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International Research Symposium in Service Management

ISSN 1694-0938

Understanding Students Commitment to Employment in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry


Harmon Chellen BSc, MSc Training Centre Manager MITD Ecole Htelire Sir Gatan Duval Ebne Rduit Mauritius Tel: (+230) 404 7200 Fax: (+230) 465 8835 hsmheb@intnet.mu Robin Nunkoo BA, MA, MA Department of Management Faculty of Law and Management University of Mauritius Rduit Mauritius Tel : (+230) 403 7522 Fax : (+230) 465 6906 r.nunkoo@uom.ac.mu

Le Meridien Hotel, Mauritius, 24-27 August 2010

International Research Symposium in Service Management

ISSN 1694-0938

Understanding Students Commitment to Employment in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry

Abstract
This research develops a model to understand the underlying factors influencing students commitment to employment in the tourism and hospitality industry. Based on a literature review surrounding the topic, six factors likely to influence commitment are used to develop a theoretical framework. These factors include nature of work, social status, career prospects, promotion opportunities, physical working conditions and pay and fridge benefits. The model is tested using responses collection from 300 students studying tourism and hospitality related programs at the Hotel School of Mauritius. The study relied on the use of a structured questionnaire which was piloted tested with 30 students. Multiple regression analysis was used to test the effect of each of the six factors on the level of commitment to employment in the tourism and hospitality industry. Results indicated that the social status associated with employment in the industry as well as career prospects in the industry were the two major factors influencing students commitment. The policy implications emerging from the findings are discussed. These include the development of tourism action clubs, providing career advices to students, development of tourism awareness competition, tourism scholarship programs, company participation in job fairs and implementation of company sponsored tours.

Keywords: Students, commitment, employment, tourism and hospitality industry.

Le Meridien Hotel, Mauritius, 24-27 August 2010

International Research Symposium in Service Management

ISSN 1694-0938

INTRODUCTION
Tourism industry depends largely on human interaction (Baum, 1993). Tourism is a service orientated industry where humans play a pivotal role in delivering a product that will influence the overall experience of tourists. Moment of truths or the contact between employees in the tourism industry with consumers (Carlzon, 1987) will determine the extent to which the service fails, meets or exceeds the expectations of tourists. Hence, the overall quality of products or experiences in tourism is influenced by competent and committed staff, both at the front line and behind the scenes (Go, Monachello, & Baum, 1996). With such crucial roles played by the workforce, tourism employees will determine the very survival of the tourism industry (Amoah & Baum, 1997). This notion is supported by Swarbrooke (1995) that in the very nature of tourism business operations, human resources often constitute the biggest portion of the budget. As such, the tourism workforce deserves undivided attention in tourism planning and management. It is forecast that by 2020, there will be a total of 1.6 billion million jobs in the tourism industry (WTTC, 2007) thus increasing the need for more motivated, qualified and skilled manpower ready to meet the challenges of an ever changing and demanding industry. There is a common notion that the tourism and hospitality sector offers low pay, very little training and career prospects, limited scope for promotion, and unsociable working hours which have collectively formed a negative image of tourism as a career (WTTC, 2002a). As a result, the tourism industry is, to-day, facing more than ever greater challenges in attracting skilled and motivated staff than the emerging sectors in the economy (Kelley-Patterson & George, 2001). An employees perception to any industry will, no doubt, be determined by their commitment, perceptions and attitudes towards working in the industry as well the types of jobs available in the industry. It is argued that this is particularly pertinent to tourism and hospitality as it has been reported that potential recruits have a negative image of working in the industry (Aksu and Koksal, 2005; Brien, 2004; Getz, 1994; Kusluvan and Kusluvan, 2000). By using staff as the mechanism to gain an advantage over competitors, it is therefore argued that it is essential that tourism and hospitality graduates have a positive attitude towards working in the industry (Kusluvan and Kusluvan, 2000). Negative perceptions of the tourism industry have become a global phenomenon and without immediate, bold and strategic effort, by all parties concerned, shortages of skilled workers will continue to be the one of the most crucial issues facing the tourism and hospitality industry in the near future (WTTC, 2002a). Based on the aforesaid, this research seeks to understand the students commitment towards the tourism industry in Mauritius by developing a unique theoretical framework. The proposed model is shown in Figure 1 and focuses on the factors that have a direct bearing on the level of commitment toward the industry. Drawing from the current literature, various factors have been considered to influence students commitment toward the industry. Such factors include nature of work, social status, industry-person congeniality, physical working conditions, career prospects, promotion opportunities, work relationship among staff members, the managers role and support, the pay and the

Le Meridien Hotel, Mauritius, 24-27 August 2010

International Research Symposium in Service Management

ISSN 1694-0938

level of fringe benefits practiced in the tourism industry in Mauritius. More specifically, based on the conceptual framework of the research (Figure 1), the research questions of the study are as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. What is the influence of students perceived nature of work in the tourism and hospitality sector on their level of commitment to the industry? What is the influence of students perceived career prospects in the tourism and hospitality sector on their level of commitment to the industry? How do students perceptions of promotional opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector influence their level of commitment to the industry? How do students perceptions of pay and benefits in the tourism and hospitality sector influence their level of commitment to the industry? How do students perceived social status in the tourism and hospitality industry influence their level of commitment to the industry?

Figure 1: The Conceptual Framework of the Research

Nature of work

Career prospects

Promotion opportunities

Commitment to the industry

Pay and benefits

Social status

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY Students perception of tourism employment

Le Meridien Hotel, Mauritius, 24-27 August 2010

International Research Symposium in Service Management

ISSN 1694-0938

Tourism relies on people (Baum, 1993) as it is a service-orientated industry and employees play a central role in delivering a product that will influence the overall experience of tourists. The moments of truth or the contacts between front-line staff in the tourism industry with consumers will determine the extent to which the service fails, meets or exceeds the expectations of tourists (Carlzon, 1987). The important role of employees determines the survival of the tourism industry (Amoah & Baum, 1997). This notion is validated by Swarbrooke (1995) that in the very nature of tourism business operations, human resources often constitute the biggest portion of the budget. As such, effective human resource management deserves more attention in tourism planning and management (Christensen Hughes, 2002). Although there is substantial literature about tourism employment, only a limited number of studies were conducted to highlight the perceptions of students towards careers in the tourism industry. This means that more empirical studies focusing on tourism students commitment to the industry are needed in order to evaluate the status of tourism jobs in the human resources (HR) planning process for the tourism sector. Generally, HR plans focus on the employment needs of large international tourism companies, especially in hospitality, and neglect perceptions of students. Negative attitudes towards working in tourism may result in the industrys failure to capture and retain the most qualified tourism students. Since the tourism industry relies so heavily on people to deliver a service, this would result in a negative impact on service quality and consumer satisfaction, which might then hinder the competitiveness of the industry. Several researchers have surveyed the perceptions of secondary or high school students towards employment in the tourism industry. In his study of secondary school students in Australia, Ross (1994) found a high level of interest in management positions in the tourism industry. Getz (1994) surveyed high school students in the Spey Valley in Scotland. His longitudinal study showed that perceptions towards a potential career in tourism had become much more negative over a period of 14 years. Airey and Frontistis (1997) compared the attitudes of secondary school students towards tourism careers in Greece and the United Kingdom. They showed that the UK students had a less positive attitude towards tourism than their Greek counterparts. At the end of their survey of high school students in Arizona, Cothran and Combrink (1999) stated that although minority students often had less knowledge about hospitality jobs, they had more interest in them. Several researchers have also studied the perceptions of undergraduate tourism and hospitality management students. Casados survey (1992) on student expectations of hospitality jobs revealed that, although they tended to be fairly realistic before their graduation, the turnover of these students seemed to be high. Barron and Maxwell (1993) examined the perceptions of new and continuing students at Scottish higher education institutions. They found that in general the new students had positive images of the industry, whereas the students with supervised work experience were much less positive in their views. Purcell and Quinn (1995) surveyed 704 former tourism students and discovered that graduates complained of having little opportunity to develop their managerial skills.

