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Sustainable and Nature based Tourism IT Course and Handbook
Start date: Jan 1, 2010,

• Background:Tourism is one of the strongest driving forces for economic development in Europe. It represents 12% of Europe’s GDP and “with two million enterprises, the tourism sector is responsible for 20 million jobs and capable of creating 100,000 new jobs per year” (CEDOP; PS 115; 2005). Especially for less developed areas, tourism often offers the only promising economic opportunities - such as for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany’s poorest federal state, which has an average unemployment rate of 15.5%. Tourism is the only strong economic sector, where 15.1% of the state’s employees produce 11.1 % of the net gross income. Tourism still has a lot of potential for growth and job creation, but in a long term perspective it would be extremely important to develop and implement sustainable, nature-based and cultural heritage-based tourism concepts to avoid mistakes and disadvantages since many regions still suffer from mass tourism developments from 1960s to 1990s. Unfortunately, until now too few learners and students in Europe have access to high-quality education in this area to feed the labour market and regional developments needs. One of the problems is that there are no ODL and IT-based learning programmes. To improve the general learning situation in the sustainable and nature-based tourism sector, to strengthen the position of this field within the tourism industry in general and to introduce IT-based learning to the education programmes of top-level training providers – these are the aims of the STITCH project.• Activities and impact:- Design of a European Curriculum covering the most important contents in the area of sustainable and nature-based tourism; 6 modules on 3 different levels each (VET level - 60 hours/2 credit points; Bachelor level - 90 hours/3 credit points; Masters level - 150 hours/5 credit points)- Design of a blended learning training concept combining IT-based learning with other learning methods- Collection of best practice material and content from partner organisations and combination to STITCH course- Development of an appropriate e-learning environment and implementation of learning materials- Development of a STITCH Handbook with additional learning materials and content (for combination with IT-based learning units)- Testing of materials and outputs in 7 pilots- Development of a policy strategy paper including recommendations to political decision makers on how to successfully improve the IT-based learning situation in Europe’s VET/higher education tourism sector- Direct implementation of STITCH concept and course in the official training programme of all VET/higher education partner organisations• Main Results:- STITCH curriculum (approx. 10 pages in 7 languages)- STITCH material pool an learning content (approx. 180 p./7 lang.)- STITCH IT-based learning environment- STITCH Handbook (approx. 40 p./7 lang.; publication in 100 copies/country)- STITCH DVD (100 copies/country)- STITCH pilots in 7 countries- STITCH policy strategy (approx. 15 p./7 lang.; 500 copies/country)- Website with download section for all documents - high number of dissemination and evaluation activities (e.g. flyers, posters, conferences)• Target groups:VET/higher education providers and their students in the tourism sector; communities/regions focusing on tourism; policy makers on education, labour market, regional development and ecological level.• Partnership:9 experienced and reliable partners from 8 different countries, representing VET providers, universities, SMEs, chambers and associations as well as the cultural diversity of the EU with different approaches, standards and perspectives. They all have in common the willingness to develop an IT-based learning concept for the area of sustainable and nature-based tourism work for immediate implementation and usage after the end of the project.Additionally, 17 associated partner organisations will support our project on different levels.
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