For 25 years, the classrooms of the Gandia Campus of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) have been training hundreds of professionals to plan, manage, and direct tourism activity. "We have 628 graduates of the Diploma in Tourism and 454 graduates of the Bachelor's Degree in Tourism or a double degree, that is, 1082 graduates linked to tourism studies," said the director of the Gandia Campus, Jesús Alba, during his speech at the conference "25 years of Tourism at the UPV".
It is worth remembering that the UPV "was the first university in the Valencian Community and the second in Spain to assume the mission of teaching tourism studies," said the academic director of the Bachelor's Degree in Tourism, Estefanía Osorio; it did so "with the creation of its degree in the 92-93 academic year with 30 students enroled and with a postgraduate program shared with the University of Surrey". This would become the "International Master's Degree in Hospitality and Tourism, active until 2010, which obtained the Quality Certification of the TedQual program of the World Tourism Organization".
The Bologna Plan changed the higher education system, adapting it to the ECTS credit system. The diploma was thus transformed into a degree, opening a new scenario in the 2009-2010 academic year. The Diploma in Tourism "had a duration of 3 years, equivalent to 180 credits and was divided into three specialisations: Accommodation Companies Management, Intermediation and Tourist Destination Planning. This gave students an outlet in three common areas of employment". As Osorio stated, "It was very well received, with an enrolment base of around 100 new students during the first six years. It stabilised at around 75 students as more public and private universities incorporated these studies into their curricula".
In the 2009-2010 academic year, "the Bachelor's Degree in Tourism Management replaced the Diploma and subsequently changed its name to the current Bachelor's Degree in Tourism, which consists of 4 years and 240 credits." In 2014, "we expanded the training offer by creating a double degree (Tourism + ADE), and this academic year 23-24, the first edition of the Master's Degree in Smart Tourism has begun, which completes the undergraduate studies".
The Bachelor's Degree in Tourism provides students with cross-curricular and multidisciplinary training to acquire the necessary skills to adapt to different labour markets in a continuous transformation process, undoubtedly accelerated by the pandemic.
On the other hand, in these years, "1,452 European students have spent at least one term on our campus. Likewise, our students have been to different European and non-European destinations," Jesús Alba points out. The campus promotes student mobility through exchange agreements with universities in Austria, Finland, France, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands. Students can access two double degrees in Leisure & Tourism Management with a year abroad.
The celebration of the conference "25 Years of Tourism at the UPV" brought together representatives of various public administrations, professionals in the tourism sector, researchers and academic staff at the Gandia Campus. The event, supported by the Càtedra Gandia Turisme Intelligent, was opened by the University Manager of the Fundació Visit València (2015-2023), Antonio Bernabé. After his lecture "25 Years of Changes in Tourism", Antonio Guevara, President of the Spanish Conference of Deans and Deans of Tourism, María del Val Segarra, Vice-Rector for Organization of Studies, Quality, Accreditation and Languages of the UPV and Francisco Juan, Director CdT Benidorm took part in the first-round table to analyse the achievements and challenges of tourism studies: past, present and future.
For Estefanía Osorio, the Decree establishing the organisation of university education and the procedure for quality assurance "is an opportunity to reformulate these studies to respond to the changes that companies and society are currently demanding". In this sense, the campus "plans to carry out an in-depth review of the degree to incorporate new contents and new methodologies based on projects, with the direct participation of companies and organisations in the training of students".
Alla Perossolova, consultant at the Jean Monet Department of European Studies and former director of the Silk Road Program of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), spoke about the transformation of tourism. The second-round table, moderated by Eva Mestre, Deputy Director of Alumni and Educational Innovation, addressed the professional projection of tourism students.
The "25 Years of Tourism at the UPV" conference ended with the presentation of the awards for the best final degree projects and the recognition of those who have contributed to the operation of the Bachelor's Degree in Tourism over the last quarter of a century.