Tourism could be our saviour insists Dr Sean Duffy
Could tourism be our saviour? According to Dr. Sen Duffy Head of School of Tourism it certainly could be. With a drop in numbers to Ireland, especially from our UK neighbours, the Irish Tourism industry has suffered from a perception of being very highly priced and poor value. Yet Dr. Sen Duffy is optimistic for the future and sees the next year as one of great opportunity, "Yes we have a job to do moving Ireland back into centre stage as a first choice destination. That means working together, being innovative, giving people a memorable experience, using new technologies, identifying new markets, this brings tremendous opportunity. For our part continuing to work closely with the industry to provide courses and top class graduates to service culinary, hospitality and tourism businesses." He continues, "All of the things which make Ireland unique are still here, we have a fantastic offering, especially in the North West. Of course Irish people are rediscovering their own country and realising that there's much more variety and value to experience today."
He points out that, "Tourism has been placed as one of the key economic drivers as it is seen as an industry capable of job creation and significant revenue growth. The Government Strategy and Action Plan for Irish Trade, Tourism and Investment to 2015, published at the end of September 2010, envisages the creation of an additional 15,000 jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector by 2015."
This is an opportunity that The School of Tourism, LYIT has been steadily gearing up for and is now well placed in the North West as the only provider of tourism training and education programmes across all aspects of the wider tourism industry.
Dr. Duffy outlines "We are focused on maintaining the highest standards through staff training, upgrading facilities, introduction of new courses and forging close links with the industry. here's been a re-furbishment programme at Killybegs with new training facilities, kitchens and a newly opened state-of-the-art demonstration theatre with full demonstration audio-visual and food preparation facilities."
There has also been an emphasis on accessing best practice through staff development programmes in conjunction with Filte Ireland. Staff have studied at the renowned Johnson & Wales University, Rhode Island, USA, French Culinary Institute, New York and Ecole Gregoire Ferrandi, Paris, France. In addition, the School is developing student/staff student exchange programmes with international hotel and tourism schools from Finland, France, Italy, and USA.
"Of course this ensures we bring back the latest international techniques and developments in hospitality, culinary arts to the School of Tourism and pass these on to our students. It injects tremendous innovation on campus and accelerates learning. It also has revealed we're right on track when it comes to our learning approaches. Despite today's environment, we consistently have a very high record of graduate employment."
The School has always worked hand in hand with the industry in Ireland, for instance all courses, many up to degree level, have industry participation, either through paid work placement or programme delivery at industry premises. "The industry is changing rapidly and is very diverse so the best way to stay relevant and give our students the best experience is to ensure they're exposed to the real world."
That also means being familiar with new technologies, the college is involved in the delivery of two national projects focusing on the development of on-line content for tourism/hospitality and culinary arts programmes "I'd like to thank the commitment of our staff and students in helping to put these changes in place. We're excited about 2011 and we're confident we can play an even bigger role in shaping how Tourism grows and develops in Ireland. "
To find out more about what courses for students and professionals, which the School of Tourism has on offer visit www.lyit.ie