Le Meridien Hotel, Mauritius, 24-27 August 2010

International Research Symposium in Service Management

ISSN 1694-0938

A relatively recent study, conducted by Kusluvan and Kusluvan (2000), four-year tourism and hotel management students, in seven different schools in Turkey, reported negative perceptions towards different dimensions of working in tourism. Kozak and Kzlrmak (2001) carried out a similar survey among the undergraduate tourism students in three different vocational schools in Turkey. Like Barron and Maxwell, they too indicated that work experience as a trainee in the industry affected their perceptions in a negative way. In his comparative study of hospitality students future perceptions at two different universities in the UK and in the Netherlands, Jenkins (2001) also showed that, as they progress in their degree, the students perceptions of the industry tend to deteriorate. Birdir (2002) surveyed those junior and senior tourism students at the University of Mersin in Turkey in order to find out the reasons why some students were not eager to work in the industry after graduation. The main reason stated was the lack of quality education in tourism to enable them to be successful in the sector. Irregular working hours in tourism was the second major reason. Another study, conducted among the tourism students of Adnan Menderes University in Turkey, examined what tourism and hospitality internship students expect from working in the industry (Yksel et al., 2003). The results showed that internship students gave high priority to: good and fair wages; opportunities for career development; tactful and professional management; and personal growth. The findings of the survey conducted by Gkdeniz et al. (2002), at 4-star and 5-star hotels in Turkey, showed that one of the reasons for the enduring poor image of the industry is the managers attitudes towards the trainees. Most of the managers used the trainees because they were cheap labour and put these students into work in any department where staffs were needed.

Numerous books and research papers have been published on the tourism industry, yet little research has been undertaken to understand tourism students' perceptions of the tourism Industry in Mauritius. Many positions within the industry involve low-skilled work; there are opportunities for entry into the industry for individuals with little experience and low skills (O'Mahony and Sillitoe, 2001, p. 22). Casado (1992) investigated the basic expectations of students in the tourism sector, and found their expectations to be fairly realistic before their graduation period. Purcell and Quinn (1995) undertook research with a sample of 704 students and identified that students complained of problems in developing their managerial skills. Clearly, perceptions of tourism industry should be investigated mainly from the students perspective as they are the future employees of the tourism industry. However, the limitations of this work required that the principal focus was the perspective of students. Students can be influenced by personal contact with tourism establishments; for example through experience with the establishment as a consumer, by word of mouth from faculty members, establishment representatives, and from students, etc. (Sciarini and Woods, 1997, p. 78) Moreover, previous research has shown that hospitality students attitudes towards hospitality jobs are quite controversial. Some studies have argued for the existence of positive attitudes among

Le Meridien Hotel, Mauritius, 24-27 August 2010

International Research Symposium in Service Management

ISSN 1694-0938

secondary or high school students towards employment or careers in the tourism industry (Ross, 1992, 1994). However, many more studies have noted that hospitality graduates hold unfavorable attitudes towards working and making their careers in that industry. For example, Kusluvan and Kusluvan (2000) find evidence of the results of unfavorable evaluations towards different dimensions of working in the tourism industry. They have suggested that finding out hospitality students perceptions and attitudes towards hospitality jobs may help predict the likelihood of students seeking employment in the same industry after graduation. Another study shows that the percentage of people who were likely to work in the hospitality industry was reduced by half over the 19781992 periods. The percentage of people who considered the hospitality industry attractive decreased from 43% to 29% over that period (Getz, 1994). Most hospitality graduates have been found to believe that a number of extrinsic factors, such as poor working conditions, high pressure, long working hours, and a lack of motivation, training programs, and career opportunities, may contribute to poor employment aspirations, high turnover rates, and the wastage of educational investment (e.g., Kang and Gould, 2002; Jenkins, 2001). This should be a cause for concern since attitudes are considered to be effective predictors of behavior (Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980). Essentially, negative attitudes toward hospitality jobs are expected to decrease the students desire to seek hospitality employment. Previous studies have found that hospitality students are much less committed to the hospitality industry when they have more experience within the profession (Purcell and Quinn, 1996; Getz, 1994).Research has also shown that internship experience negatively affects the hospitality students attitudes toward the industry and their intentions in terms of getting hospitality jobs (Waryszak, 1999). Zhang and Wu (2004) also identify that most students of vocational hospitality and tourism colleges in China know very little about hotels and tourism before entering colleges and many of them experience a reality shock when they find out more about hospitality and tourism operations. Similarly, Jenkins (2001) has noted that undergraduate hospitality students perceptions of the industry deteriorate as their degree course progresses. While many studies have focused on the impact of internship/work experience on students attitudes towards hospitality employment intentions, the present study seeks to find out the factors that influence students perception towards working in the tourism industry. Furthermore, there is relatively little evidence that research has been conducted in this area. Airey and Frontistis (1997, p. 157) comment that perhaps the most important reason for undertaking this type of study is that there are so many questions which still need to be answered about the attitudes of young people to tourism careers. At a time when tourism is held out as one of the worlds major industries and generator of employment it would be timely to know more about what potential recruits think about the industry, in order to provide a basis for attracting the best possible work force. This

Le Meridien Hotel, Mauritius, 24-27 August 2010

International Research Symposium in Service Management

ISSN 1694-0938

leaves us with the problem of trying to understand what factors students believe are important in influencing their choice of career, and then the extent to which they thought tourism and hospitality as a career offers these factors. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to understand what factors respondents found important when considering a career and how well they thought the tourism and hospitality industry offered these. Finally, the most recent survey, conducted by Aksu and Kksal (2005) at the Akdeniz University School of Tourism and Hotel Management in Antalya, investigated the main expectations of students from the tourism industry. The results indicated that generally they had low expectations. However, positive perceptions were found among respondents who had: chosen the school as one of their top three choices at the university entrance exam; chosen the school willingly; and carried out practical work experience outside of Turkey. Kusluvan and Kusluvan (2000) and Ross (1994) claim that the image of a particular industry will have a major effect on potential recruits perceptions of the industry, which will impact on the quality and quantity of future staff. The image of tourism and hospitality is one that has two sides. On one side the industry is seen as a glamorous one, while on the other it is deemed as being one of low skill, low status and low pay (Riley et al., 2002). There are reports that the sector has a particularly poor image in the eyes of hospitality students, which suggests that the industry may have greater difficulty attracting, recruiting and retaining quality staff (Jenkins, 2001). According to Brien (2004) discussions relating to the poor image started in 1990 when the UK industry magazine, Hospitality, reported that the industrys image was the main barrier to recruitment in the UK. In the late 1990s a BBC television series, Hotel, showed various hotels and hotel antics and highlighted the working conditions in the industry. This helped form an image that many thought was alarming, unconstructive and negative (Brien, 2004). It has been argued that this poor image is impeding the recruitment of quality staff as many potential employees are anxious about the working conditions in the industry caused by this negative portrayal (Aksu and Koksal, 2005; Brien, 2004; Kusluvan and Kusluvan, 2000). There are studies indicating that the proportion of workers in the tourism and hospitality industry who have tertiary qualifications is much lower than most other industry sectors (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2006). There are also reports of many tourism and hospitality management graduates leaving the industry or even failing to enter the industry upon graduation due to low job satisfaction, poor employment conditions and absence of motivating factors resulting in high staff turnover and wastage of trained and experienced personnel (Doherty et al., 2001; Jenkins, 2001; Pavesic and Brymer, 1990; Zacerelli, 1985). This raises the issue of finding out and explaining the perceptions of individuals who are likely to enter the tourism and hospitality work-force to explore whether the industry is meeting their

