STUDENTS AS WORKFORCE/INTERNS IN COMMUNITY-BASED TOURISM OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA
The main purpose of the study has been to find out the willingness of students to get unpaid internship in tourism industry, specifically in community-based tourism (CBT), which will allow having workforce for the community-based tourism development in different departments and fields where there is need for such support. The study is also aimed to find out the awareness of young generation about CBT as such. A survey was conducted with the students of universities and colleges of the Republic of Armenia (all interviewed students were from the universities and colleges located in the capital city, Yerevan); random sampling method was applied. Surveys distributed in hard copies to universities and colleges with various specializations, since tourism is a bundle of goods and services, so there is a need to consider future employees of different disciplines. The findings revealed:
High willingness of the students to get internship in the tourism industry (339 students out of 436, or 78% (despite the fact that it would be unpaid);
High willingness to experience community-based tourism: 318 students out of 436, or 73%).
Involving students as workforce (interns) in CBT-related business will be able to support and develop those businesses in the most efficient way, while the students will gain too by getting hands on work experience. Since the students are potential tourists as well, the willingness to experience such type of activity shows that Armenian CBT has a potential of attracting more tourists into the country.
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International College Suan Sunandha
Rajabhat University, Bangkok, Thailand