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Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospitality and tourism education in India and preparing for the new normal

Vishesh Anna Joshi (Guru Nanak Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Studies, Kavikulguru Kalidas Sanskrit University Ramtek, Nagpur, India)
Ila Gupta (Amity School of Architecture and Planning, Amity University Gurgaon Campus, Gurgaon, India)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 30 July 2021

Issue publication date: 11 October 2021

1323

Abstract

Purpose

The COVID-19 pandemic has had serious and far-reaching consequences on every aspect of human life. As various countries went into lockdown, hospitality and tourism was badly affected and this has had an impact on hospitality and tourism education too. This paper aims to assess the impact of the pandemic on hospitality and tourism education in India and the effectiveness of mitigation strategies in support of the industry. The study also proposes recommendations for resilience-building.

Design/methodology/approach

A pilot survey using semi-structured interviews was conducted and followed by a detailed questionnaire-based survey of industry representatives and educators. Selected industry leaders were also interviewed to understand the industry perspective on the pandemic, the “new normal” and the expectations of post pandemic graduates. The study focuses on four main areas – (1) existing interrelationships between industry and academia, (2) the efficiency of Internet-based education during the pandemic, (3) the “new normal” and the expectations of graduates and (4) recommendations for resilience-building.

Findings

There is a perceived gap between academia and industry that needs to be bridged. We found that the pandemic is seriously affecting education with challenges ranging from technological issues, disparities and reduced enrolments to student behavioural issues. Most impacted was the practical training component in operational areas and especially in food production and services. It is now clear that education needs a shift in focus from the more traditional, operational aspects of hospitality and tourism to technological awareness, knowledge and soft skills development. The research also identified a need for better two-way communication and information exchange between industry and academia. In fact, the lessons learnt from the pandemic need to be communicated from industry to academia. This is important given that industry expects graduates to be adaptive, compassionate, able to multi-task, familiar with the principles of crisis management and proficient with technology.

Originality/value

The study analyses possible long-term effects and implications for the workforce of the future as the industry struggles to respond to the pandemic. The study also suggests possible avenues and methods for industry and academia to form more symbiotic relationships and become more resilient.

Keywords

Citation

Joshi, V.A. and Gupta, I. (2021), "Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospitality and tourism education in India and preparing for the new normal", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 622-635. https://doi.org/10.1108/WHATT-05-2021-0068

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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