The tourism industry is a significant driver of the global economy and impacts societies all over the world that are currently experiencing radical change. Responding to these changes requires economic paradigms and educational systems based on new foundations. Humanistic tourism proposes a values-based disciplinary perspective for tourism at the intersection between humanistic and tourism management, and is rooted in human dignity and societal wellbeing. Integrating humanistic management principles into higher education tourism management programs, and changing the nature of what is taught and how, would benefit students, future managers and all stakeholders. This paper aims at improving higher education tourism programs by combining humanistic management education and the Tourism Education Futures Initiative’s (TEFI) values-based tourism education. It draws on an integrated Humanistic Tourism Education framework to help develop future tourism managers’ skills and abilities to adopt alternative leadership models within the sector and to foster critical and responsible tourism thinking and practice. With best-practice examples from three universities in three different countries, this study illustrates new pedagogical approaches and proposes recommendations for implementing humanistic tourism management in higher education with the aim of training ethical and responsible managers equipped with an awareness of the social, cultural, and environmental challenges – and possible solutions to these – in their respective destinations.
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One of the authors would like to acknowledge the valuable support in co-designing and implementing innovative participative education formats received from Francesca Sorrentino, storyteller. Helpful comments and assistance from the journal editor, the guest editor and the anonymous reviewers in improving this paper are also gratefully acknowledged.
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.