Le Meridien Hotel, Mauritius, 24-27 August 2010

International Research Symposium in Service Management

ISSN 1694-0938

expectations. There is relatively little evidence that research has been conducted in this area. Airey and Frontistis (1997, p. 157) comment that perhaps the most important reason for undertaking this type of study is that there are so many questions which still need to be answered about the attitudes of young people to tourism careers. At a time when tourism is held out as one of the worlds major industries and sources of employment it would be timely to know more about what potential recruits think about it, in order to provide a basis for attracting the best possible work force. This leaves us with the problem of trying to understand what factors students believe are important in influencing their choice of career. There seems to be a common understanding in the literature that studies about perceptions and intentions of the labour market towards tourism as a career are still scarce (Aksu & Kksal, 2005; Ross, 1992) indicating a need for such studies to be conducted. Most studies only examine the perceptions of one stakeholder or the relationships between two stakeholders whereas Aksu and Kksal (2005:436) emphasize that the four stakeholders as identified earlier in this chapter are crucial. To date, apart from the work by Lewis (2006) on stakeholders perceptions in the Caribbean and Ernawati and Pearce (2003) on stakeholders perceptions in Indonesia, research that examines all four of these stakeholders is still limited. With the aim to provide a more exhaustive perspective regarding the perceptions of tourism as a graduate career in Mauritius, this study will seek to identify the factors that are likely to influence students commitment towards working in the tourism industry. Besides that, much of the literature on perceptions of tourism education and tourism as a career has focused on developed countries and there is a lack of similar research being conducted in developing countries (Ernawati & Pearce, 2003) and the Asia Pacific region (Ross, 1992). Besides a study by Liu (2002) in comparing perceptions of tourism programs and careers between university students in Malaysia and China, there has been an overall lack of research dedicated to these topics. Therefore this study attempts to examine similar issues in the setting of a developing country, Mauritius, which is also the fastest growing region in global tourism. Although a similar study in this region has been conducted by Ernawati and Pearce (2003) who investigated the perceptions of the stakeholders regarding tourism education in Indonesia, the central issue was the curriculum and no emphasis was given towards tourism as a graduate career.

Determinants of Students Commitment


Nature of Work The nature of tourism jobs such as low pay and unsociable working hours, may exert a negative influence on the job satisfaction and motivation, and force them to leave the industry (Parsons & Care, 1991). Other features such as seasonality, instability, low skilled, repetition, low income, poor physical working environment can contribute towards the poor image of the tourism industry. (Marshall, 1999). In view of the above, it can be reasonably assumed that the nature of work can be a

Le Meridien Hotel, Mauritius, 24-27 August 2010

International Research Symposium in Service Management

ISSN 1694-0938

good determinant of students commitment towards working in the tourism industry. Hence the following hypothesis is proposed H1 There is a direct positive relationship between nature of work and students commitment towards working in the tourism industry

Career Prospects Travel and Tourism one of the world's largest foreign exchange earner among industries, provides employment directly to millions of people worldwide and indirectly through many associated service industries. A very wide industry, it includes Government tourism departments, Immigration and customs services, travel agencies, airlines, tour operators, hotels etc and many associated service industries such as airline catering or laundry services, Guides, Interpreters, Tourism promotion and sales etc. Travel and Tourism enterprises include major internationals with a workforce of thousands, to the small private travel agent with a handful of employees. Careers are not for life but, rather, work is seen as part of an episodic sequence of experiences which also include study and travel. People, therefore, are likely to be interested in entry to new working environments, such as tourism, at various ages from school leaver onwards and will not necessarily be influenced by traditional careers communications media. Sennett (1998) argues that present-day work arrangements promote a shortterm, opportunistic outlook among employees, one that undermines loyalty, trust and long-term commitment. Increased public awareness contributes to increase in tourism activities. It can easily be assumed that career prospect can be proposed as a determinant of students commitment towards working in the tourism industry. H2 There is a direct positive relationship between career prospect and commitment of students towards working in the tourism industry

Promotion Opportunities Possible advancement opportunities can be an important characteristic of a job and can lead to increased earnings and other desirable job attributes. Some jobs were perceived as good jobs because they provide a decent path for advancement. When jobs are seen to offer limited opportunities for progression, graduates may consider changing jobs. Staffs in touristic establishments like to have a clear and transparent promotion systems and possibilities for the future; and promotion decision making must be equitable. Equitable promotions will automatically increase job satisfaction and the productivity of personnel. Promotion opportunities can be considered as a determinant of commitment. Hence the following hypothesis is proposed: H3 There is a direct positive relationship between promotion opportunities and commitment of students towards working in the tourism industry

Pay and Benefits Pay structure is an issue that requires serious attention from hotel managers. With an effective pay structure and fringe benefits, a hotel should be able to attract potential candidates from the labor market, retain, motivate and satisfy employees, develop a culture of learning and development and

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benefit the end users of the hotel, that is, the hotel guest. As identified in Luis (2002) study, hotel employees expect high salaries, training and development opportunities. To procure a higher income, one must perform better and acquire more skills if performances are determinants for higher salary. If hotels are to survive, in to-days enormously competitive business environment, they need to attract and retain quality employees and cultivate a culture of learning ( Terry & Lam, 2000) Factors influencing job satisfaction are: salary, type of job, physical conditions, relations with colleagues, security, promotion opportunities, empowerment, status, financial and morale awards, training, being involved in decision making, communication, social activities, policy and management of organizations. As a general tendency, people leave establishments because of dissatisfaction with salary, mobbing from peers or superiors, disagreement with human resources management policies (Tanke, 1990). Following from the above it can safely be assumed that pay/benefits is a factor that can influence students commitment towards working in the tourism industry. Hence the hypothesis proposed below: H4 There is a direct positive relationship between Pay/Benefits and commitment of students towards working in the tourism industry

Social Status In sociology or anthropology, social status is the honor or prestige attached to one's position in society (one's social position). A society's stratification system, which is the system of distributing rewards to the members of society, determines social status. Social status, the position or rank of a person or group within the stratification system, can be determined two ways. One can earn their social status by their own achievements, which is known as achieved status. Alternatively, one can be placed in the stratification system by their inherited position, which is called ascribed status. Status is also important for increasing job satisfaction; and it has an important place among personnel. Generally high status makes giving instructions and finishing duties easier. However, when giving instructions to carryout duties, it is recognised that explaining the reasons for the task is a positive leadership trait; and beneficial for personnel harmony (Selek, 1997). To exacerbate the human resource challenge, employment in the sector is often stigmatized by families deeming it too liberal and not fit for women, or as an industry inferior to other more prestigious professions for males. This has resulted in the sectors inability to attract sufficient talented employees. Accordingly, it is important to work on enhancing the image of the sector. As a result of the above, it can be assumed that social status can be a good determinant of students commitment towards working in the tourism industry. Hence the hypothesis that follows:

H5 -

There is a direct positive relationship between social status and commitment of students towards working in the tourism industry

The Proposed Model with Hypothesized Relationships

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Nature of work

Career prospects

H1

H2
Promotion opportunities

H3

Commitment to the industry

Pay and benefits

H4

H5 Social status

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY


Following the quantitative research approach, a questionnaire survey was determined as the most appropriate instrument for primary data collection. As one of the most popular methods of gathering quantitative data, the questionnaire survey allows for a large number of respondents and is less biased and less intrusive than other methods (Brunt 1997). It is also cheaper and quicker (Veal 1998, p. 146). The questionnaire survey also suited the present study since the method could assure the anonymity of the participants easily (Brunt 1997). The questionnaire sought to investigate students perceptions of tourism as a career after their graduation when they are about to embark on their career path. It also intends to identify the factors influencing their decision to choose a tourism programme and their future intention to work in tourism after graduation. The questionnaire was designed following a review of existing work in the field (Airey & Frontistis, 1997; Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Aksu & Kksal, 2005; Amoah & Baum, 1997; Arizona, Choy, 1995; Cothran & Combrink, 1999; Barron & Maxwell, 1993; Baum, 1993; Birdir, 2002; Carlzon, 1987; Casado, 1992; Christensen Hugues, 2002; Ernawati & Pearce, 2003; Gkdeniz et al, 2002; Jenkins, 2001; Kang & Gould, 2001; Kozak & Kizihrmak, 2001; Kusluvan and Kusluvan, 2000; OMahony & Silitoe, 2001; Pavesic & Brymer, 1990; Purcell & Quinn, 1995; Ross, 1994; Getz, 1994; Sciarini & Woods, 1997; Swarbrooke, 1995; Yksel et al., 2003; Zhang & Wu, 2004).

