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Edited by Pierre Benckendorff and Anita Zehrer
Dimitrios P. Stergiou and David Airey
Tourism employers are discovering that their workforce requires certain skills that tourism graduates seem to be missing. Identifying industry expectations for tourism graduates is an important step in developing tourism curricula that are responsive to industry needs. Educational institutions are therefore encouraged to incorporate key skills in their curricula. This chapter represents an effort to create an interface between the industry and higher education institutions. It reports on the findings of an interview study conducted with tourism professionals who represent various sectors of the tourism industry in Athens, Greece. The geographic area was chosen for its representation of a number of tourism sectors. The study asked about the industry’s expectations regarding education and skills of tourism graduates entering the workplace. The chapter presents background information from the literature regarding international and Greek experiences, and the methodology employed within the study. Study findings identify specific industry expectations for tourism graduates and suggest that there is a considerable gap between what is taught in tourism education and what is actually needed and required by the industry. These findings replicate and complement those of previous studies in the vocational link of tourism courses in Greece. Taken together, these efforts offer a useful and cross-validated view of the demands tourism graduates are facing, and a mandate to tourism educators to develop tourism curricula in response to them. The chapter suggests that incorporating industry input in the curriculum will allow tourism education to provide an improved service for its graduates and tourism employers.