Tourism is and will continue to be an important social, environmental and economic activity into the future. The leaders of tomorrow's tourism must be able to demonstrate a range of qualities including stewardship, respect, care, high level critical thinking, reflexivity and moral responsibility. Values-based tourism education assists learners of all types to reflect upon and develop a strong professional core.
Responding to industry conditions and concerns about approaches adopted in tourism education in the mid to late 1990s, TEFI was originally formed to explore a values-based approach to tourism. TEFI's original work is well described in the publications listed below.
Since the development of this early work, many of the original TEFI members have moved on. Not only have education needs, approaches and pedagogies changed, but the notion of education has also been transformed. Education is not a one way communication process from a wise teacher to an unknowledgeable recipient.
Learning takes place in diverse formal and informal spaces. Knowledge is shared and co-created. Actions are likely to be more effective if they are collaborative and based on shared understanding and a reconciliation of the multiple values at play. To this end, the values developed by the original TEFI members provide an historical touchpoint. However, a new generation of TEFI members critiques the original prescriptive, rational scientific approach making this their departure point for a more progressive and contemporary approach to tourism education.
A new generation of TEFI members have been confronting this challenge to work together, to embrace pluralism, collaboration and intercultural communication to create the conditions necessary for a better world wherein tourism has a role in pursuing shared values.