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In developing the questionnaire, the researcher adhered to the research questions, primarily the perceptions of tourism as a career from the students perspective. Certain variables suggested by the literature that influence students perceptions of the tourism industry were used to guide the development of the questionnaire questions. In addition to this, some of the questions were borrowed from the literature. Among those questions borrowed from the literature are statements which are derived from the attitude dimensions that influence commitment to the tourism industry developed by Kusluvan and Kusluvan (2000) in their study of tourism students in Turkey. These dimensions include the nature of work, social status, industry-person congeniality, physical working conditions, career prospects, promotion opportunities, co-workers and managers, pay/benefits and commitment to the tourism industry.. Borrowing or adapting questions developed by other researchers, according to Czaja and Blair (2005), is allowed and could assist this research in many ways. This is because the questions have proven to work well in the research it was developed for, hence saving the effort for this research to test its usability. In addition to that, the findings between studies that use the same questions can be compared and thus add to the breadth of the research in the area being studied. However, as this research is also unique in its interests in the context of Mauritius where some new questions were also developed. The first type is statements using 5-point Likert scales from the lowest point of 1= Strongly agree to 5= Strongly disagree. In the study by Kusluvan & Kusluvan (2000) and Aksu and Kksal (2005), the scale of 1= Strongly agree to 4= Strongly disagree was used. For this research, a mid-point of 3= Neutral is used to give the students the opportunity to take the position of neither agree nor disagree to the statement. This is because a Likert scale gives more freedom to the respondents to select the desired level of agreement or disagreement towards a given statement (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2000). There are ten sets of questions using this format, namely, the skills and knowledge expected from studying tourism, the skills or qualities the students perceived as important to the employer, and the perceptions of tourism as a career. The questionnaire used closeended questions. This design makes it easy for the respondents to answer because it is fast and does not require extensive answers from the respondents. At the same time close-ended questions ensured that responses were comparable (Bryman & Bell, 2003). The use of attitude scale questions is also appropriate to measure perceptions which are the key thrust of this study (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). The second type is questions which require Yes or No answers. This type of question is mostly used to determine intention to work in the industry, whether the respondent has Commitment to the Tourism Industry, work experience in tourism, family and friends working in tourism and choose course willingly.

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The third type is questions with some answers to choose from, where the respondents were directed to choose only one answer that best describes their position. An extra answer choice of other was also provided with a blank space for the students to fill with answers that differed from the choices given (if necessary). This addresses the issue of limited choice of answers in the questionnaire by providing flexibility to the respondents to provide answers other than the ones provided by the researcher (Bryman & Bell, 2003) which will also suggest new ideas to the researcher. This format is mostly used to investigate factors for choosing to study tourism, sectors in tourism that the students have experience working in/intend to work in and the way in which they obtained information about tourism careers, gender, ethnic groups and place of place of residence. 3.12 Survey Method

The survey was conducted during the months of August and September 2009. The questionnaires in batches of twenty were given to the Head trainers responsible of the various courses. It was suggested that distributing a self-administered questionnaire to students in a classroom is a cost-effective and efficient technique especially when the lecturers allow the researcher to use their lecture time (Czaja & Blair, 2005). The support given by the trainers from the Ecole Htelire Sir Gatan Duval was instrumental in the achieving a 100% response rate. A questionnaire survey was chosen as the technique for collecting data from the students because there are a large number of students studying tourism and hospitality at the Ecole Htelire Sir Gatan Duval.. Hence the fastest and cheapest way to gather information about their perceptions is through a questionnaire (Bryman & Bell, 2003). That is why most of the earlier studies on students perceptions of tourism as a career also employed the same technique (Jenkins, 2001; Purcell & Quinn, 1996). A self-completion questionnaire was selected for this study because the researcher was able to obtain access to the students easily. Self-completion questionnaires are easy for the respondents to answer and also assist the researcher in collecting data from a large sample in a fast manner (Bryman & Bell, 2003). 3.13 Structure of the Questionnaire

First Part of the Questionnaire The first part of the questionnaire (Annex 1) is a multi item attitude scale questions classified into ten factors, developed and tested by Kusluvan and Kusluvan (2000) and Kyriacou, C., Coulthard, M.,(2000), were used to facilitate the data collection. The factors were nature of work, social status, industry-person congeniality, physical working conditions, career prospects, promotion opportunities, co-workers, mangers, pay/benefits and commitment to the tourism industry.

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The items in the attitude scale were Likert-type with five categories (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neither Agree nor Disagree, Agree and Strongly Agree).

Second Part of the Questionnaire This section is used to gain information about the demographic background of the respondents. However, this research only looks at the respondents gender , ethnicity, place of residence, courses followed, practical work experience. These questions are not relevant to this piece of work but can be used for future research. The questionnaire consisted of 13 structured questions that are mainly dichotomous and multichotomous questions. The types of rating scale used were nominal and likert. 3.15 Pilot Testing

As suggested by Oppenheim (1992) and Zikmund (1994) who argued the significance of pre-test in a questionnaire survey, a pilot survey was conducted on the 14th and 18th of September 2009. To ensure the usability of the questionnaire, it is important that it is tested with the group of people who are not in the sample but share its characteristics (Bryman & Bell, 2003). This exercise was aimed at detecting problems in the questionnaire design. Thirty questionnaires were distributed to two classes studying the National Trade Certificate (NTC) level 2 in Housekeeping and NTC level 3 in Front office respectively. The pre-tested questionnaire contained 107 questions classified under ten categories namely Nature of Work, Social Status, Industry-Person Congeniality, Physical working conditions, Career prospects, Promotion Opportunities, Co-workers, Managers, Pay and Benefits and Commitment to the Tourism Industry .The questionnaire contains 12 closed questions about demographic situation under General information. This section was intended to seek demographic information of respondents namely; gender, religion, place of residence, level of courses followed, willingness to follow courses, course followed, relatives working in the industry and practical work experience. All the thirty questionnaires were returned representing a 100% response rate. The purpose of this pilot test was to test the relevance and applicability of the instrument. The pilot samples gave a very positive feedback, such as an easy-to-follow layout, clear instruction, understandable statements, ease of answering and comfortable time (averaging 15 minutes) to complete the questionnaire. It was also useful in assessing its readability and the clarity of the instructions This helped revise and refine the questionnaire for the survey. At the same time, the respondents also proposed several constructive suggestions for further improvement, which resulted in some changes to be brought to the final version of the questionnaire. 15

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3.16

Proposed Model

The Figure below shows the proposed model of the present study. The model (Figure 2) postulates that the dependent variable is given as Commitment to the Tourism Industry (COM). Six variables, namely: promotions opportunities, pay/benefits, social status, physical working conditions, career prospects and nature of work are proposed to be determining the level of commitment towards the industry.

