Sunday, November 21, 2010
Edutourism – a new portmanteau and one that in my opinion is worthy of recognition, my views are of course not always reflected by the wider academic community many of whom are reticent to use such contemporary terms. I was privileged to recently attend and deliver a presentation at the first Canadian EduTourism Association (CETA) conference held in Havana, Cuba. The conference theme was around sustainable edutourism. The term edutourism was challenged by several speakers, who questioned whether the term was actually necessary. I personally feel that we need to be bold in our thinking when it comes to terminology, it will take time for a term like edutourism to properly filter into academic speak, but it is inevitable that if we don’t start the ball rolling now, then eventually somebody else will.
As to the debate as to whether or not we need such a term – yes of course we do – as edutourism as a concept exists, and there is not currently a term for it in its own right. One argument presented against the term edutourism was that we don’t need such a term, as tourism for the purposes of education has always existed. In my mind this point is flawed, as we already use terms such as medical tourism and business tourism, and these forms of tourism have existed since man began to travel.
I believe that we definitely do need to have a clear definition of what edutourism is, I would like to offer the following definition, which I hope covers the subject without being too specific and narrowing the terms remit: “The sum total of activities associated with tourism for the specific purpose of learning and / or education”. This definition allows for the interpretation to include all aspects of the tourism system, including, searching, booking, travel, accommodation and destination activities.
From an entertainment management perspective, it is the activities which take place in the destination zone of the tourism system, which are of greatest relevance, the activities that I allude to are those relating to edutainment. This was the theme of the presentation that I presented at the CETA conference, which was entitled ‘Responsible Edutainment in the Tourism System’ and can be downloaded from SlideShare here. I would be happy to hear the thoughts of others on the subject of edutourism, edutainment and indeed any other portmanteaus!