Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Connections between Scientific Research and Education in the Field of Tourism and Leisure in the Czech Republic

Academic journal article European Journal of Tourism Research

Connections between Scientific Research and Education in the Field of Tourism and Leisure in the Czech Republic

Article excerpt

Introduction

The Tourism Handbook issued in Czechoslovakia in 1980 states that 'tourism research is closely and objectively linked to the level of tourism development. In characterizing research in tourism it is necessary to emphasize the fact that (a) tourism extends to many sectors of the national economy, which is fully reflected in the specifics of tourism research, (b) research on tourism has a multidisciplinary character linked with economics, social sciences, and also geography, architecture, medicine, ecology and so on and (c) research on tourism has a strongly empirical character and is strongly influenced by practical problems' (Franke, 1980).

Whether tourism is a separate field of scientific inquiry; that is, a scientific discipline, is a constant subject of debate. The subject of scientific investigation can be virtually anything that has some social function, almost everything that surrounds us. If recognized scientific methods are used - the result will be recognized as scientific research. A great deal of recorded results of scientific research remain more descriptions of the state of tourism until the time that they are re-examined, again using scientific methods, to give a verifiable understanding of the causes, and show us a way to eliminate the possible undesirable situation or achieve the desired state. Only then the field becomes a scientific discipline in the true sense. In other words, it becomes an independent scientific discipline when it is possible to (a) clearly define the scope of the investigation, (b) identify the problems and (c) develop specific procedures to address them. Tourism involves more than a single object of investigation; it is essentially a multidisciplinary field (Kaspar, 2011).

Based on the division of research used by the International Association of Scientific Experts on Tourism (AIEST) in Switzerland, the four types of tourism research can be characterized as follows:

* macroeconomic research - builds primarily on economic and sociological studies (for example, determining the place of tourism in the society and the economy of the country)

* microeconomic research - focuses primarily on tourism subjects from various perspectives, but should, however, perform a wider function than merely advisory

* geographical research in relation to tourism - focuses on the contribution of geography; for example, in relation to the environment, the role of regional tourism and other aspects

* sociological research on tourism - sociological issues can include the impact of tourism on the socio-cultural structure of the host country, the behaviour of participants in tourism and meeting their needs, the impact of tourism on professions, the interaction and confrontation of cultures, ethics and mentality and so on.

A general finding from studies on tourism is the fact that results remain up to date for a shorter time than do other types of research, and are often limited to a span of about 3-5 years. Because of this, tourism research must often focus on a future horizon of 10-20 years, and therefore requires comparisons with actual developments and timely corrections. The paper aims at providing an integrated approach of tourism science and education in the Czech Republic which has been an inevitable part of Czechoslovakia. The authors of this paper will use secondary research methods enriched with own experiences in education and tourism science in the Czech Republic.

Development of tourism and leisure research in the Czech Republic in the years 1950-1993

It is very gratifying that Czech researchers Cerny and Charvát belong to the ranks of founders of tourism theory, especially on issues relating to spas. In Slovakia, there was Fodor, particularly in relation to hotels, and Karvas, in relation to economic and financial issues of tourism. The stage of scientific research into tourism as a relatively independent discipline began in 1945, and builds mainly on the results of particular countries in post-war Europe. …

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