Tourism studies program
approved for Grenfell
By Connie Boland
The new, innovative bachelor of arts in tourism studies program, which will offer students an education in tourism, business, economics, heritage and culture, begins at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College in January 2006. While many tourism programs concentrate either on the specifics of hospitality management or the more rigid aspects of analysis and theory, Memorial University’s BA tourism studies degree will produce graduates who can balance specific and relevant skill sets with sensitivity to the strategic issues significant to tourism industries.
Approval to implement the BA in tourism studies was granted by the Senate during its June meeting in St. John’s. The approval process will be finalized after the program has been endorsed by the university’s Board of Regents at its July session.
“The BA Tourism Studies program is designed to reflect Memorial University’s commitment to the pursuit of the highest standards in teaching, research and service,” said Dr. John Ashton, principal of Sir Wilfred Grenfell College. “For many months, the college has been working with tourism professionals and academic experts at the local and international levels to develop the BA in Tourism Studies. Those key partnerships helped guide the formation of this degree program and will be vital as it continues to develop.”
Tourism is Canada’s fourth-ranked industry. In 2003, the tourism industry was worth over $52.1 billion in this country alone. According to Sir Wilfred Grenfell College’s Registrar’s Office and recruiters with the Humber Education Alliance, demand for university-level undergraduate programs in tourism is quite high with frequent inquiries coming from both domestic and international students.
As well, a survey of approximately 400 first-year students enrolled at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College indicated that 31.7 per cent would be interested in pursuing a tourism program at Grenfell.
“By providing an innovative program in tourism studies that is rooted in the academic literature related to tourism and facilitated through a case study-based teaching focus, we will be able to produce graduates who have broad skill sets appropriate to tourism and an awareness of the dynamics that are currently driving the industry,” Dr. Ashton added.
The BA in tourism studies will allow students to engage in emerging and internationally acclaimed tourism initiatives on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, including the Bonne Bay Marine Centre, Gros Morne Theatre Festival, L’Anse aux Meadows and
Red Bay Historic Sites, the Port au Port Peninsula and Humber Valley Resort. Furthermore, it’s anticipated that graduates of the program will be motivated to initiate and develop new tourism ventures in the region.
Recognizing there are many individuals who have already begun their careers, or who may have completed other training and want to avail of this opportunity, the Tourism Studies program will also offer an advanced diploma in tourism studies. “This flexible approach to post-graduate study will allow people who may already be working in the tourism field to continue their education,” Dr. Ashton said. “It will also allow those planning to work in the province’s arts-related industries to seize the many opportunities that are now emerging in this sector.”