Improving the attractiveness of the hotel & catering programs: A case study of public technical & vocational schools of Cyprus
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The aim of this study is to examine the factors that affect the attractiveness of the Hotel & Catering Program (HCP) in public technical schools of the secondary education in Cyprus. The contribution and importance of this study is to explore its current status and recognize its weaknesses in order to promote solutions which will attract more students to attend these courses. The current circumstances, have once again stressed the importance and contribution of the tourism industry as well as the role of the hotel and catering schools in both the local economy and society. The findings of this master thesis support that the overall gloomy misconceptions created in the past, prevents students from choosing these programs. Hence in fulfilling the aim of the study, three objectives were identified: (a) to examine the factors which affect the reputation of the programs of hotel and catering in technical schools, (b) to develop modern methods of improving the attraction of new students and (c) to suggest marketing strategies for repositioning the hotel and catering programs. A review of existing literature sources (secondary data) was considered appropriate in fulfilling the first objective in order to set the theoretical foundations of the study, and in order to identify and evaluate previously related academic study. Additionally, qualitative and quantitative research techniques (primary data) were involved in satisfying the objectives of this study. The survey addressed a total of 149 students from the Class C’ of Gymnasium, the Class A’ of the Paralimni Lyceum and Paralimni Technical School as well as 11 hotel employers. All students have been randomly selected. A descriptive, mixed method study research design was used. All questionnaires have been gathered and the responses have been analysed using Excel spreadsheet and SPSS statistics software. Since all answers were non Normal and non-parametric testing in the form of Wilcoxon, the Mann-Whitney U and Kruskal Wallis testing were used for comparisons between grouping variables. The survey generally reveals that Vocational Education and Training (VET) is normally considered a shelter for ‘’weak’’ students who seek courses that would prepare them for employment in the “technical” professions. It has also emerged that students with higher grades and parents with higher income have a negative opinion and attitudes towards technical schools, hence more information should be provided in order to highlight the benefits of the vocational programs. This study concludes with recommendations for future research. According to the findings, this thesis attempted to suggest new marketing strategies in order to reinforce the level of the HCP.