On October 9-10 St. Petersburg hosted an International research and practice conference of the Federal Agency for Tourism. The conference theme — “Modernization of Russian tourism education through the requirements of the society, the market and employers”. The event was organized “key ready” by the consulting group “Polylog”.

Over 200 participants, more than 30 journalists

The Conference was attended by over 200 people, including representatives of the United Kingdom, Germany, Greece, Malta, Ukraine and France, as well as by more than 30 journalists. Leading Russian and foreign experts met to discuss the issues of improving the quality of personnel of Russian tourism and hospitality industry.

The meeting summed up the results of the work done over the past year by the Council for Personnel Training in tourism. The Council was established in December 2012 at the scientific and practical conference of Rostourism in Moscow. The Council consists of representatives of various institutions: state authorities, scientific and educational organizations, and professional associations of the tourist industry.

Among the results of the Council’s work — publication of “the Golden Series” of books on tourism. New textbooks were solemnly presented by the authors at the Conference in St. Petersburg. The books are devoted to the basics of tourism, geography, history, marketing, management, statistics and economics, information security, security of tourism, as well as to legal support, and state\municipal management in this area.

The participants of the Conference discussed and made plans for the next year. Among them — introduction of a rating system for tourism schools and creation of a system of continuous postgraduate training of tourism specialists throughout the country.

“Our company for several years already provides services for organization, technical and information support of events, researches and development in the tourism sector — says Zamir Shukhov, the head of the Event Department of the “Polylog” Consulting Group — So, over the years we organized International Tourism Forums Visit Russia in Yaroslavl, an international legal conference “Security and Safety of the tourism industry” and other professional high-level meetings. The experience and analysis of the market of tourist services allows us to say that education is one of the points of growth that will bring hospitality industry in Russia to a new level and will increase both inbound and domestic tourism”.

“Modernization of Russian tourism education through the requirements of the society, the market and employers

Contest — over 20 regions

An important part of the Conference was the process of awarding of winners of the first Russian competition of professionals “The best professional in the tourism industry”, also organized by the “Polylog” company.

In 2013 the competition consisted of three categories — “The Best Hotel Reception Employee”, “The Best Manager of inbound tourism” and “The Best tour guide, guide –interpreter”. Among participants were representatives from more than 20 regions of Russia, and from the Russian Hotel Association, Association of guides -interpreters, tour guides and tour managers.

Among the winners were the representatives of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, the Republic of Buryatia, Irkutsk, Kurgan, Nizhny Novgorod and Ryazan regions, the Khabarovsk Territory. They all received diplomas and cash rewards.

The purpose of the contest is to increase the prestige of “linear” careers in tourism.

“Manager of inbound tourism and a tour guide — is the “face” of tourist destination, and an employee at a hotel reception is able to create a favorable impression not only of the hotel, but also of the entire trip. It is very important that these professions were seen as significant and prestigious and workers themselves never stopped improving their skills and interest in best practices of the tourism industry”, — commented the selection of nominations Evgeny Pisarevsky, Deputy Head of the Federal Tourism Agency.

Research — 1,600 respondents

On request of the “Polylog” Consulting Group the issue of prestige working in tourism was analyzed by one of the official media partners of the Conference — Russia’s largest recruitment portal SuperJob. The Research Center conducted a survey among economically active population in all districts of Russia over 18 years — 1,600 respondents.

According to the results of the survey, only a third of the 1,600 respondents — 34 % believe that a job in the tourism industry is prestigious. For 22% of respondents — a travel industry employee is a person “wearing out the seat of their trousers”, “booking tours for lazy people”. 44% of respondents were undecided and thus the understanding of the segment still stays minimal.

“The results of the survey showed that the profession of tourism manager is associated mostly with the reservation of hotels and tours. Meanwhile, the request of travel agencies for such competences is gradually reducing: for example, for each open position on tourism there are 5-6 resumes available. Socially and economically active Russians are increasingly independent in planning of their journeys, directly booking hotels and plane tickets without services of agencies. At the same time there is a demand raise for such directions as investment management in tourism is increasing, management of tourism destinations, information technologies in tourism, logistics and security.

All these areas require skilled personnel training, and the “Golden Series” of books on tourism, written by competent experts on the basis of real Russian and international practice is to fill knowledge gaps — both among young people just starting their careers in tourism, as well as among the experienced members of the tourist market”, — commented on the results of the study Kolodina Maria, “Polylog” employee and the manager of the project responsible for the PR-support of the Conference.