Rationale of the ETHIT Project
Tourism sector employs approximately 5.2% of the workforce and generates about 5% of European GDP, being the third most important economic activity in Europe. Therefore, tourism has a high potential to be an economic driver and generate employment and growth in European Economy. But for reaching these goals, the tourism industry must be adapted to the evolution of information society which is determining the tourist demand and, on the other hand, must face the difficulties arising from the growing competence at international level due to the emergence of new tourist destinations in developing countries. According to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the regions, “Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe” (COM(2010) 352 final), To face the crisis, European tourism must evolve, offering sustainable and high-quality tourism, playing on its comparative advantages. Quality in tourism is closely linked to the qualification of the human resources in the sector so this aspect is of core importance in all European countries and this the core focus of the ETHIT project.
Despite vocational training systems are continually adapting to the labor market needs, the changes in the market are being so fast, especially in what concern to the key role of the Internet and social networks, that formal and even non-formal vocational training programmes do not cover all the knowledge that a worker in the tourism industry need to have in order to be competitive. This is why informal learning is more and more consolidated as an innovative methodology useful for the purpose of industrial learning. Social networks are playing a key role as tools for informal learning, enabling the generation and sharing of knowledge.
The goal of the project is to provide the European Tourism professional with a sectoral network that enable them to interact and share their knowledge and experiences and therefore, to take part in informal learning processes of great value for the improvement of their professional skills.
Once the ETHIT network www.thinkintourism.com will be ready, the project partners will be contributing to better understand and improve the non-formal and informal learning processes in the field of vocational and continuous training in tourism and to bring closer the VET systems and the world of work.
The European dimension and multidisciplinary and Multilanguage approach of the ETHIT network will allow the interaction of experienced workers and students, from very different countries, and from different areas of activity within the tourism industry, enabling new exchange process and the generation of new synergies resulting from the intergenerational and multicultural exchange and collaboration.
Moreover, this European collaboration space will also help to reinforce the concept of an European Tourism Industry going beyond national frontiers, by means on networking of the different actors playing on it.