Review and Assessment of Academic Tourism and Hospitality Programmes in China

  • Andreas H. ZinsEmail author
  • Se You Jang
Part of the Perspectives on Asian Tourism book series (PAT)


Over the past 30 years, the Western world has experienced the transition of higher tourism and hospitality education from vocational to a broader social-science orientation. This chapter investigates whether this shift away from a narrow focus on employability towards a personal growth and values orientation has materialised in China as well. A content analysis of undergraduate programmes in Chinese colleges and universities is used to identify the variability and emphasis of curricula within the limited autonomy of higher education institutions in China. It emerged that the transparency of programme designs is low, study programmes lack a clear profile and positioning and teaching volume in classrooms is at least 80% higher than the average of bachelor programmes in Western countries. Personal and social skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, teamwork and liberal reflection capacities are neglected components. This supply side perspective is complemented by focus group discussions with the HR managers of internationally branded hotels in China. Participants considered emotional intelligence, an outgoing personality and personal endurance capabilities as more important assets than technical skills. The third empirical study involved the reflections of more than 400 HR managers – mainly from the hospitality industry – on the contribution of broader curricula components to the employability of graduates. These – mainly Chinese – managers most appreciated extended language capabilities and experiences from mindful internships. However, generic personal skills, such as communication, creativity, social responsibility, leadership and reflective, critical thinking, are valued more than specific industry or functional managerial knowledge. Overall, a shift in the perception of the service industry, innovation in new curriculum designs, more transparency and competition as well as higher leadership competencies in the industry will be required to foster a competitive edge for stakeholders, institutions and educational beneficiaries in China.


Curricula structure Educational insight Perceptual disparities Transition China 



The authors are grateful for the vast support in this research project offered by their colleagues: Miranda Jiang, Helen Yan, Rick Li Xion, Shirley Gao and Nancy Zhang.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nanjing Tech University Pujiang Institute, MODUL School of Tourism and Hospitality ManagementNanjingChina

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