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MasterCard-U21Global Scholarship Program to Empower Women in Travel and Tourism

Travel News Asia Friday, 27 April 2007

With the coming of age of Asia, Africa and the Middle Eastern markets as tourist destinations and women as an emerging economic force, MasterCard Worldwide and U21Global have launched the second year of the MasterCard-U21Global scholarship program for women in travel and tourism. The program was launched last year with the intent to empower working women professionals in the travel and tourism sector to stay ahead of industry trends and realize their full potential.

The call for entries for the online graduate program received a significant response from a wide spectrum of the industry last year, from hotels and airlines to travel and tour operators in Asia Pacific. With the success enjoyed by the program last year, it has now been extended to South Africa, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The program comprises 20 scholarships for the U21Global Executive Diploma of Business Administration and is intended for graduates who want to develop skills in the management and marketing of tourism and travel. The course can articulate into the University of Nottingham MSc in Tourism and Travel Management which has been developed by Christel DeHaan Tourism and Travel Research Institute, a part of Nottingham University Business School, and U21Global, a leader in quality graduate online education for working executives and professionals.

Organizations from the travel and tourism industry across Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa will be invited to nominate female employees who they believe will most benefit from the learning and exposure offered by such a scholarship. MasterCard and U21Global will institute a distinguished panel of judges to choose the 20 worthy recipients.

We are excited to extend the reach of this scholarship to South Africa, Saudi Arabia and UAE to allow more women in travel and tourism to benefit from our premium curriculum in business and to stay abreast of industry trends while also managing work commitments and family life, said Dr Helen Lange, Dean, Business Management Programmes, U21Global. The overwhelming response to the inaugural program in 2006 gives us reason to believe that this second year of the MasterCard-U21Global Scholarship Program will once again be a resounding success. 

MasterCard has been long committed to womens advancement and with the tourism industry being one of the most dynamic economic sectors in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, we would like to encourage women in the industry to take this opportunity to upgrade their skills to stay ahead in the evolving tourism landscape, said Georgette Tan, vice president, Communications, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Worldwide.

Recent MasterCard research shows that despite positive economic growth and the tightening of labor market conditions, women still perceive themselves as not getting the same opportunities as men when it comes to managerial positions and median income. Women from the inaugural program last year have found the course extremely beneficial and we hope more women are able to meet their professional goals through this scholarship, added Tan.

Women from the program have benefited not only from learning about the diverse aspects of tourism management and its practices but also the special online learning community that is in place, allowing the scholars to have access to a wide range of speakers and mentors, and enhance networking with each other.

Other than benefiting from U21Globals excellent pedagogy, I have made numerous friends both local and foreign, and learned much from them through the message boards, threaded discussion forums and chat rooms which are used creatively to stimulate discussions and knowledge exchange amongst students for more effective learning, said Nicole Tan, Director of Catering at The Fullerton Hotel in Singapore, and a winner of the 2006 MasterCard-U21Global Scholarship. This has not only widened my perspectives but also enabled me to update myself on the latest trends in the hospitality industry around the region.

The online nature of the program is helpful, as it allows me to work anywhere and anytime, especially with the demands at my workplace, as well as taking care of my 10-month old baby. It has been really interesting to study with people from different countries and industries, as it also brings in a wide array of knowledge and expertise and I am hopeful that I will get to meet most of my co-scholars in the program, as I believe that we are the future drivers of the Travel and Tourism industry, echoed Anna Angeline Cataluna of Cathay Pacific Airways in the Philippines and also one of the 2006 scholarship recipients.

According to the World Tourism Organization, world tourism broke through the barrier of 800 million international arrivals in 2005, reaching 842 million in 2006. UNWTO figures show that this increase represents over 20% growth since 2004, equivalent to 150 million additional visitors. Africa registered the strongest growth as it had also done in 2005. Asia Pacific also posted outstanding results and the Middle East proved remarkably resilient in spite of the upheavals being experienced by the region.

See other recent news regarding: MasterCard, U21 Global, Survey, Research, Tourism, Women

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