Figure 2

Proposed Model with Hypothesised Relationship

Nature of Work (NOW)

Physical Working Conditions (PHY) W k (NOW) H6

Social Status (SS) H1 H2

Commitment to the Tourism Industry (COM)

H5

H3 16

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Promotions Opportunities (PO)

H4

Career Prospects (CP)

Pay / Benefits (PAB)

3.17

Research Hypotheses

Based on the literature review and the key research questions of the present study, the following research hypotheses have been established and will be tested in this study.

H1

There is a positive direct relationship between nature of work and commitment of students to the tourism industry

H2 -

There is a positive direct relationship between Social Status and commitment of students to the tourism industry

H3 -

There is a positive direct relationship between Career Prospect and commitment of students to the tourism industry

H4 -

There is a positive direct relationship between Pay/Benefits and commitment of students to the tourism industry

H5 -

There is a positive direct relationship between promotion opportunities and commitment of students to the tourism industry

H6 -

There is a positive direct relationship between physical working conditions and commitment of students to the tourism industry

3.18

Limitations of the Survey

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There was no major problem in collecting the data as the students were easily accessible and very keen to participate in this study. The non-probability sampling method used in the questionnaire survey was driven by the limitation of time for this research. It was impossible to include all tertiary institutions in Mauritius. Therefore the research looked at only one institution. Therefore, this research excluded all the other training institutions and colleges that offer tourism courses at the certificate level, and diploma levels as well as the private institutions that also play an important role in producing tourism graduates in Mauritius. The selection of Ecole Htelire Sir Gatan Duval makes the data of this thesis limited to only one institution. Future studies could explore the possibility of including more institutions, private and public that are offering tourism or tourism related courses. Apart from that, the selection of only tourism management students ignored the students in other tourism related programs that are also likely to enter the tourism labour market after graduation. Interest towards tourism which influenced the decision to study tourism among students could also influence their commitment towards of tourism as a career. Future studies could examine students across different academic programs who wish to pursue tourism as a career. Research could also expand the scope of the study to colleges and private tertiary institutions in Mauritius.

FINDINGS
A factor analysis was conducted through SPSS (Version 16.0) .All the statements within the ten constructs (nature of work, social status, industry-person congeniality, physical working conditions, career prospects, promotion opportunities, co-workers, managers, pay/benefits and commitment to the tourism industry) for the 30 pilot tested questionnaires were factor analysed. To test the appropriateness of factor analysis, Bartletts test of sphericity was performed and the KaiserMeyerOlkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy was used. These results verified the suitability of the correlation matrix structure and confirmed the need to carry out an Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) (Hair et al., 1998). Principal axis factoring and varimax rotation methods were used to extract factors for subsequent analyses. A Cronbachs alpha test was conducted on the retained items. Results indicated that all constructs had a Cronbach alpha value of 0.70 or above. The initial questionnaire (Appendix 1) comprising of 10 constructs with a total of 106 statements was reduced, after being factor analysed, to 52 statements. After the reduction work, the remaining statements within each construct constituted the final questionnaire. (Appendix 2) 4.12 Nature of Work (NOW)

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The majority of tourism students admit learning new things everyday (95 per cent). Similarly tourism jobs were seen as providing an opportunity to meet famous people while working in the tourism industry (80 per cent). On the other hand half of the respondents indicated that jobs in tourism industry negatively affects family life due to the nature of work (50 percent) and the working hours are not suitable for a regular life while working in the tourism industry (60 per cent) These are certainly both negative and positive evaluations of tourism jobs .(Table 5) Table 5 Descriptive Statistics: Nature of Work
How much do you agree or disagree with each statement? Strongly Disagree + Disagree percent (%) a Dimensions (facets) and items Nature of work 1. Family life is negatively affected for people working 1.05 in the tourism industry due to the nature of work (R) 2. I like to meet famous people while working in the tourism industry 3. There is always something new to learn each day in tourism jobs 4. Working hours are not suitable for a regular life in the tourism industry (R) . Agree +Strongly Agree percent (%) a Mean Std Dev

23 9 1 21 80 95 60

50 4.00 4.52 3.54

3.32 1.00 0.66 1.16

Note: N=298. a Adjusted (corrected) per cent excluding missing observations. B Scale: 5=Strongly Agree; 4=Agree; 3= Neither Agree nor Disagree, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree. (R): These items are reverse coded: 1=Strongly Agree; 2=Agree; 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Disagree; 5=Strongly Disagree.

4.13

Social Status (SS)

Over three-quarter of the respondents said that their families were proud of their profession (82 per cent) and they could talk to their friends and relatives with pride about their vocation in tourism (84 per cent), and (42 per cent) of the respondent disagree with the statement that parents would want their daughters to marry someone working in the Tourism Industry. Whereas nearly three quarter of the students perceived that working in tourism was a respected vocation (73 per cent), however almost two third of the students indicated that those working in the tourism industry are not valued in society (66 % ). There is an overall positive perception from the students (Table 6)

Table 6 Descriptive Statistics: Social Status


How much do you agree or disagree with each statement? Dimensions (facets) and items Social status 1. My family is proud of my profession in tourism 2. Working in tourism is a respected vocation in the Mauritian Society 3. I think that those working in the tourism industry are not valued in the society(R) 4. Parents would not want their daughters to marry someone working in the tourism industry (R) Strongly Disagree + Disagree percent (%) a Agree Mean +Strongly Agree percent (%)a Std Dev

2 4 66 42

83 73 21 30

4.11 3.91 2.37 2.78

.73 .80 1.32 1.28

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5. I talk to my relatives and friends with pride about my 4 84 4.11 .83 vocation in the tourism industry Note: N=298. a Adjusted (corrected) per cent excluding missing observations. b Scale: 5=Strongly Agree; 4=Agree; 3= Neither Agree nor Disagree, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree. (R): These items are reverse coded: 1=Strongly Agree; 2=Agree; 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Disagree; 5=Strongly Disagree.

4.14

Physical Working Conditions (PHY)

Most of the respondents did not have an opinion on the conditions of the dormitories ( 45 per cent). Similarly for the bathrooms (38 per cent). On the other hand (58 per cent) of the respondents considered the working environment not clean in the tourism industry. On a more positive note, more than half of students described actual working conditions in the Tourism Industry as being good (63 per cent). The respondent do not seem to agree nor disagree on the level of accident risk in the tourism industry.(Table 7)

Table 7 Descriptive Statistics: Physical Working Conditions


How much do you agree or disagree with each statement? Dimensions (facets) and items Physical working conditions 1. Physical working conditions are generally good in the .99 tourism industry 2. Working environment are not very clean in tourism (R) 3. Employee dormitories are in satisfactory conditions in .93 most tourism firms 4. There is a high risk of work accidents in the tourism Industry(R) 5. Employee bathrooms are not in good conditions in most tourism firms (R) Strongly Disagree + Disagree percent (%)a Agree Mean +Strongly Agree percent (%)a Std Dev

15 58 21 36 29 34 38 19

63 2.40 41 3.00 3.17

3.62 1.14 3.17 1.08 1.19

Note: N=298. a Adjusted (corrected) per cent excluding missing observations. B Scale: 5=Strongly Agree; 4=Agree; 3= Neither Agree nor Disagree, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree. (R): These items are reverse coded: 1=Strongly Agree; 2=Agree; 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Disagree; 5=Strongly Disagree.

