Funding provided by the BU Fusion Investment Fund will allow us to present our research idea at an international conference. The project addresses the “present- absent” paradox of sexual harassment in tourism and hospitality. The prevalence of sexual harassment in the tourism and hospitality industry and other related sectors (such as, cruise lines and airlines) is widely recognised. Studies indicate that the rate of incidents reported (by both men and women) is twice as high in comparison to other service industries, and that in most cases managers and peers are the harassers. In spite of this, the subject has been overlooked by tourism research and higher education alike.
The proposed project raises the need to explore the potential of higher education in generating social change, by providing students with the foundations for responsible and ethical management. The research aims to provide an understanding of the current state of tourism higher education in relation sexual harassment issues and the manner in which higher education can contribute to mitigating this negative phenomenon. As such, it will contribute to shaping the higher education curriculum in a manner which will prepare students to “the real world”, as well as address the needs of the industry. In the long run, this project has implications for the wellbeing of tourism employees and providers.
To achieve this, we seek the collaboration of tourism practitioners, students and educators. We hope that with the help of the Fusion Fund and through this conference presentation we will establish a network of collaborators to advance this research and pursue a research grant. The FIF team were extremely helpful in the application process, and the Fusion Fund has provided a great “kick start” to our new project!