Middlesex University Dubai offers three degree programmes in the tourism studies field:
These programmes are specially designed to contextualise tourism within the field of business and management, providing students with significant flexibility in terms of career opportunities. The Dubai Programme Coordinator, Dr. Marcus L. Stephenson, discusses the importance of studying tourism at Middlesex University Dubai:
“Like London, Dubai is also a vibrant tourist city with a very significant tourism infrastructure. Studying tourism in such a context is certainly an advantage and a privilege, providing a real opportunity for students to understand how tourism actually functions and how it is structured. We often think of tourism as an industry but in many ways it is also appropriate to use the term: ‘tourism industries’, simply because tourism encompasses a range of other sub-industries. Examples being: hospitality, transport, entertainment, leisure, sports, retail and events, as well as the cultural, arts and heritage industries”.
The tourism programmes recognise tourism as a service sector industry and therefore emphasise the value of advancing students’ soft skills. Additionally, the programme helps to develop competencies associated with managing others, being innovative and seeking feasible solutions to specific challenges. The programme also encourages students to participate in internships, particularly as they help students establish a close relationship with the industry and develop supplementary skills through their work experience.
Consequently, the tourism programme involves site visits and encourages learning ‘beyond the classroom’. In the second year of the programme, for instance, students can select an overseas field trip module. During the last academic session, students studied tourism in Ghana during a ten day visit, where emphasis was placed on understanding the sustainable elements of tourism development.
Dr Stephenson summarises the distinguishing features of tourism and the tourism management programmes:
“Tourism is indeed a multi-faceted and very diverse industry. As such it is constantly evolving to meet the ever changing needs and aspirations of the customer, and indeed the tourist. Given that tourism and travel are adventurous activities, the study of tourism is also exciting and fascinating. Therefore, within the programme we encourage inter-disciplinary learning as well live case studies. In our teaching practices we try to finely blend pragmatic and academic elements of learning”.