Exploring sustainable tourism education in business schools: The honours program

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Journal Article
Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 2013, 20 pp. 53 - 60
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This paper examines the future of sustainability education in tourism honours programs in Australian tertiary institutions, an issue of international relevance as many tourism programs are located in mainstream business schools. Its suggests that while industry relevant skills acquisition is an important characteristic of undergraduate tourism education; the tourism honours year requires the opportunity for students to incorporate critical reflection into their study of tourism and in recent times particularly those issues related to sustainability. Sustainability embraces the critical and has sought to straddle neo-liberal and socialist positions through its incorporation of various strands of intellectual thought including equity, limits to growth, nature, poverty and development. In order to improve the quality of sustainability education in tourism honours programs the authors have looked for lessons that can be taken from geography. Within Australian tertiary institutions tourism programs are increasingly being incorporated into mainstream business faculties. Tourism offers an applied lens through which business students can be exposed to the various themes of business practice including: sustainability, ethics, marketing, economics and statistics. This paper does not argue against business focused tourism teaching but instead looks at ways in which renewed engagement with tourism's various disciplinary bases can equip Honours students with the visioning and critical thinking skills that are necessary for a rounded sustainability education. © 2013 The Authors.
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