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You are here: Home  July 2008  Features Meeting needs of eco- and adventure tourists

Meeting needs of eco- and adventure tourists

TORONTO—Centennial College, home of both a School of Hospitality, Tourism & Culture and the Culture and Heritage Institute, hosted the second annual Culture and Heritage Tourism Symposium June 9-10, 2008.  This year’s theme focused on Built Heritage Preservation Challenges: Sustainable Tourism Strategies, and dealt largely with meeting the needs of tourists who are seeking eco- and adventure vacations.

“The tourism and hospitality industry continues to grow at a steady pace in Canada and globally, increasing at a rate of over 4 per cent in 2007 to $70.6 billion according to Statistics Canada,” Centennial dean Shyam Ranganathan said in his remarks to the conference.

 “In Canada alone the tourism and hospitality industry will increase to an estimated 654,100 jobs,” Ranganathan told the symposium. “Clearly there is a very real need to accommodate this demand for destination concepts and services with highly trained and knowledgeable individuals to improve the quality of experience and the preservation of cultural value.”

According to UNESCO, global cultural and heritage tourism is growing by an unprecedented 15 per cent per year as travel consumers move away from traditional packaged tours to more eco- and adventure tourism that explores indigenous cultures on other continents.
To help meet this need, next fall Centennial will have a new course titled Tourism Management - Cultural and Heritage Tourism.  The goal of the two-year diploma course is to provide learners with a multi-faceted education offering a broad range of educational and industry training opportunities, as well as community outreach programs, helping Ontario’s tourism sector and graduates from this program prepare for a new breed of travel consumer.

Other speakers at the symposium included Wade Davis, explorer in residence, National Geographic, Dr. Maria Amelia Paiva, consul general of Portugal in Canada, Queen’s University professor emeritus Dr. Brian Osborne, David Whitaker, president and CEO Tourism Toronto and Katherine Berg, special advisor to the secretary general, Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

“As hosts, the positive feedback we have received not only indicate [delegates’] wonderful support and enthusiasm, but also that we need to keep this momentum going on academic and industry initiatives here at the Institute,” said Ranganathan.

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