The intention is to ultimately introduce an international master’s degree in tourism that would attract European students to study here
At the opening of the new university year in Adeje, the rector of the University of La Laguna, Antonio Martinón and the Adeje mayor José Miguel Rodriguez Fraga spoke of their plans to improve the course offer and make Adeje an international reference point for tourism studies.
It’s only been three years since Adeje became the official University of La Laguna campus in South Tenerife, and the number of students taking this third level course in tourism has grown from 50 to the 123 who have just begun their four year course, but already the course is proving important to Adeje’s position as a world leader in this important market. The mayor told those gathered for the term’s official opening that the existence of the course gave the sector “a strategic importance, not just for Adeje but for Tenerife and the Canary Islands”. He said education was “key in the consolidation of a destination that wishes to be leader in the sector…the presence of the university here is a fundamental factor” in the future of the destination he continued, adding that “training plays an important part in future possibilities”.
The Adeje mayor told the rector that he could be guaranteed of the council’s support in developing the course further to ensure that the presence of the university gave “added value” to the local sector. And it makes sense that Adeje could be a top choice study destination for those who want to undertake tourism training at degree and master’s level. He also told those currently studying to take full advantage of the course and the location.
The university rector thanked the mayor and supported his intentions, adding that the existence of the campus in the south was the perfect example of collaboration between different institutions. “This is a project that meets the needs of the south of the island. Our wish is that the campus in the south will be strengthened and in the coming weeks we want to look ahead to see what other courses we can bring here. We are all aware of the key role tourism plays in the economic development of the island, in progress, and tourism also plays a part in promoting coexistence between the different regions and towns.” He added that the intention is to ultimately introduce an international master’s degree in tourism that would attract European students to study here, and in time Tenerife would become an international reference point for tourism studies in general.
Antonio Martinón urged private as well as public sector bodies to work together, to form an educational/employment pact, linking university education with social and political needs and realities. “From the universities’ point of view we are working to do much more than simply offer ideas, this isn’t just about reaching agreement about an educative system, but linking studies to the economic world today and employment needs. These islands have a high level of unemployment and all of us, and in particular those of us in the university, need to concentrate on finding ways of reducing this figure”.
Carolina Ramos will graduate this year, and is part of the first group to take up to the tourism course. She addressed the gathering too, representing the student body, saying “Adeje in in the tourism ‘Champions League’ …we want to prove that the students here in Adeje are prepared to meet the demands of the sector”. She acknowledged that when the course began a few years ago they did feel somewhat like ‘guinea pigs’ though they were proud to be at the forefront of a new project.
Also invited to address those present was the operations director for Iberostar Canaries and Cape Verde, Javier Muñoz Alegre. He said, “Tourism is a changing phenomenon which has to adapt itself to the wishes of visitors, which depends upon geo-political factors which can help or hinder, depending”. Tenerife, he said, had taken great strides in meeting three essential goals in modern tourism – hotel renovation, improvement of public zones and upgrading professional standards. However he said it was also important that public administrations were aware of the need to advance at the same pace as private investment.
Regarding the first group of professionals that would graduate from this course, he said they would be welcomed by all sectors. “Tourism is a complex sector demanding increasingly higher levels of professionalism underlined by the high expectations of the clients”.