Turism not by chance: the Destination Manager takes care of it

Turism is sensibily growing world-wide and reveals the need to review and develop the professional skills involved. Vector, A Vocational and Educational Curriculum design from a sector skills alliance on TOuRism, is an European Erasmus+ research project led by Foundation for Research and Innovation, promoted by the University of Florence. The project involves 12 partners from Italy, Spain and Portugal, among them there are also DISEI,  the Department of Economics and Management of the University of Florence and the Region of Tuscany. The aim is to promote the development of a new professional profile, the Destination Manager, through an online study program, which is certified and used as reference model.

Duccio di Bari from UnifiMagazine, the online magazine of Unifi, interviewed Professor Giovanni Liberatore, scientific project coordinator and lecturer of Business Administration  at DISEI. Read the orignal article, written by Mr Di Bari, here: http://www.unifimagazine.it/turisti-non-caso-ci-pensa-destination-manager/. Mr. Di Bari collaborated with us to the translation of his article, that you find down below.

Professor, would you please tell us who is the Destination Manager?

It’s a highly qualified role, with specific strategy skills to manage, enhance and promote tourism destinations. DM works in specific areas and territories, and this point highlights a huge difference with classic tour operators: it’s completely different to organize a tour in Tuscany from the U.S.A. or being guided by a figure that has great knowledge of services, opportunities, and why not, also challenges of that area.

Is the Destination Manager a role with cross-sectorial competences?

Indeed it is. Because it’s in contact with Policy Makers, tourism enterprises and associations. It’s a sort of local operator with the aim to present, communicate and sell a different product: the territory. Plus, it plans new routes or integrates paths already planned by others. In order to do so, it’s important to deal with tourism policy and to supervise the sector.

For whom does the Destination Manager work?

He or she can be a free lance, as well as working for a tour operator, or a public administration, a local  body willing to invest in tourism.

What is the educational reference framework for the tourism sector at national level?

The educational offer is quite interesting and wide right now. High schools with tourism specialization are training young people with different possible paths to follow. The Destination Manager as a new professional role should have a high school certificate, keeping in mind all the aspirations of people employed in this sector that for sure have a considerable expertise but not the same certified training level.

What are the objectives of the project?

Vector stands for ‘ Vocational and Educational Curriculum design from a sector skills alliance on TOuRism’, which means that the main objectives of the project are to identify a new professional role and to create an educational curriculum to be evaluated and approved through ECTS, the European Credit Transfer System, and ECVET, the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training. Furthermore, the course is available through an on-line platform. Part of the project will be freely available, so that institutions interested in this Curriculum will have the chance to implement it within their current educational offer. Inside UNIFI we’d like to use it for our vocational training offer.

Can you tell us some moredetails of the project?

We started back in 2015, we should end the project in 2018. The full team is made up by 12 partners coming from Italy, Spain and Portugal. We’ve got a total funding of 825,000€, 220,000€ of which are assigned to UNIFI and the Foundation for Research and Innovation. The pilot project takes place in Spain and Italy, and involves 24 students to test some of the more innovative and important modules within the course. Some more modules will be remotely tested with the support of a tutor. You can learn more about the project at www.vector-tourism.net

How would you describe the VECTOR project with a single sentence?

A contribution to increase the quality within the tourism sector, ensuring the best competences for the needs of the sector.

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