A comparative and empirical evaluation of the contribution of information and communication technology to tourism management education
This thesis explores the contribution of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) to tourism management education from a comparative and an empirical perspective. An overview of the context in which this research was carried out is provided and thereon, the veracity of tourism as a discipline in its own right is established. Using the programme in tourism business management offered at the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT), Macao, as a case in point, an analysis of the tourism management curriculum is performed, which leads to the inference that a holistic tourism education is better equipped to integrate new management paradigms induced by the information age. An expedient mechanism for the comparison of curricula of programmes that do not fall under the purview of common regulatory guidelines is propounded, based on which the common context within which IFT operates in the Asia Pacific region is demonstrated, thereby allowing for a more robust applicability of the inferences arrived at in this thesis. The indispensability of ICT as a tool in the development of analytical and actuarial competencies from the perspective of tourism business management is demonstrated. Towards this end, career critical ICT skills are identified, the veracity of which is put to test by soliciting and comparing the perceptions of the tourism industry stakeholders. This exercise in comparison also brings into focus the gaps and discontinuities in the development of ICT enhanced managerial skills. From the standpoint of the development of analytical competencies, an empirical investigation to gauge the effects of integrating the usage of a spreadsheet application by virtue of computer assisted instruction (CAI) into the syllabus of a quantitative subject on the students' academic achievement is carried out, the outcome of which demonstrates the constructive contribution of the given ICT application in enhancing the students' level of comprehension in that subject. On the basis of the inferences arrived at in this investigation, recommendations for effectively harnessing the prowess of ICT in developing conceptual and analytical competencies sine qua non for managers in the tourism industry are made and scope for further research is identified.