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Title: Contemporary curricula for professional meeting and event management in South Africa : strategies and responses to industry requirements
Authors: Venske, Esti 
Keywords: Special events -- Management;Tourism -- Curricula;Tourism -- Study and teaching (Higher)
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Abstract: The continued growth of the business event tourism industry has catalysed the need for academic qualifications to meet the demand for knowledgeable and skilled professionals in the field. As a sub-sector of the tourism industry, business events have been identified globally as a lucrative sector holding socio-economic benefits for host destinations. Due to the dynamic and fast-paced nature of the industry, business events are not only susceptible to changes in the world-of-work, but also require a competent work force to ensure the long-term sustainability of the sector. Therefore, it is imperative that vocational qualifications are closely aligned to industry needs and adopt innovative educational approaches to embed the necessary knowledge and skills in meeting and event management curricula. Meeting and event management is an emerging academic discipline compared to the more established tourism and hospitality programmes offered at university level. The incremental expansion of more specialised qualifications in meeting and event management is directly related to the progression of the business event tourism industry. In South Africa, business event tourism brings with it powerful opportunities to create jobs and to make meaningful contributions to the economy and society at large. As a destination, the country competes on a global platform to win major meetings and events further galvanising the need for qualified practitioners to reinforce the destination’s ability to successfully host business events and contribute to tourism. Furthermore, the movement towards the professionalisation of occupations in the meeting and event industry has made headway in recent times with both international and national professional bodies instituting designations in the field. It is therefore important for university educators to ensure that the meeting and event management qualifications they offer, are relevant and recognised by industry to enhance graduate employment and support professional career advancement. The development of responsive curricula in the field requires ongoing renewal to meet the demands of this ever-evolving industry. Therefore, the primary aim of this study was to explore stakeholder perspectives on professional meeting and event management curricula in South Africa and, in doing so, develop responsive strategies for contemporary curricula in line with industry requirements. A qualitative approach was adopted and a total of seven inter-related research publications were written to contribute to the primary aim of the study. The qualitative research design across the publications employed interviews and focus groups to collect data among selected key informants during candidature between 2015 to 2021. Utilising purposive sampling, data was collected distinctly for each of the seven publications amongst industry practitioners affiliated with the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) and industry practitioners who served on academic advisory boards for a university of technology; and from graduates and students enrolled in a vocational meeting and event management qualification. The generated data was also analysed separately for each of the seven publications by means of step-by-step inductive, thematic content analysis. Permission to conduct the research was obtained from the ethics committee of the Faculty of Business and Management Sciences at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), SAACI and the participating key informants by means of informed consent. The study presented valuable insights on important aspects of a meeting and event management curriculum from industry perspectives and the educational experiences of graduates and students. These insights were used as the foundation to inform responsive strategies for contemporary curricula. Firstly, the investigation established that the embedment of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as part of sustainability education can be achieved by adopting a knowledge-skills-attitude framework in partnership with industry. The research also found that it is imperative for curriculum developers to reinforce industry-aligned graduate attributes related to time and stress management, professionalism in the workplace and personal characteristics as part of the holistic development of students during their time of study. It was further revealed that experiential learning in partnership with industry can be enhanced by implementing a co-mentorship framework to close the graduate knowing-doing gap. The study also determined how event volunteering can be used effectively as an educational tool to reinforce theoretical knowledge of the curriculum in a practical setting. Another noteworthy aspect of the findings related to curricula that is responsive to industry trends where technology, delegate experiences, safety, and security as well as sustainability were highlighted as key trends to consider. Additionally, the study outlined how the United Nations Sustainability Goals (UN SDGs) can be integrated as competencies and learning outcomes in a meeting and event management curriculum. Lastly, the investigation presented findings on competencies for business event careers in a changing world-of-work considering the Covid-19 pandemic. Implications on the curriculum in this regard emphasised aspects related to health and safety in risk management, technological advancements, sustainable meeting and event management and new opportunities for experiential learning. The study has aided to reduce the industry-academic gap regarding relevant curricula content for vocational meeting and event management qualifications and contributed South African contextual notions to the body of knowledge in the field.
Description: Thesis (DTech (Tourism and Hospitality Management))--Cape Peninsula University of Technology, 2022
Appears in Collections:Tourism Management - Doctoral Degrees

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