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Education & Tourism: What comes first?

by Stavroula Kitsanou, Digital Marketing Coordinator | Workathlon

Tourism is one of the fields in which Greece still holds a competitive advantage, ranked as one of the world's top destinations. For this reason, tourism education is a pole of attraction for thousands of young people who want to combine studies with work in the labor market. But which are the options that an aspiring tourism professional has?

1. Higher Education Schools, Guide Schools & Training Institutes

The Higher Schools of Tourism Education, they aim to train executives for hotel positions and other tourism businesses. These consist of the Higher School of Tourism Education of Rhodes and the Higher School of Tourism Education of Crete - Ag. Nicholas. Conditions and admission process are defined by the Ministry of Education.

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Guide Schools are post-secondary professional schools for 2-year studies. Admission is given to Greek citizens, citizens of EU Member States, as well as citizens of non-EU countries, if they are legally resident in the country and have a good grasp of the Greek language (level C1).

Training Institutes provide initial professional training to graduates of Secondary Education Institutions in specialties such as Hospitality Management, Receptionist, Chef, Baker and Pastry Chef. The training units operate in the following cities: Anavyssos Attica, Thessaloniki, Heraklion Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Argos, Galaxidi, Alexandroupolis. High school graduates can be admitted through a selection process which the Organization for Tourism Education and Training is responsible for.

Attendance in these Institutes lasts 2 years and includes a paid and supervised internship during the summer period in select hotel units, also under the supervision of the Organization’s for Tourism Education and Training. Students that have graduated from their first year of high school are able to apply for admission.

2. Postgraduate courses

Furthermore, the Ministry of Tourism offers postgraduate courses according to Law 1077/1980 in various cities of Greece. These courses apply to those already employed in the tourism field or to temporary unemployed who have only empirical knowledge of tourism professions. These are continuing vocational training programs which do not fit into formal education and lead to the acquisition of non-formal qualifications.

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The departments and cities in which training departments operate, the number of trainees per department, and the procedure and deadlines for submitting applications and supporting documents are all determined by the Ministry of Tourism each educational period.

3. Lifelong Learning Centers

The Lifelong Learning Centers which aim to continue professional training and adult education in Greece are also added to the overall equation. They are distinguished in public and private. The latter are distinguished in Level 1 Centers, which are the former Free-Class Laboratories, and in Centers of Level 2, which are the former Centers for Education and Training.

Centers of level 1 are two-year and fast-track program and involve many tourism specialties such as cooking, confectionery, professional culinary, professional bar, grooming, foreign hotel terminology, food business administration, hotel receptionist, hotel management, etc. Centers of level 2 are two-year and fast-track professional education and training programs. The specialization they offer is carried out in cooperation with international institutions and universities and their programs cover hotel business management, hospitality and tourism services, professional cooking, professional pastry, catering management etc.

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4. Higher Education

Technological Educational Institutions (TEIs), on the other hand, focus mainly on the management of tourism enterprises. Candidates' interest in these is limited, as their headquarters are often located away from touristic areas. As for the new university tourism schools at the Universities of the Aegean and Piraeus, they have been operating for only three years, but are continuously rising quality and quantity levels.

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5. Private Schools & Organizations

Numerous Tourism and Hospitality private schools, colleges and Training Centers, including, for example, Chef d'Oeuvre, as well as certified educational organizations, such as WSPC, can offer even more specialized training to their students - gastronomy and wine-tasting, for example.


INSETE, a non-profit organisation founded on the initiative of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), contributes to the Greek tourism education organizing training seminars on tourism objects like F&B Department or Customer Experience, building synergies with foreign universities and online courses, and as well as holding the School of Tourism OnTour. The latter is an educational event designed to attract dynamic speakers of the tourism industry who have new ideas and up-to-date knowledge to share with those who are directly or indirectly involved with the country's tourism industry, and finally inspire as many people as possible.

7. E-learning

Finally, if someone does not have access to the areas where the above institutions and activities take place, there is always the option of e-learning. The American Cornell University and the Coursera platform are just two among numerous sources of tourism e-learning courses.

"We notice that tourism staff are not adequately trained, especially for the front-line positions, those that come in direct contact with customers. So, as a country, we may have a wonderful landscape which attracts tourists, but improvement is needed in the service segment", a hotel executive states, stressing the importance of continuously updating the training structures and in-house training curriculums.

Important Note: This article is not intended to become a training guide for tourism, but wishes to inform about some of the existing educational choices in the industry!



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