Attitudes To Careers In Tourism Essay

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Tourism Management, Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 149-158, 1997
© 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd
All rights reserved. Printed in Great Britain
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Attitudes to careers in tourism: an Anglo Greek comparison
David Airey
School of Managerial Studies, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 5XH

Athanassios Frontistis
Effective Management International, Vassiliadou 13, GR-111 41 Athens, Greece
Drawing on findings which form part of a wider study this article presents comparative information on attitudes of young people in Greece and the UK about tourism as a sector for their careers. It sets out the context within which career decisions are formed. It examines perceptions of tourism and attitudes to tourism jobs. It suggests that the UK pupils have a better established careers support system and that they have a less positive attitude toward tourism than their Greek counterparts apparently due to a more realistic view of the nature of the jobs in question. It also points to a variety of perceptions about what constitutes a tourism job, notably that many components of accommodation and catering are not seen as being part of tourism. It also demonstrates a difference between attitudes toward individual tourism jobs and attitudes toward employment in the tourism sector as a whole. © 1997

Elsevier Science Ltd
Keywords: tourism jobs, attitudes to careers in tourism, careers support, identification of tourism jobs

The relationship between tourism and the workforce can be examined from a number of different points of view. S o m e of these have been well explored over a relatively long period. For example, the employment creation effects of tourism, and education and training for tourism have been documented since the mid-1960s. ',2 Similarly, although starting from a rather later date, there is now a substantial literature about the nature and characteristics of tourism employment and careers. Mathieson and WalP provide an early summary. One area which has received much less attention is the perceptions and attitudes of young people to careers in tourism.
Ross 4 makes the point forcefully that 'Relatively little research has thus far been conducted on the perceptions and intentions of those individuals who are likely to enter the tourism/hospitality workforce'.
In some ways, given the importance of the workforce to the successful development of tourism, and given anecdotal evidence that attitudes to tourism careers span such a wide range from glamorous and exciting to poorly paid and mundane, this lack of attention is surprising. But apart from

pioneering work by Ross 4-7 there are few other studies of this important relationship.
The early work by Ross ~ suggests that secondary school students in Australia had a high level of interest in management positions in the tourism and hospitality industry and that they were prepared to undertake vocational preparation to achieve such positions. He also found ~ that school leavers interested in hospitality and tourism positions generally placed a higher than average value on achievement in their planned professional life. In other words tourism is potentially attracting the higher achievers.
In his later study of post-school intentions regarding tourism and hospitality industry employment in an
Australian tourism resort Ross 4 found that 'most respondents were highly interested in employment and perhaps a career in the tourism/hospitality industry. Relatively few evinced no tourism and hospitality employment interest'. He went on to suggest the possibility that 'the tourism/hospitality industry is now regarded as holding considerable promise for future employment and careers prospects in many western countries such as

Attitudes to careers in tourism: D Airey and A Frontistis

Australia'. Although, as he acknowledges, the level of interest is influenced by the fact that familiarity and involvement with the industry, which may be high for many