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Ecuador: The Next Generation Travel Professionals

Sep 5, 2008
Very often I hear about new tourism related businesses who open their doors somewhere in the country. The various careers in tourism who can be studied at the local universities are in very high demand by students, who just finished their college.

In Ecuador, tourism is often considered an easy way to earn money. For this reason, new tourism businesses are created carefree and its owners seem to have excellent intentions at the beginning.

Because Ecuadorians are excellent hosts, most people think that to receive a foreign visitor is the same easy thing as to receive a good friend. Unfortunately is this perception not always right.

Sad to say that the very low level of education, combined with a practically non existing quality control from the authorities, let fail a lot of the newly created businesses. This situation often leaves disappointed investors alone with a big whole in their finances.

Too much amateurism is reigning in Ecuador's touristic education. Beginning with the universities who teach tourism careers without any practical knowledge from the sector. There are different tourism careers available, but there are no studies about how many professionals are needed in each career.

The reality today is that a graduated has a title in tourism, but has in fact very little technical and practical knowledge about his profession. As an example, how can it be explained that in Ecuador students have to learn 2 foreign languages at the same time, often instructed by teachers who don't even have a diploma in the language they instruct.

After graduation, the universities leave their students very often without the foreign language skills needed to start successful a career.

Other educational problems occur because most of the teachers have never worked in tourism, and most of them don't even have the necessary contacts who would help them to know what the expectations from the industry and their employers are.

Another deficiency is that there are no controls of the graduation process itself, that means the final "tests" are controlled totally by the universities themselves. The instructors of each discipline "test" their own students.

This process opens doors for corruption and there is absolutely no control in which quality and quantity the tested knowledge was transmitted to the student.

This inadequate education in tourism has not only the effect that lots of graduates don't find a study related job after they have their diploma, it is often a frustration for their family too.

The family often invests a lot of money in the academic work of their child, in the meaning that he or she should have a better life afterwords. If the graduated does't find a job in his career, the family is often very disappointed because years of saved money seems to be invested badly.

The practical part of a career should be learned in a well coordinated and organized training in career related businesses. Business owners should be motivated to employ trainees, and to take the time to introduce them to the practical part of their career.

There should be exact plans for every trainee what to do in a company, depending on the level of their studies. The practical work should be, of course, part of the final qualification.

A nice side effect for the participating company would be to have an interesting possibility to pre-select future employees.

For the Ecuadorian tourism industry should it be a priority to ensure an excellent education for future professionals.
Only this way the tourism in Ecuador can have a healthy growth in future.

More and more good trained young people have to be involved in our interesting industry. They help to ensure an excellent reputation of Ecuador in the world and ensure an excellent standard of living for themselves and all of us.
About the Author
Peter Lauffer, General Manager of TrueColors
in Quito - Your Expert Guide for Galapagos Cruise Travel at www.galapagostraveller.com
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