Announcing: Thitthongkham, Thavorn and John Walsh, “Tourism Education at the Tertiary Level and Competitive Advantage: A Comparison between Thailand and Malaysia,” paper presented at International Colloquium on Business and Management, Bangkok (January 26th-28th, 2010).
Language plays an imperative role in business as a means and a source of power. It is particularly important in the tourism industry when international customers may be unable to communicate directly with service providers in the receiving country, and this has a direct effect on the level of satisfaction that they enjoy during their experience. To address this issue, countries attempt to various degrees to manage their labour markets so as to produce a number of graduates from secondary and tertiary level educational institutions commensurate with the demand from the sector. However, this is quite a young industry at the global level, and it is not clear to what extent the number and quality of such graduates with international language ability will be required. This paper studies the comparative extent of such education at the tertiary level of individuals in both Thailand and Malaysia. It aims to compare the number and variety of people being trained in the tourism and hospitality industry and the extent to which languages are being taught. Results show that there is something of a disconnection between the languages provided and the languages that tourists desire in terms of their mother tongue. Those tourists who can speak English or Chinese may receive service support in those languages, while those who cannot may be disappointed.
The full paper should be available at the conference website.