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    Internationalization of Hospitality and Tourism Higher Education: A Perspective from Thailand

    Globalization and the advancement of the knowledge-based economy have resulted in a transformation in the higher education landscape across the world. Internationalization in higher education is argued to be an educational development process or educational reform for modern universities to address the increasing impacts of globalization and liberalization of trade in educational services. Internationalizing higher education has also been said to deliver various advantages to the academic community, including staff development, students’ learning experiences, curriculum development, research collaboration, international cooperation, and intercultural understanding.

    In relation to the hospitality and tourism industry, it is fundamental to internationalize the program and curriculum for the purpose of preparing and equipping students for the challenges of globalization. Academics highlighted that internationalization of hospitality and tourism higher education in Thailand should be viewed as a proactive approach to nurture students for a global workforce. This is because (1) the prominence of globalization and free trade of education services have resulted in the need for Thai educational providers advance curricula and prepare students for the needs of a global competitive job market (2) the hospitality and tourism industry is highly diverse and international focused. Hence, graduates are assumed to be involved with international tourists and business travelers. Therefore, the industry requires managers experienced in intercultural communication (3) previous research demonstrates that the quality and qualifications of Thai graduates fail to meet the standards needed by the industry. As such, the internationalization of higher education, particularly, the hospitality and tourism programs should be deemed of high importance.

    This paper has identified four key factors that contribute to the internationalization of higher education: (a) faculty, (b) students, (c) curriculum development, and (d) international alliances. Most literature on the internationalization of higher education is dominated by the Western perspective, and there are limited research about the Asian context. Hence, this article serves to provide an insight from the Thailand perspective, discoursing about how Thai higher educational institutions should adopt the internationalization process in their hospitality and tourism programs. Fundamentally, internationalization should be seen as a powerful tool to establish global human resources and improve intercultural understanding of the society.

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    Participate in the upcoming QS Subject Focus Summit – “The Way Forward: Hospitality and Tourism Education Convergence with Industry 4.0” which will be held from 5-7 December 2018 in Kuching, Malaysia.