4.15

Career Prospects (CP)

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Nearly half of the respondents do not have an opinion as regards whether tourism jobs are more respected than the other jobs (48 per cent). The majority of respondents considered that studying hospitality courses at the school is a correct investment in their career development (94 per cent) Similarly the students surveyed agreed that meeting new people in the tourism industry is a pleasant experience (95 per cent). However over forty per cent (44 per cent) of the respond believed that it is not necessary to have a vocational qualification to work in the tourism industry. Nearly half of the respondents do not think that there is sex discrimination in the place of work. While over half of the students considered that the working hours are not suitable for a regular life in the tourism industry (57 per cent), yet (45 per cent) believed that jobs in the industry are not exhausting. However, in general the respondents agreed that the advantages of working in the industry outweigh the disadvantages (39 per cent) while (45 per cent) neither agree nor disagree with this statement. (Table 8) Table 8 Descriptive Statistics: Career Prospects
How much do you agree or disagree with each statement? Dimensions (facets) and items Career Prospects 1. Tourism related jobs are most respected than other jobs 2. To study tourism or hospitality courses at the school is a correct investment in my career development 3. Meeting new people by working in the Tourism Industry is a pleasant experience 4. It is not necessary to have a vocational qualification to 1.14 work in the Tourism Industry 5. There is no sex discrimination in the Tourism Industry 1.25 6. In general, the advantages of working in the Tourism industry outweigh the disadvantages 7. To me, jobs in tourism are exhausting 8. Working hours are not suitable for a regular life in the Tourism Industry Strongly Disagree + Disagree percent (%)a Agree Mean +Strongly Agree percent (%)a Std Dev

22 1 1 44 40 12 22 18

36 94 95 31 47 39 44 57

3.17 4.38 4.44

.91 .65 .60 2.86 3.17

3.36 3.30 3.56

.83 .99 1.07

Note: N=298. a Adjusted (corrected) per cent excluding missing observations. b Scale: 5=Strongly Agree; 4=Agree; 3= Neither Agree nor Disagree, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree. (R): These items are reverse coded: 1=Strongly Agree; 2=Agree; 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Disagree; 5=Strongly Disagree.

4.16

Promotion opportunities (PO)

Over two-thirds of respondents believe that promotion opportunities are satisfactory in the tourism industry (68 per cent) and that it is based on merit (68 per cent). Respondents do not have an opinion on whether promotions are handled fairly or not (40 per cent), over half of the respondent opined that the opportunity of getting promoted to managerial positions is not limited (53 per cent), and nearly two third of the students surveyed is of the opinion that the number of years worked in the industry is taken into consideration in promotion decision (66 per cent). Nearly half of respondents (45 per cent) neither agree nor disagree that promotion are systematic in the tourism industry.(Table 9) Table 9

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Descriptive Statistics: Promotion Opportunities
How much do you agree or disagree with each statement? Std Dev Dimensions (facets) and items Promotion opportunities 1. Promotion is based on merit in the tourism industry 2. Promotion opportunities are satisfactory in the tourism Industry 3. Promotions are not handled fairly in the tourism industry (R) 4. The opportunity of getting promoted to managerial positions is limited in the tourism industry (R) 5. Number of years worked in the industry is taken into 1.00 consideration in promotion decisions. 6. Promotions are unsystematic in the tourism industry (R) 16 10 25 18 13 22 33 68 68 36 53 Strongly Disagree Agree + Disagree percent (%)a

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Mean

+Strongly Agree percent (%)a

3.60 3.70 3.21 3.49 66 3.16

1.02 0.87 1.44 1.00 3.68 .91

Note: N=298. a Adjusted (corrected) per cent excluding missing observations. b Scale: 5=Strongly Agree; 4=Agree; 3= Neither Agree nor Disagree, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree. (R): These items are reverse coded: 1=Strongly Agree; 2=Agree; 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Disagree; 5=Strongly Disagree.

4.17

Co-workers

Respondents seemed to be divided into two about the attitudes towards co-workers, nearly half evaluating favourably and the other half unfavourably. However, the majority of respondents agreed that there is cooperation amongst employees in the tourism industry (70 per cent). While most of the respondents agreed that it is easy to make friends with people working in the industry (89 per cent), yet it is not easy to get along with them. (50 per cent). On the hand, the students surveyed are of the opinion that most of the employees in the industry are rude people (57 per cent). Generally people with a formal qualification in tourism work in the Tourism Industry (50 per cent).

Table 10 Descriptive Statistics: Co-Workers


How much do you agree or disagree with each statement? Dimensions (facets) and items Co-workers 1. There is cooperation amongst employees in the tourism Industry 2. I can make friends easily with people working in the tourism industry 3. It is not easy to get along with people working in the 1.01 tourism industry (R) 4. Generally, people with a formal qualification in tourism work in the Tourism Industry 5. Most people working in the Tourism Industry are rude 1.10 people (R) Note: N=298. a Adjusted (corrected) per cent excluding missing observations. Strongly Disagree + Disagree percent (%) a Agree Mean +Strongly Agree percent (%)a Std Dev

11 4 44 21 57

70 88

3.70 4.10 27

.93 .75 2.80 1.00 2.44

50

3.32 17

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b Scale: 5=Strongly Agree; 4=Agree; 3= Neither Agree nor Disagree, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree. (R): These items are reverse coded: 1=Strongly Agree; 2=Agree; 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Disagree; 5=Strongly Disagree.

4.18

Managers

In general, respondents expressed positive attitudes towards managers in the tourism industry. Over half of students perceive that managers do value employees (54 per cent), and their suggestions (45 per cent) The students are of the opinion that the employees are consulted in any decisions pertaining to their jobs (46 per cent). Nearly three quarter of the respondents is of the opinion that mangers do provide vocational training when necessary (75 per cent).

Table 11 Descriptive Statistics: Managers


How much do you agree or disagree with each statement? Dimensions (facets) and items Managers 1. Managers give due value to employees in the tourism .82 Industry 2. Managers value employees' suggestions 3. Managers are jealous of university graduates with a degree in tourism (R) 4. Managers make sure that employees participate in decisions affecting their job 5. Managers do provide vocational training when necessary in the tourism industry Strongly Disagree + Disagree percent (%)a Agree Mean +Strongly Agree percent (%)a Std Dev

10 18 33 23 5 45 18 46 75

54 3.30 2.97 3.26 3.86

3.45 .95 1.11 1.03 .83

Note: N=298. a Adjusted (corrected) per cent excluding missing observations. b Scale: 5=Strongly Agree; 4=Agree; 3= Neither Agree nor Disagree, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree. (R): These items are reverse coded: 1=Strongly Agree; 2=Agree; 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Disagree; 5=Strongly Disagree.

4.19

Pay/benefits (PAB)

There was a very negative attitude towards pay and benefits dimension of working in the tourism industry. About 67 per cent of the respondents agreed that the pay was low for most tourism jobs. Again a large majority of students (66 per cent) indicated that the pay for most tourism jobs was not enough to maintain a satisfactory (normal) life. Also, the level of fringe benefits like bonuses, leisure time, meals, holidays, etc. were considered insufficient by two third of responding students (66 per cent). Nearly three quarter of the respondents (76 per cent) opined that the pay is low in the tourism industry considering the long hours and the work load. Table 12 Descriptive Statistics: Pay/Benefits
How much do you agree or disagree with each statement? Std Dev Strongly Disagree Agree + Disagree percent (%) a +Strongly Agree percent (%)a Mean

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Dimensions (facets) and items Pay/benefits 1. I think the pay is low for most jobs in the tourism industry (R) 13 2. I think that the pay for most tourism jobs not sufficient 16 to lead a satisfactory life(R) 3. Considering the long hours and work load I find the pay 7 low in the tourism industry (R) 4. The level of fringe benefits (bonuses, leisure, holidays, 14 meals,etc.) is insufficient in the tourism industry (R) 67 66 76 66

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3.84 3.73 4.03 3.78

1.10 1.05 .94 1.03

Note: N=298. a Adjusted (corrected) per cent excluding missing observations. b Scale: 5=Strongly Agree; 4=Agree; 3= Neither Agree nor Disagree, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree. (R): These items are reverse coded: 1=Strongly Agree; 2=Agree; 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Disagree; 5=Strongly Disagree.

