Tourism education in Salzburg, Austria.
by JOHN NGUNTS IMBAL
The Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management in Salzburg, Austria began in 1965 and has since graduated over 2000 students from more than 110 different countries.
The institute is located in the "sound of music" city of Salzburg that is synonymous with "Mozart", the genius of classical music in the 18th century.
Graduates from this institute have gone onto form a highly valuable network of tourism professionals all over the world, managing and leading some of the world's leading tourism and hospitality establishments.
The Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (ITH) is directed by the Tourism Department of the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences and both schools are owned by the Salzburg Chamber of Commerce.
The Salzburg Chamber of Commerce operates several educational facilities to promote industry relevant education in order to support the industry with highly qualified employees.
The Salzburg Chamber of Commerce does this in order to contribute to the overall development of the local economy which ensures the excellent reputation of Salzburg's tourism industry.
The ITH is a small busy campus with buildings and classrooms that are well equipped with modern facilities such as overhead computer projectors with internet connection, TV set, 5 computer rooms, radio, a small library, 3 restaurants, a gymnasium, a wine cellar and a new boarding house with modern design.
ITH has been offering specialized training with facilities for a modern kitchen, restaurant, bar and hotel operations, ticketing and travel agency management.
ITH has an organized and effective Alumni Network which keeps its members educated and up to date with newsletters and special seminars which are held at ITH and also the University of Applied Sciences.
The ITH Alumni Association provides a powerful network of international tourism experts which can also be used for HTMTI, for example as part-time lecturers, trainers for higher qualification modules, visiting lectures or for presentations during tourism day.
Based on its reputation in Europe and around the world ITH also conducts trainings in other countries, is involved in multiple projects with different emphasis and has vital relations with other esteemed organizations and institutions such as its cooperation with Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management, Hainan Airline Group, JIT (Jingling Institute of Technology), Nepal International School for Tourism and Hotel Management, and University of Chelyabinsk in Russia.
These relationships involve exchange of students, expertise and for accreditation purposes. Besides the professional training, ITH wants to further students' awareness for intercultural understanding, sustainability as well as gender mainstreaming aspects. Democratic structures within the school and within each batch are enforced.
And the ITH mission is enlightening: "...only those who treat other cultures with respect, regardless of skin colour, gender or religion, can be successful in international tourism. Today, intercultural understanding and competence provide the key competitive advantages in global tourism management...."
ITH offers both theoretical and practical or hands on experience. Austria has a long and successful tradition in Tourism and this knowledge is forwarded to the students. Lecturers themselves are successful managers in the industry or tourism scientists who combine practical experience with theoretical background.
The Austrian Development Cooperation in conjunction with ITH offers scholarships to students from Least Developed Countries, mainly to African, Caribbean and central and South-East Asian countries. Currently I am the first and only one from Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific region including Australia and New Zealand attending this program. Scholarship information can be found on this website http://www.ith-salzburg.at/admissions/ith_scholarship_process.htm or http://www.ith-salzburg.at .
The ITH International Scholarship program offers a European diploma program compressed into 8 months with various field visits and excursions. The 8-months diploma program beginning in October consists of two parts: the compulsory General Module and a choice between two Special Modules: Hospitality Management or Tourism Management. An additional possibility is to get training as a tourism teacher; this course offers additional tutorials in education science and teaching skills, as well as teaching practice in Austrian schools. After graduation the students can pursue an industrial placement in Austria. It is a perfect combination to receive both, a professional as well as pedagogical education.
Apart from classroom work, there are in-between semester excursions to the popular tourism sites of Salzburg and Austria such as the Fortress Castles, Mirabell Gardens, Abtenau Mountains cable trains, inland lakes, sound of music tours, Mozart Museum and to Vienna. One can also visit nearby countries such as Germany, France and Italy during breaks and holidays.
ITH's motto states, "we prepare for success worldwide," indeed it is a privilege and an opportunity for me as the first from our region to thread this path that has been responsible for some of the leaders of the tourism and hospitality field worldwide, and I hope with this information can make more Papua New Guineans can also benefit in future from this opportunity. Wanbel em stap