Tourism program targets growing niche

<p>Travellers are increasingly spurning the been-there-done-that world of sunbathing package holidays for something more adventurous, and a new program at Centennial College is being launched to address that trend.</p>

 

Students learn to ‘manage tourism in a sustainable way’


 

 

sandra nowlan/cp

 

A traveller participating in an 11-day eco-cruise observes a penguin on Half Moon Island, Antarctica.





Travellers are increasingly spurning the been-there-done-that world of sunbathing package holidays for something more adventurous, and a new program at Centennial College is being launched to address that trend.





In September 2008, Centennial’s School Of Hospitality, Tourism And Culture will introduce a two-year course of study in culture and heritage tourism management, thereby becoming the first college in Ontario to launch such a program, according to the school’s dean, Shyam Ranganathan.





“We would emphasize the impact tourism has on the local community and on the people,” Ranganathan said, adding the ultimate goal of the program is to teach students “to manage tourism in a sustainable way.”





The course was created as a result of an emerging niche in eco-friendly and feel-good tourism, says Ranganathan. According to the United Nations Educational Scientific And Cultural Organization (UNESCO), global cultural and heritage tourism is increasing by 15 per cent each year.





vijay josh/aP


Tourists ride elephants in northern India while on safari to view an endangered species of tiger. Increasingly, travellers want to have experiences that include an emphasis on adventure, local culture and the environment. A new program at Centennial will teach students about managing this new wave of tourism.





“We always look for programs that are currently trendy and have a future.” Ranganathan says.





The program will take a multi-disciplinary approach, looking at culture, heritage and art resources.





Students will learn how to maximize tourism without impacting the environment, as well as how to maintain and preserve resources.





The department created three pilot courses to test the interest of students in the courses. About 60 to 70 students took the pilot courses, Ranganathan says.





Interested students can apply now to start in the fall. Ranganathan says the faculty is prepared to admit up to 40 students. In their final year, students will complete a field placement in the industry. Ranganathan says the program would not only be suitable for students graduating high school in June, but also for university students who have completed degrees in relevant fields such as architecture, archaeology, history and some sociology programs.





For Canadian students, Ranganathan says the tuition fee will be between $2,500 and $2,800 annually.


 
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