GTTP Beyond the Numbers
Our GTTP discussions frequently feature numbers. We talk about expense numbers, fundraising numbers, numbers of students served, number of participating countries, programs, and partners. This quantifiable information is an essential measure of the program’s condition and direction. Numbers also give us a solid foundation for policy decisions. But there is a greater and less easily measured dimension of our program. That is its impact on real people.
The GTTP is a catalyst for change, often life-altering change, in the personal lives and professional prospects of participating students and teachers. They, in turn, benefit the travel & tourism industry as well as their communities and countries in myriad ways. These many contributions may not be quantifiable but they are the essence of what we do. The words of the participants themselves convey this broader sense of the value of the GTTP:
The father of Brazilian student, Lidiane Aparaceida Fernandes, gets right to the heart of it:
"The wealth which all countries plan for, search for, is to give their children a solid, conscious, and participatory education, which can be made visible in day-to-day life within those social groups in which they take part. This opportunity was amply provided to my daughter, Lidiane by the Brazil GTTP and her trip to the student-teacher conference solidified one more dream in relation to my daughter's education."
Students from Four Continents
"Having Travel and Tourism in our school has helped me develop a respect for my culture and heritage. I want to strive to keep everything perfect for future generations." (The GTTP) made me realize how important tourism is to South Africa and our local communities."
"learned through exposure to (GTTP cultural studies) that "I could move beyond the boundaries of my personal and cultural life."
Lidiane Aparaceida Fernandes
"I've been studying in this school for ten years, the last two years were especially splendid because (of the GTTP program)…I'm sure that my future is going to be connected with tourism."
"[TTP] has changed my future. During the lessons we have learnt many interesting facts. What is more, we've acquired practical skills in tourism. Working (at an airlines) made up my mind to work in tourism after the university."
"If you ask me what role the Travel & Tourism Program has played in my life, I'll firmly say, that its significance is extremely great. These lessons have opened to me a magnificent world of countries, their population and customs, tourism, and its organization. Thank you!!!"
"I gained an understanding of the industry and the confidence to apply for a range of jobs."
Wales, United Kingdom
"I am so glad I chose to study a vocational programme in Leisure & Tourism. I intend to become a chef when I leave school."
Wales, United Kingdom
"I learned that there is a lot of competition that Canada has to face. This makes me more interested in this field because I would love to help bring tourists to Canada and help bring new ideas as well."
A South African educator describes the TTP’s impact on his community this way: "The travel & tourism subject has made a difference not only to the learners and the teachers but also to the whole community. Our students take what they learn in the classroom back to their communities in which they live. Our whole community is learning about the economic value of tourism and that tourism benefits everybody no matter how poor you are. Tourism education has made people realize that crime discourages tourists from visiting and if the whole community is to benefit from tourism then we have to ensure that tourists feel safe when they visit us."
Mrs Aniet Louw of South Africa’s Northern Cape Department of Education reports that "educators mentioned that learners who were previously involved in gangs, were B candidates in their final Senior Certificate Exams. These learners were once classified as 'problematic' learners and later became strong leaders on whom we could depend."
Mrs Nalini Thomas of Natal says her "students have changed their opinion about South Africa and have become more patriotic. I can honestly say that my learners have become lifelong ambassadors for South Africa."
Brazil, teacher, Ari Coutinho: "Discovering the program changed my life. The manner in which the project was implemented and developed, the dedication and interest of the teachers, the creativity of the students and the will of the directors and business partners resulted in excellence and the graduation of the first class of the Academy of Travel and Tourism in our city. It is with pride that I can affirm that this experience significantly helped my growth, not only professionally, but mainly in the enhancement of my knowledge. With this work I could change many ideas and motivate many others who lacked expectations, courage or decisiveness. The entire community started to perceive the benefits. The vision of the youth involved in the process wasn't the same afterwards. A new consciousness was born there that would express itself in tourism in a city that previously had very little to offer. For me, it was a great honor to participate in this unique and innovative process which has brought new (opportunities) to the lives of many people."
Jayne Clancey Llangatwg School, Wales "Springboard UK has really opened my eyes to the leisure, travel and tourism industry. My students have benefited as my knowledge, confidence and motivation has grown."
Participating in the TTP and attending the teacher & student conference (held annually) was a transforming experience for many. For example, one Brazilian teacher writes, "I must confess that (the conference) was the biggest and most important experience of my life. For the first time, I was faced with a situation so special, it was a different world. Today I can define my life in two stages: before and after the Brazil [GTTP]."
Tania Xavier, the Brazil GTTP Coordinator in her city noted that the Aldo Papone case study was "a wake up call on environmental education, one which takes on more and more significance each day and can be seen through the involvement that is flourishing in surprising form, from which we all stand to gain. It was possible to contribute by showing, through a case-study on the Ecopark, already cited in some national magazines, this richness to be found in the south of Bahia."
Lucia Cerqueira cites the Brazil TTP as "a unique and special opportunity in my personal and professional life. Personally, "for the satisfaction of coming in contact with new experiences of life and meeting new people of diverse habits, customs, cultures and knowledge bases. Professionally, "for feeling each moment the necessity of continual renovation in the knowledge of diverse areas of professional performance. Best of all was seeing changes in students’ attitudes and, consequently, the change in the external aspects of their lives. You also see that your educational actions promote a higher quality of life for teachers, the students and the local and school communities."
Some Graduate Experiences
The Canadian TTP gave me "an opportunity to meet new people, to acquire new skills and to participate in many activities. My success in the (tourism) industry is tied to providing excellent customer service and having a great attitude. I enjoy working in a fast paced job that is demanding of all I can give."
Another Canadian graduate: "The grade ten program that I enrolled in was the best thing that I could have done for myself. It opened a lot of doors that I was looking through but was scared to enter."
Yet another noted "I especially valued the experiential trips. One trip was inspirational because I realized just how important communication is between people. Up to that point the French language component was just another school subject; it was not that important to me. After our trip I became more interested in learning and using the French language"
Finally, "I would recommend this program to anyone who would like to pursue a career in travel and tourism. Thanks to this program, I know I have made the right (career) choice."
Only a few of the thousands of GTTP participants have been quoted here but their words give a glimpse of the ways the GTTP has affected them and their world. New doors of understanding, experience and opportunity have been opened young people around the globe, including those who, after secondary school, might otherwise have no options in life beyond poverty and dead-end jobs. Families find pride and hope for the future in their students’ accomplishments. Communities and regions experience the economic and cultural benefits brought by educated graduates and an improved tourism environment. These are just some of the many ways that the GTTP improves the lives of those who participate, yielding rich returns for the investments we make to it.