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Title: Developing stakeholder markets for social tourism : key challenges for education and training : a European case study
Authors: Jones, Andrew
Theuma, Nadia
Azzopardi, Sarah
Avellino, Marie
Keywords: Tourism
Tourism -- Social aspects
Sustainable tourism
Issue Date: 2014-10-21
Publisher: ATLAS
Citation: Jones, A., Theuma, N., Azzopardi, S., & Avellino, M. (2014). Developing stakeholder markets for social tourism : key challenges for education and training : a European case study. ATLAS Annual Conference Tourism and Well Being, Budapest. 1-30.
Abstract: So.To is a project funded by the European Commission, within Lifelong Learning-Leonardo Da Vinci Programme. So.To is the acronym for "Socializing Tourism". The main goal of this project comes from the 1980 Manila Declaration of the World Tourism Organisation: " to make leisure accessible to the majority, including youth, families and elderly people, by providing an exceptional economic opportunity". The aim of the project focusses on developing an integrated training course for social tourism and increasing the knowledge of social tourism across the key ‘actors-key stakeholders’ within the tourism industry and social enterprise networks. It thus focusses on those who are interested in developing new social tourism markets and new social tourism initiatives. The project aims to develop cooperation between many actors within these sectors and on the development of networks at local level between tour operators and social economy entrepreneurs. In this respect So.To. is a transnational project and has been implemented by a consortium of organisations in Malta, Greece, Italy, Spain, Poland and Romania. The partners are composed of private and public entities including three vocational training centers, two social enterprises, one university, one public authority and one regional tourist organization. The goals of the project can be summarized into three key areas: • increasing the level of knowledge on social tourism through the stakeholders who work within such sectors; • developing networks at local level between tour operators and entrepreneurs within the social economy; • developing new training initiatives to promote and establish opportunities for social tourism ventures These goals have been primarily implemented through the development of a range of target outcomes that have included; i) the design of a common, internationally recognised, pilot training programme for social tourism; ii) the validation of a certification system for such a programme and iii) the implementation of pilot training activities across the partnership to test and evaluate the feasibility of the overall project. To this end pilot training activities have included 90 participants from each partners’ country. The pilot training has entailed 100 hours of core teaching both classroom based and project work/job shadowing and fully assessed with each participants involved in the creation of a social tourism service package. The aim of this paper and presentation is thus to present some initial findings from the So.To project and the key issues and challenges that have arisen from the project. These primarily include i) an evaluation of the overall success of the project and ii) an evaluation of the pilot training programme that has been conducted in the partner territories. In summary the study will make some conclusions on the feasibility of implementing training programmes that aim to facilitate and promote the development of social tourism in turn assess the wider implications and outcomes for the development of new social tourism enterprises.
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