|FOCUS ON THE FACULTY|
COLLEGE TOURISM PROGRAM AND CHARLESTON REGION HAVE HOSPITABLE FIT
By Bo Brown
Five years ago the School of Business and Economics' Hospitality and Tourism Management Program began with only eight students. Today, it has grown to nearly 100 students.
The program is run by two management and marketing professors, John Crotts, who founded the program, and his colleague, Stephen Litvin.
Litvin explains, "There aren't many places better to study hospitality and tourism than Charleston." Charleston is one of the largest tourism attractions on the East Coast. The city is rated in the top five most attractive places to visit on the East Coast every year. The city is also recognized nationally for its hospitality and good manners.
According to the program's website, South Carolina's hospitality and tourism industry accounts for $14.4 billion in sales annually (64 percent of this realized by the coastal areas) and employs approximately 201,000 people. In the Charleston Metropolitan area, 1 of every 6 jobs (54,000) are in enterprises that serve the more than 5 million people who visit the region annually.
Thus, a program at the College of Charleston in hospitality and tourism management would seem-- and has proven-- a natural fit. The Hospitality and Tourism Management Program is a six course concentration. It includes a professional development component and internship designed to provide students competencies in sales and marketing, human resources management, hotel/service operations management, and informational technology. "Today, young managers seek career enrichment and development opportunities that not only improve their skills, but also challenge them to see the big picture," Crotts says. "That is exactly what this program does."
Litvin says internships are an important-- and required-- part of the program's undergraduate experience. "We have three or four students who intern at Kiawah Island each semester, and some even go on to acquire jobs there," he says.
Both Crotts and Litvin bring strong academic and professional credentials to the classroom and the boardroom. Crotts is a nationally recognized expert in tourism and travel issues. Litvin has high level corporate experience in the travel industry and owned his own travel agency in Phoenix, Az. Both men have published extensively in their field.
But what really drives and excites Crotts and Litvin continue to be their work with students. "Hospitality and tourism is an area of passion," Litvin says. "A lot of my success and personal satisfaction comes from working with the students."
Since the College of Charleston is a teaching based school, things like independent studies are a common area to concentrate on in the hospitality and tourism program. Some of the most recent independent studies that Litvin has done with his students have been the Spoleto Festival's impact on Charleston's tourism industry and the impact of Internet marketing on the restaurant industry. "These independent studies create great energy and good learning," Litvin says.
The growing hospitality and tourism industry in Charleston has had a major impact on the success of the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. And Professors Crotts and Litvin like to think that the students they teach and train, and the professionals they work with in their program's professional development opportunities, have contributed to this success as well.
For more information on C of C's Hospitality and Tourism Program go to: http://www.cofc.edu/~baecon/tourism.htm