4.20

Industry-person congeniality

Respondents seem to hold contradicting views about the industry-person congeniality dimension. For example most of the students surveyed felt that their character fitted with tourism jobs (80 per cent). Similarly, over ninety per cent of the students (91 %) get pleasure from working in the tourism industry and from seeing happy customers when they served them (95 per cent). Less than three quarter of the students surveyed believes that their moral values would degrade if they worked in the tourism industry which will contradict with their religious values. Table 13 Descriptive Statistics: Industry-Person Congeniality
How much do you agree or disagree with each statement? Dimensions (facets) and items Industry-person congeniality 1. My character fits to working in the tourism industry 2. Working in tourism is in contradiction with my religious values (R) 3. I derive pleasure while working in the tourism industry 4. I like to see satisfied customers when I serve them 6 62 6 1 80 22 91 95 4 2.3 4 5 .82 1.27 .85 .62 Strongly Disagree Agree Mean Std Dev + Disagree +Strongly Agree percent (%)a percent (%)a

Note: N=298. a Adjusted (corrected) per cent excluding missing observations. b Scale: 5=Strongly Agree; 4=Agree; 3= Neither Agree nor Disagree, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree. (R): These items are reverse coded: 1=Strongly Agree; 2=Agree; 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Disagree; 5=Strongly Disagree.

4.21

Commitment to the industry

It can be concluded that respondents have a strong commitment towards working in the tourism industry as over three quarter of students (87 per cent) indicated that they are very happy to have chosen tourism as a vocation. Most of students surveyed would like to work in the tourism industry after their graduation (89 per cent) and a very good proportion of the respondents(67 per cent) would recommend a job in the tourism industry to their friends and relatives because they believe it is very nice to be part of this industry . Over fifty per cent do not plan to work in another industry other than the tourism industry.(61 per cent). There is strong commitment of respondents to the tourism industry

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as is implied by the fact that over three quarter of the students see their vocational future in the tourism industry (78 per cent). Table 14 Descriptive Statistics: Commitment to the Tourism Industry
How much do you agree or disagree with each statement? Dimensions (facets) and items Commitment to the tourism industry 1. I am very happy to have chosen tourism as a vocation .70 path 2. I would like to work in the tourism industry after graduation 3. I recommend a job in the tourism industry to my friends and relatives because it is very nice to be part of this industry 4. I do not plan to work in another industry other than the tourism industry 5. I see my vocational (professional) future in the tourism industry 13 1 6 6 3 89 67 61 77 87 4.40 3.77 3.68 4.05 4.18 2.40 .86 .82 .80 Strongly Disagree Agree Mean + Disagree +Strongly Agree percent (%)a percent (%)a Std Dev

Note: N=298. a Adjusted (corrected) per cent excluding missing observations. b Scale: 5=Strongly Agree; 4=Agree; 3= Neither Agree nor Disagree, 2=Disagree 1=Strongly Disagree. (R): These items are reverse coded: 1=Strongly Agree; 2=Agree; 3, Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Disagree; 5=Strongly Disagree.

4.22

Proposed Model

A causal model was developed in order to find the attitude dimensions that were most important in determining the students commitment to the tourism industry. In the proposed model, the dependent (criterion) variable was the dimension of commitment to the tourism industry and the independent (predictor) variables were the remaining six dimensions, namely Nature of work, social status, physical working conditions, career prospects, promotion opportunities and pay and benefits. It was assumed that the six factors or dimensions determine commitment to the tourism industry which in turn, will influence attitudes towards working in the industry.

Figure 3

Proposed Model with Hypothesised Relationship

Nature of Work (NOW)

Physical Working Conditions (PHY) H6

Social Status (SS) H1 H2 25

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Commitment to the Tourism Industry (COM)

H5 H4 Promotions Opportunities (PO)

H3 Career Prospects (CP)

Pay / Benefits (PAB)

Based on the literature review and the key research questions of the present study, the following research hypotheses have been established and tested, the findings of which are presented and analysed.

To test the proposed hypotheses, multiple regression analysis was used. Result from the multiple regression analysis is shown in Table below (Table 15) 4.23 Multiple Regression Analysis

Multiple regressions (the term was first used by Pearson, 1908) is to learn more about the relationship between several independent or predictor variables and a dependent or criterion variable. In statistics, regression analysis includes any techniques for modelling and analyzing several variables, when the focus is on the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. More specifically, regression analysis helps us understand how the typical value of the dependent variable changes when any one of the independent variables is varied, while the other independent variables are held fixed. Most commonly, regression analysis estimates the conditional expectation of the dependent variable given the independent variables that is, the average value of the dependent variable when the independent variables are held fixed. Regression analysis is also used to understand which among the independent variables are related to the dependent variable, and to explore the forms of these

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relationships. In restricted circumstances, regression analysis can be used to infer causal relationships between the independent and dependent variables.

Table 15 Multiple Regression Analysis of Tourism Students Commitment to the Tourism Industry with attitude Dimensions as Predictor (Independent) Variables Dependent Variable : Students commitment to the Tourism Industry Independent Variables: NOW, SS, PHY, CP, PO, PAB Summary Statistics ( Goodness of Fit); p=.000 Multiple R =284:

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R = .081 Standard Error = .70339

Analysis of Variance df Sum of Squares Mean Square Regression Residual Total Beta Coefficient Independent Variables in Equation Coefficient Std Coeff eta .156 .192 -.157 .069 .084 .026 t -Value Sig. 6 291 297 12.622 143.974 156.596 2.104 .495 4.252 p=.000 F-Test

Social Status Career Prospects Nature of Work Promotion Opportunities Physical Working Conditions Pay & Benefits

.244 .350 -.209 .107 -.120 -.022

2.637 3.150 -2.608 1.157 -1.400 -.436

.009 .002 .010 .248 .163 .663

H1

There is a positive direct relationship between nature of work and commitment of students to the tourism industry

The above results indicate a perfect model ( < 0.001) emerged, indicating that the data fits the model well. = .000 The significance level is < 0.05. In fact the significance level is 0.10. The t-value ( t = - 2.609) represents the strength of the relationship. The value which indicates the direction of the relationship between the Independent variable ( NOW) and the Dependent variable (COM) shows a negative figure ( = - 157). Even though the significance level is < 0.05, yet the hypothesis is rejected because of the negative relationship.

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H1 ( = - 157, t = - 2.609, < 0.05 )

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H2 -

There is a direct relationship between Social Status and commitment of students to the tourism industry

This hypothesis was supported at p< 0.05. It can therefore be deduced that there is a direct relationship between social status and commitment meaning that the better the social status, the stronger is the commitment towards the industry. Therefore social status is a determinant of commitment. The t-value indicates a strong relationship between social status and commitment. Therefore the hypothesis is accepted.

H2 ( = 156, t = 2.637, < 0.05)

H3 -

There is a direct relationship between Physical Working Conditions and commitment

The significance level is > 0.05. In fact the significance level is .163. It can therefore be said that there is no direct relationship between physical working conditions and commitment meaning that physical working conditions is not a determinant of commitment. The t- value shows a strong negative relationship between physical working conditions and commitment. This can be explained by the fact that the physical working condition is the tourism industry is satisfactory. Therefore the hypothesis is rejected. H3 ( = - .084, t = - 1.400, > 0.05 )

H4 -

There is a direct relationship between Career Prospect and commitment of students towards the tourism industry

The significance level is < 0.05. In fact the significance level is 0.002. It can therefore be said that there is a direct relationship between career prospect and commitment meaning that career prospect is a determinant of commitment. The t- value is a strong one indicating a strong positive relationship between career prospect and commitment. Therefore the hypothesis is accepted.

