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Hospitality and tourism education in an emerging digital economy

This research article examines the impact of disruptive digital technologies on hospitality and tourism education (HTE) in Malaysia. With the rapid advancement of digital technologies and the emergence of the sharing economy, the hospitality and tourism industry faces new challenges and opportunities. This study aims to address the strategic industry challenge of developing new education frameworks for curriculum development in HTE. The research investigates the key digital literacy and employability skills required by students and educators, as well as industry practitioners’ perspectives on the digital technology needs of the Malaysian hospitality and tourism industry in an emerging digital economy. The findings highlight the importance of integrating digital technology skills, such as mobile technologies, automation, cloud technology, and big data, into HTE curriculum development. Industry practitioners emphasize the need for both hard and soft skills, operational and strategic skills, and the ability to adapt to disruptive innovations such as the sharing economy, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. The study proposes an innovative technologies framework for curriculum development in HTE, aligning with the Malaysia Education Blueprint’s emphasis on excellence in higher education and the demands of the digital environment. This research contributes to the development of education frameworks that equip graduates with the necessary skills to thrive in the digitally-focused hospitality and tourism industry. Further research is recommended to validate and refine the findings and engage relevant stakeholders in shaping the future of HTE in Malaysia.