Title ETHIT Europe thinks in Tourism. Tourism Knowledge Network in Europe
Project Number 2013-1-ES1-LEO05-67368
Project Type Transfer of Innovation
Continuosly acquiring and updating competences is a challenge for tourism professionals to be adapted to the digital era. Collaboration, dialogue and social interaction is a way to acquire competences, knowledge and abilities and this is what the ETHIT network offers: the possibility to learn while networking and improving your career.
ETHIT - Europe Thinks in Tourism Network www.thinkintourism.com explores the value of informal and non formal learning for professionals of the tourism industry and also for learners who want to be part of this sector.
The main goal of the ETHIT project has been contributing to better understand and improve the non formal and informal learning processes in vocational and continuous training in the field of tourism in Europe, by means of developing the Tourism Knowledge Network in Europe www.thinkintourism.com
This network aims to bring closer the VET systems and the world of work in the field of Tourism since it allows the interaction, within the same space of students and experienced workers who will be able to undertake informal learning processes to improve their qualification level and knowledge in a market which is totally influenced by Web 2.O.
Qualification of the human resources in the sector is of key importance in all these countries, since the Tourism Industry is highly competitive and is key in the national economies of many countries. Despite vocational training systems are continually adapting to the labour 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. Informal learning processes are essential to generate knowledge to be shared among the tourism professional and students and in this sense, the ETHIT Network is a really useful tool to channel all these processes of informal learning with the international dimension required by globalization and by the inherent nature of an industry like tourism.
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), in order 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 has been 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 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 has been 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.
The ETHIT - Europe Thinks in Tourism network www.thinkintourism.com contributes 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 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 processes and the generation of new synergies resulting from the intergenerational and multicultural exchange and collaboration.
This European collaboration space also helps to reinforce the concept of an European Tourism Industry going beyond national frontiers, by means of networking of the different actors playing on it.
Open and distance learning
Accommodation and Food Service Activities
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
Transportation and Storage
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Other Service Activities
Information and Communication
open and distance learning
material for open learning
The main product of the ETHIT project is the platform www.thinkintourism.com an informal learning platform and social network in 7 different languages: English, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Hungarian and Icelandic.
The platform is fully working and the users that register can find a lot of disscussions and resources on issues of relevance for the tourism industry which are useful to the vocational and continuous training community all around Europe.
The participation in the consortium of vocational training institutions and entities representing companies in the sector of tourism has enabled that the project has already reached workers and students in this area of knowledge and therefore it has already had an impact on both target groups.
The potential of the platform to be adopted by the partner institution as a tool for informal learning supporting the learning processes within their formal training programmes is a key point for the future sustainability of the project.