Faculty of Tourism at Wakayama University
To promote tourism in Japan, the Japanese government has implemented a policy to provide the tourism industry with qualified workers by expanding the tertiary education of tourism studies. However, a high rate of university students who major in tourism studies seek careers outside the tourism industry. The government regards this tendency as a problem, and is attempting to solve it by making tourism education more industry-orientated. In this situation, both government and scholars are likely to evaluate tourism education in the university setting by studying its contribution to the tourism industry. Since there is little consideration of the benefits to students in such an evaluation, we set the following research questions. First, what do university students think about the benefits of studying tourism? Second, how do they regard tourism education in relation to their careers? A questionnaire survey was undertaken with students in their final year of studies with the Faculty of Tourism at Wakayama University in 2015. Out of 105 students in the target group, we obtained 71 responses. This research was not able to clarify the reasons that many of the students were not interested in working in the tourism industry. However, the results indicate that most of the respondents were satisfied with the education they received in tourism studies at Wakayama University even if they did not intend to work in the tourism industry. Many respondents found the study of tourism useful because it broadened their perspectives on societies and businesses, and thought that this characteristic of tourism education helped them find jobs in their intended future careers regardless of the industry. With these results, we are concerned that the usefulness recognised by students may be lost if tourism education focuses heavily on knowledge and skills that are directly related to work in the tourism industry.