Ten students from Mauritius, Tanzania and Zanzibar have been awarded funding for Commonwealth Distance Learning scholarships, and will be taught through a combination of interactive online learning and face-to-face teaching blocks delivered in Mauritius.
The opening ceremony to mark the start of the course was attended by industry representatives, the national press and the Mauritian Minister of Tourism. The Minister welcomed the students and outlined his aspirations regarding the benefits that they course graduates would bring to their communities and workplaces. The ceremony preceded an intensive two-week induction programme that included classroom based skills for learning sessions; an introduction to the course content; industry guest lectures and topic related fieldtrips to significant cultural and environmental attractions.
Lucy Mccombes, Research Fellow from the School of Events, Tourism, and Hospitality Management, said: “I am delighted with how well the partnership between Leeds Beckett and Rushmore Business School is working. They really pulled out all the stops to organise the opening ceremony, guest speakers and fieldwork programme.
“Whilst in Mauritius, we also got an excellent opportunity to share news of our collaboration and the new course when we met the new British High Commissioner along with the Mauritian President and Prime Minister.”
The Responsible Tourism Management MSc is the only course of its kind certified by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) TedQual programme. The course is aimed at mid-career tourism professionals who can study either face-to-face or by distance learning. The course gives students the concepts and tools they need to ensure that the positive impacts of tourism are maximised and the negative impacts are minimised. Graduates from the course will also have the skills required to make a positive contribution to local economic development and poverty reduction through delivering responsible tourism.
Dr Davina Stanford, Course Director on the Responsible Tourism MSc, said: “The Commonwealth Scholarships have allowed us to make our course accessible to those who might not otherwise have been able to undertake post-graduate study. Our recruitment targeted students who will benefit most from the opportunity, to develop their careers and make a positive contribution to the places in which they live and work. The students have been a pleasure to work with and are clearly keen, committed and motivated to progressing responsible tourism and, more broadly, to achieving the sustainable development goals. We are looking forward to working further with our partners in Rushmore Business School and plan to apply for funding for a second cohort.”
Ali Mohamad, a student from Zanzibar, said: “I think the course is revolutionary in terms of its target and approaches. It focuses on changes in today’s perception of worldwide tourism and I love it.
“It’s interesting to study with different practitioners from various parts of the world. It’s innovative and gives you room for critical thinking on how to deal with tourism in today’s world of massive production and consumption of resources.
“I hope to gain much in terms of knowledge and exposure. It’s my hope when I finish the course to help contribute to proper practice in my own country.”
Ali works as a Tourism tutor in a state university in Zanzibar, a Tour Guide and at the Kawa Training Centre – a non-governmental institution that recruits youths and empowers them in becoming responsible tour guides.