VIU Project Will Help Build New Hospitality and Tourism Degree Program in Tanzania

VIU’s International Projects Coordinator Darrell Harvey (left); Recreation and Tourism Management Chair Aggie Weighill; Hospitality Department Chair Peter Briscoe and Hospitality Management professor Jonelle Knowles are at the National College of Tourism in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania right now to help develop a hospitality and tourism degree program with the Tanzanian National College of Tourism.

February 22, 2016 - 11:15am

VIU Hospitality and Tourism faculty excited about growing links to African partners

The East African country of Tanzania is known for its vast wilderness areas and expansive Indian Ocean coastlines. The legendary Serengeti plains stretch across the country and the tropical islands of Zanzibar and incredible coral reefs of Mafia Marine Park draw tourists from around the world.

While tourism in Tanzania attracts more than one million visitors annually and has been growing at an average rate of 12 per cent over the past decade, very few Tanzanians work in the managerial ranks of the industry, which is dominated by foreigners. In an effort to change that, the Tanzanian National College of Tourism (NCT) has partnered with Vancouver Island University (VIU) to help build an undergraduate degree program that will provide university-level hospitality and tourism training to Tanzanians.

“Currently the National College of Tourism offers diplomas in tourism and hospitality,” said Dr. Aggie Weighill, Chair of VIU’s Recreation and Tourism department. “What we are embarking on here is building a curriculum, an undergraduate degree program, which trains the next generation of Tanzanian managers in both of these industries.”

Weighill is currently in Tanzania with VIU’s Chair of the Hospitality Management Department, Peter Briscoe; Hospitality Management professor Jonelle Knowles, and VIU’s International Projects Coordinator, Darrell Harvey. Together with NCT educators and administrators they are laying the groundwork on which the new degree program will be built.

“This differs from other partnerships that focus on capacity building of individuals,” said Weighill. “This is about helping an institution, through collaboration, develop a program of courses that prepare students for management positions. We are building a system that will serve many and I’m very proud to be a part of it.” 

Funding for the project comes through Colleges and Institutes Canada’s (CICan) Improving Skills Training for Employment Program (ISTEP). ISTEP is a five-year Government of Canada program that is providing funds to multiple projects involved in building the capacity of technical and vocational institutions in Tanzania. The program’s end goal is to produce 1,200 graduates with the right skill set to find or create employment in Tanzania’s extractive and tourism sectors.

“The partnership will also strengthen our international network and provide us a strong partner in a region of the world where we desire to do work,” said Weighill. “For VIU, it creates the potential for the development of field schools, research opportunities and project work for our students and also creates opportunities for faculty development through exchanges.”

The project is currently in its inception phase. Together with NCT, VIU faculty will develop a three-year work plan that will lead to the launching of the new degree program by 2019.


MEDIA CONTACT:  Dane Gibson, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6288 E: T: @viunews  

Tags: Teaching and Learning

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