During the last decades tourism has become one of the major industries in South East Asia, creating income and jobs but also environmental degradation. The ERASMUS+ funded TOURIST project aimed at increasing awareness of sustainable tourism especially in Thailand and Vietnam.
The main contributions of the project are trained university staff and students, competence centres for sustainable tourism and innovative financial strategies, as well as an extensive network of experts interested in enhancing sustainable tourism.
Training the trainers
The project comprised four trainings aiming at creating a shared understanding of sustainable tourism challenges and solutions especially in a South East Asian context.
Participants for the trainings came from all partner universities in the network, resulting in more than 30 staff members trained to enhance the work towards more sustainable tourism in Thailand and Vietnam. The participants of the trainings then organised further trainings and workshops internally, spreading the knowledge of key issues related to tourism in the region.
The main concrete outcome of the project was the establishment of a competence centre for sustainable tourism and innovative financial strategies at each of the seven partner universities in South East Asia.
The competence centers will be working at least for two years after the end of the project. The trained staff members will work at the centres together with students majoring in tourism and hospitality. Services, such as trainings, workshops and consultations, will be offered to external stakeholders in the industry and public sector.
Network of researchers and experts
When the core team members of the project were asked to mention the main achievement of the project, the partners in Thailand and Vietnam immediately mentioned the established networks as the main contribution.
The networks identified were relationships with staff at other universities in the home country as well as new international partnerships. Networks are always personal, and during the four week-long trainings there was a lot of time to really get to know the people interested in sustainable tourism at the different universities.
The first academic conference taking place in Hanoi in December 2019 was also an important opportunity to meet up with researchers from the partner universities as well as researchers from other parts of Asia.
Sharing sustainable tourism know-how in the post-pandemic world
The COVID-19 outbreak created some challenges for finishing the project, but luckily the project had already run for two years in March 2020.
The objectives of the project were reached. Hopefully the competence centers at the universities will become a part of the university structure and thereby offer knowledge of sustainable tourism in South East Asia in the decades to come.
The tourism infrastructure in the region is extensive and tourists will definitely be back when international travel is possible again. The partners of the TOURIST network are now well equipped to make tourism more sustainable in the post-pandemic era.
Project funding: Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education Joint Project
Project: TOURIST – Competence centres for the development of sustainable tourism and innovative financial management strategies to increase the positive impact of local tourism in Thailand and Vietnam
Partners: FH JOANNEUM Gesellschaft mbH (Project Coordinator), Austria; Universidad de Alicante, Spain; Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences; Hue University, University of Social Sciences and Humanities Hanoi, Vietnam; University of Social Sciences and Humanities Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Kasetsart University, Thailand; Burapha University, Thailand; Payap University, Thailand; Prince of Songkla University, Thailand