Plans are underway to enhance tourism training and education, internship programs, and to establish an English-language educational facility in Greece, said Deputy Tourism Minister Sofia Zacharaki this week.
In an interview to the Athens News Agency (ANA-MPA), Zacharaki announced that the ministry was moving ahead with changes to the way internships were offered to students of the IEK and ASTE tourism schools in order to provide among others a wider range of options.
Zacharaki said students now had the chance to gain hands-on experience in bakeries, restaurants with the Special Quality Label for Greek cuisine, shipping agencies, cruise companies, General Sales Agents (GSA) companies, airlines, ground and passenger services providers, car rental agencies, hotel management firms as well as airport management companies.
“The internship programs will now offer more flexibility,” said Zacharaki adding that the “existing restrictions have been removed so that students and trainees can freely choose the time period and the business of their choice”.
She went on to add that for the first time, the ministry has expanded its internship program to companies in other EU countries.
According to the minister, the Covid-19 health crisis has led to a fast transition to digital technologies. This, she said, will play an important role in tourism training and education which will now have to adapt to the emerging conditions and market demands.
In this direction, the ministry has moved ahead with a series of actions including the digitalization and organization of tourism studies programs.
At the same time, improvements are being made to the ministry’s post-graduate programs, which will open earlier at the end of the year and not in spring, said Zacharaki. These will now be available to more students in more cities, she said.
The minister went on to announce that the ministry has also tabled a proposal budgeted at 46 million euros to the recovery fund for the further training of 20,000 employees in tourism to be implemented over the next three years in seven key areas through distance learning schemes. The program to start this year offers training in tourism to 20,000 unemployed and seasonal workers in a wide range of fields including ecotourism.
Lastly, Zacharaki also said the ministry was looking into establishing a tourism education institution that will offer classes in English. Greece, she said, can become a hub for students interested in visiting one of the world’s most popular destinations and given the chance to work alongside seasoned professionals.