research on the Employability Demands and Labour Market Needs by Dr Tim Knowles, Manchester Metropolital University (MMU), UK

One of the project’s first activities included the Needs and Employability Analysis in order to find out the employability demands and labour market needs in the field of tourism in the Baltic States, to define the outline of the prepared study programme content and its expected learning outcomes.

Full or partial report is available on request.

Executive Summary

Market Drivers

  • The development of the Baltic region slowed down because of the global recession and financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. After two relatively good growth years in 2011 and 2012, official government new GDP forecast foresees slowdown of country growth pace. GDP growth depends on the number of employed and their productivity.
  • Average annual inflation on a regional basis remains in the boundaries of 3.0 – 5.0%.
  • The number of unemployed since the maximum numbers of 2010 is gradually decreasing, although staying within 15 – 13% boundaries. People who have acquired higher education have a lower risk of becoming unemployed. The level of unemployment differs according to the regions.
  • The unemployment aggravates the emigration risk, which is very dangerous for the region. Thus, the labour force resource depletes, and entrepreneurs in the future will face the lack of available workforce, especially highly qualified workforce.
  • The decrease of population due to migration and low birth rate can reinforce already existing negative economic processes, as well as create new problems. A complex long-term programme rather than separate activities is required.
  • Population income (average monthly salary) is amongst the lowest in the EU, but with a tendency to grow.

Industry Trends

  • Tourism growth and trends are closely related to the economic picture throughout the region.
  • Taxation differences also directly affect tourism flows.
  • Differences in tourism also emerged between the capital cities and the regions within each individual country. Differences within countries were significant.
  • Industry characteristics are such that small businesses dominate the Baltic region. Major companies are in a minority.
  • Russia Germany Finland Sweden United Kingdom all influence tourism throughout the Baltic region.
  • Tourism throughout the Baltic region is quite clearly being repositioned towards a more family style holiday with an ecotourism theme. This should be reflected in the curricula.
  • The common perception is that the three Baltic states are a relatively cheap holiday option. There is quite clearly a gap in this respect between the capital cities of the three countries and outside the main city.
  • The key weaknesses of the three Baltic countries into tourism are; overdependence on three capital cities; under development within the country in terms of tourism infrastructure; significant dependence on the Russian and Finnish markets; overdependence on price as opposed to value.

Implications for Tourism and Events Management Education

  • On the basis of tourism trends demand and supply the following aspects should be paramount within the curriculum; culture; heritage; events; technology; languages including Russian; management; entrepreneurship; seasonality; business; tourism; ecotourism; 
  • The sector of events management is a key element within the wider tourism industry throughout the three Baltic states. This is in terms of Music, Arts, Sports, Conferences, Exhibitions. This is important as it reduces the effects of seasonality within the tourism sector.
  • Tourism curricula seems to be rooted in key disciplines; economics, sociology, history, culture and management. This reflects the history of a tourism and the skills of individual staff. There is a need for more emphasis on industry demands and the employability of students.
  • The nature of the tourism industry within the regional clearly implies that any new course should reflect a structure focused on small and medium sized enterprises, thus emphasising the importance of entrepreneurship.
  • The evidence shows an over supply of tourism courses throughout the three countries. Success for the proposed new course will only come by attracting students from outside the three countries, at an affordable price, focusing on industry demands and requirements in a long-term sustainable manner.
  • From an outsider’s point of view the most appropriate name for this Baltic region course would be international tourism and events management but there is clearly significant differences of opinion between the three countries on this particular title. Whatever title is finally chosen it is important that is directly relevant to the needs and requirements of the three Baltic countries and is not something that is imposed from outside the region.
  • Finally the importance of partnerships between the three countries and their close neighbours should not be underestimated particularly in terms of tourism and events education provision.

 


 
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