DEFINING PROFESSIONALISM IN THE TOURISM CONTEXT

Jennifer Hussey, Mary T. Holden, Patrick Lynch

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    Abstract

    The Tourism Policy Review Group (TPRG) (2003, p. 54) has highlighted the need for the development of the professionalism of the Irish tourism industry, warning that “unless this is done across the industry as a whole, the status and credibility of education and training programmes will be called into question.” Yet, although there is a general academic consensus that professionalism is a prerequisite for success (cf. Smith and Westerbeek, 2004) and is seen as positively related to innovation (Sundbo et al., 2007) (which is perceived as essential to enhancing Irish tourism competitiveness (TPRG, 2003)), a review of the literature indicates that there is both a scarcity of knowledge on what tourism professionalism is and a lack of consistency in its use and meaning. For example, Smith and Westerbeek (2004, p. 39) have noted that the concept “has not commonly been addressed, and when it has, it has usually been concerned with broad assumptions and sociological interpretations.” Professionalism‟s multidimensional nature has been argued by Johnson et al. (2006) to involve: (1) altruism, (2) high quality standards, and (3) specialist skills – yet, how relevant and definitive is their conceptualisation in the tourism context? Both Johnson et al. (2006) and Sundbo et al. (2007) have argued that professionalism can be realised through education, hence the need for a precise conceptualisation of what professionalism actually is. Based on the foregoing, and in the tourism context, the purpose of the proposed paper is to identify the key dimensions of professionalism. Dimensionalising this concept is necessary to its evaluation and measurement in order to ensure that educational interventions to enhance professionalism are having a positive impact - a goal which is central to the authors‟ ongoing longitudinal study on improving the tourism sector‟s professionalism through education. This paper argues that altruism, the existence of a code of ethics, a body of knowledge and specialist skills are key dimensions of tourism professionalism.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    EventTourism and Hospitality Research in Ireland Conference (THRIC) - Shannon Hotel School, Shannon Hotel School
    Duration: 01 Jan 2010 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceTourism and Hospitality Research in Ireland Conference (THRIC)
    CityShannon Hotel School
    Period01/01/2010 → …

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