Supporting students to enter and practitioners to adapt to the new destinaton management landscape
25th October 2016
The introduction of a practitioner/HE summit as part of this year’s Annual Convention has so far received a thumbs up from those who attended, rated Excellent or Very Good by 93% of delegates who have so far responded to the feedback survey. A practitioner commented: “this worked really well. The room was perfect – just the right size creating a positive environment for discussion. Great speakers covering an interesting range of subjects”.
Intended to encourage dialogue between students, practitioners and lecturers, the event began with presentations from Prof. Adele Ladkin, TMI’s Paul Williams and Dr. Phil Long, before breaking into discussion groups to look at what industry wants from students, what students can do to prepare themselves for a career in tourism destination management and what do practitioners need/want in the way of professional development support in order to keep up to speed in the increasingly diverse landscape of contemporary destination management.
Key points to emerge from the discussions included:
Roles for TMI in enabling students to share their experiences of work placement and providing guidance for employers on managing work experience placements/volunteering; facilitating improved connections between graduates and industry through access to graduate level vacancies
A variety of suggestions for ways in which students can enhance their employability: build networks and keep CVs up to date; research the company/organisation; demonstrate enthusiasm and passion; evidence of reliability, as well as experience and track record.
The rich diversity of the contemporary destination management landscape means that rather than having a clearly defined, specific set of skills and knowledge, the modern destination management professional needs a flexible toolkit of differing and complementary skill sets and knowledge. This now includes creative skills for the digital era such as writing, copy editing and social media, as well as adapting strategic management, marketing and development to the broader range of destinations and products – cultural, gastronomic, historic/heritage, retail as well as rural, coastal, and urban.
How could TMI contribute? Practitioners wanted more and better access to materials and resources such as case studies and updates. For example, how much academic work was accessible to practitioners? There was also mention of a role for TMI in encouraging or providing a mentoring service or at least facilitating more direct exchange of experience and best practice.
So what can/should TMI be doing? What do you do to keep yourself up to date? How do you make time for your own professional development?