tourism industry consequently fueling and sustain ing an impressive growth rate

Tourism industry consequently fueling and sustain ing

This preview shows page 2 - 4 out of 9 pages.

tourism industry, consequently fueling and sustain-ing an impressive growth rate over the years.Negroponte (1995) and Tapscott (1996) identify theconvergence of information technology, telecommu-nications, and content as the single-most significantevent shaping the future. Naisbitt (1994) singles outinformation technology (IT) as the paradigm sector
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48NADKARNIvides in facilitating the learning process itself acrossa spectrum of disciplines that form part of the cur-riculum of such a program.Insofar as assessing the influence of IT skillsgained during the education process on career pros-pects is concerned, it is necessary to solicit inputsfrom the principal stakeholders on the supply sideof the tourism industry, viz. employers, educators,and alumni. Measurement of the impact of IT as aninstrument for enhancing the learning process canbe achieved through empirical studies such as, forinstance, setting up a quasiexperimental designwherein, for a given subject or discipline area, theextent of IT in the form of computer-aided instruc-tion (CAI) is subjected to variation in magnitude ona cohort-by-cohort basis and the intercohort perfor-mance is compared with the aim of establishing acorrelation between the extent of CAI included inthe teaching/assessment process and the cohort’sperformance. The outcome of such studies, however,will be influenced by the actual IT competencies towhich the students are exposed by virtue of the na-ture of the contents of the syllabus in IT-related sub-jects, which forms the topic of discussion of thisarticle. Towards this end, after presenting an over-view of the contribution of IT to the tourism sectorover the years, the article deliberates on the type ofemphasis of IT syllabi in tourism management edu-cation and attempts to classify the IT applicationswith respect to their operational and strategic util-ity. Such a differentiation allows for identifying “ca-reer critical” applications that have the potential tobolster the decision-making competencies requiredof a manager in the tourism industry. This potentialis brought into focus within the rubric of the disci-plines that comprise the tourism management cur-riculum as well as from the standpoint of the pro-fessional management practices in the real-worldcontext.Tourism Sector and ITThough the role for IT as a catalyst for competi-tive positioning in businesses was recognized as farback as the mid-1980s (Porter, 1985), it was not untilthe early 1990s that its strategic potential was ac-knowledged by the tourism and hospitality industry(Cline & Blatt, 1998; Olsen, 1996). This was de-spite the widespread application of IT at the opera-tional level in the form of computer reservation sys-tems (CRS) in the 1970s and the global distributionsystems (GDS) in the 1980s, which were pioneeredby the airline industry and subsequently adopted byhotel chains and travel businesses (Sheldon, 1997;Truitt, Teye, & Farris, 1991). The dawn of the ageof personal computers (PCs) coupled with the ad-vent of the Internet-enabled creation and distribu-
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