H4 ( = 192, t = 3.150, < 0.05 )

H5 -

There is a direct relationship between promotion opportunities and commitment of students to the tourism industry

The significance level is > 0.05. In fact the significance level is 0.248. It can therefore be argued that there is no direct relationship between promotion opportunities and commitment meaning that promotion opportunities are not a determinant of commitment. In fact the t- value shows a positive

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figure (t = 1.157) relationship meaning to say that there is a strong relationship between promotion opportunities and commitment. Since the significance level is greater than 0.05, the hypothesis is rejected

H5 ( = .069 t = 1.157, > 0.05 )

H6 -

There is a direct relationship between Pay/Benefits and commitment of students to the tourism industry

The tourism industrys traditional image of low pay is not supported by the findings of this survey, as 70.6% of the respondents agreed with the statement one can make good money by working in tourism. This can be explained by the diversity of tourism related jobs. There is considerable variation in tourism occupations, and consequently there are many instances of well-paid occupations in the industry (Riley et al., 2002). The significance level is > 0.05. In fact the significance level is 0.663 It can therefore be deduced that there is no direct relationship between pay/benefits and commitment meaning that it is not a determinant of commitment. The t- value shows a negative positive figure (t = .436) .Since the significance level is greater than 0.05, the hypothesis is rejected

H6 ( = .026, t = -.436, > 0.05 )

CONCLUSION AND FINAL REMARKS


The current study investigated the factors likely to influence students' commitment towards working in the tourism industry with a new and relatively reliable and valid attitude scale. Based on the literature review and the key research questions of the present study, the following six research hypotheses were developed. The results are summarized in the table below.

5.11

Results of Hypothesis testing

Table 16 Hypotheses H1 There is a positive direct relationship between nature of work and Coef -.157 Sig .010 Result Rejected

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students commitment towards working in the tourism industry H2 There is a positive direct relationship between Social Status and students commitment towards working in the tourism industry H3 There is a positive direct relationship between Career Prospect and students commitment towards working in the tourism industry H4 There is a positive direct relationship between Pay/Benefits and students commitment towards working in the tourism industry H5 There is a positive direct relationship between promotion opportunities and students commitment towards working in the tourism industry H6 There is a positive direct relationship between physical working Conditions and students commitment towards working in the tourism industry -.084 .163 Rejected .069 .248 Rejected -.026 .663 Rejected .192 .002 Supported .156 .009 Supported

The above results indicate support for only two of the hypotheses namely H2 & H3 (Table 16). The H2 hypothesis indicates that there is a direct positive relationship between social status and commitment whereas H3 hypothesis confirms the direct positive relationship between career prospect and commitment. Both social status and career prospects are therefore strong determinants of commitment. It can be deduced that a better recognition of the tourism jobs will bring about a rise in the level of commitment of students towards the industry. Similarly a clearly defined career prospects will impact positively on the commitment of the student towards the tourism industry. This finding contains important policy implication for the policy makers, relevant ministries, public and private training institutions and the industry at large. The implications will, therefore, highlight the needs for an adoption of tactics and strategies at ensuring

1) to provide a clear and well defined career path for students joining the industry. 2) better recognition to those employed in the tourism industry thereby raising the social status of professions in the tourism industry. 5.1200 Recommendations 31

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The above can be achieved with the collaboration of one and whole. Following the results of the research it is clear that students have an overall positive attitude towards the industry. This can be further reinforced by creating the right working environment, better pay packet, good promotion opportunities, improved the nature of the tourism jobs but more importantly raising the social status of the employees and also to provide well defined career path. Various initiatives and measures are being proposed to address some of the issues highlighted above. 5.1201 Tourism Action Clubs (TAC)

Tourism Action Clubs serves as interesting, fun ways of consistently promoting tourism awareness amongst secondary and tertiary students. This will allow the students and educators to have further exposure to Mauritius varied tourism product and its partners in the industry outside of the regular tourism awareness activities. The activities of the club can be planned under three categories, work, education and recreation. 5.1202 General Tourism Awareness Activities

Activities under the above mentioned programme can include visits to various secondary schools or community groups, participation in training programmes for students and school leavers, assisting the organization with familiarization trips for various groups, providing assistance to hospitality students for their studies by arranging interviews, referring them to sources or providing them with speakers, setting up tourism exhibits, planning tourism awareness seminars/workshops, conferences and use of media. 5.1203 Careers in Tourism Programme

The careers in tourism programme seek to offer guidance to students as well as the general adult population about career opportunities within the tourist industry. Until and unless the career opportunities are not well exposed, there will not be full commitment of students towards the tourism industry. 5.1204 Tourism Awareness Competitions

Tourism awareness competitions can be organized which will provide opportunity for students to participate in a variety of interesting, fun competitions that focus on current tourism related matters. These competitions could include the essays and poster competitions, Travel Writing and Case Study competition. This will create enthusiasm among the students and based on the preparation needed for these competitions, the students will engage in much tourism related research, which will have a lasting impression on them, creating a passion for the industry. The exposure that they get as winners often creates ambassadors for the industry and eventually considering pursuing a career in tourism. 5.1205 Careers in Tourism Programme

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With the collaboration of AHRIM and other Tourism related associations like the SKAL club Mauritius, career fairs could be organized region wise to sensitize potential students and the public at large on the various job opportunities available and the career prospect, This will make them knowledgeable about the operations within the industry and are focused about what it is they want to achieve from their career choices. 5.1206 Tourism Scholarship Programme Tourism which is gathering significant importance in Mauritius and government laying a lot of emphasis in tourism and hospitality training should envisage awarding a state scholarship for Tourism alongside the state scholarship on medical studies. Now that many colleges have introduced Travel and Tourism as an examinable at the Cambridge Higher School Certificate makes it easier to award such scholarship. 5.1207 Experience with the company as a consumer.

Whether this comes early in the student's life, for instance, as a result of a family visit to a hotel, resort, or restaurant or later, when the individual is a college student, we do not know. What is certain, however, is that the type and quality of service that students experienced as consumers from hospitality companies has a long-lasting and strong effect on which companies they choose to go to work for after their graduation. The culture of eating out should be popularized. 5.1208 Word of mouth from students.

The high degree of importance that word of mouth from other students plays in developing student perceptions of companies confirms that there is likely a spillover effect that occurs among students. 5.1209 Guest lecturers in classes.

Guest lecturers are often used by faculty members to augment the information presented in the classroom. While using guest lecturers is a valuable and accepted teaching tool, we did not anticipate the power that this contact has on student perceptions regarding career choices and future employers. One conclusion that can drawn from research carried out ( Richard 1995) is that company representatives should be greatly interested in making classroom appearances (as is, indeed, the case with many successful hospitality firms). 5.1210 Company participation in job fair.

Research (Anderson 2001) reveals that many students base their perceptions of companies on the individual contact they have with those firms at a job fair. As with several of the results ranked higher, this finding confirms the importance students place on personal contact with company representatives. The implication for hospitality organizations is that they should invest the time and resources to appear at job fairs. 5.1211 Company-sponsored tours.

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Many faculty members can use field trips to enhance students' understanding of the industry and of specific companies. In addition, student organizations could often arrange tours with specific companies. The effectiveness of this approach can be seen by its mid-level ranking. Still, some companies may be proficient at this type of recruiting while others may be inefficient. An implication for companies that welcome field trips and those thinking about doing so is to do it well or not at all. 5.1212 Tourism Channels

The government should have a dedicated Tourism Channel on the National Broadcasting Corporation whereby the activities directly related to tourism should be broadcast. This will help in building and consolidate the image of the industry. Role models of successful students in the industry could be interviewed thus raising the profile of the tourism jobs.

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