A new joint Georgian-French Master Degree Program in Tourism gives students of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) a unique opportunity to gain theoretical and practical knowledge. A presentation of the program created through collaboration between TSU and Lumière University Lyon 2 was held at Tbilisi State University on October 23. Rector of TSU, George Sharvashidze, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Natia Turnava, Ambassador of France to Georgia, Diego Colas, Program Manager, TSU Professor Ioseb Khelashvili and students attended the event.
Rector George Sharvashidze said that graduates of the Georgian-French program will be the first in the region to receive double diplomas of TSU Masters in Tourism and Lumière University Lyon 2 Masters in Tourism and Cultural Heritage. He also noted that several new Georgian-French joint programs are planned to be implemented in the future. “Most interesting is that students will undergo the program’s practical part at French tourist companies. It will be a unique opportunity for TSU students to familiarize themselves with French tourism industry and use the experience gained in France in their homeland,” Rector Sharvashidze noted.
Economy Minister Natia Turnava noted that the joint master degree program will promote training of highly skilled staff in the sphere of tourism. “Let me congratulate TSU on this excellent program in tourism as well as in the sphere of tourism and cultural heritage. This is the sphere, which regardless of all the challenges faced by tourism industry and Georgia, will be dynamic and successful in the future. We are doing our best to train new, highly qualified staff with European-style education. I am sure that this initiative will be successful. Let me congratulate students on this day and wish them success,” Turnava said.
French Ambassador Diego Colas also congratulated students on their enrollment and spoke about future collaboration with TSU. He hailed Georgia’s initiative to develop modern, high quality and green tourism as very important and interesting.
Program Manager Ioseb Khelashvili said that the master degree program in tourism will promote training of the staff with deep and systemic knowledge of tourism business oriented to cultural heritage, highly responsible and competitive staff equipped with all necessary skills. “We decided to focus on the practical side of the program and choose the best practice at Lumière University Lyon 2. The MA degree program is very interesting and we spent a lot of time on its development. New, innovative subjects will be taught here that will make students highly competitive on the market.”
The first cohort of students was enrolled in the program in 2020. Natia Goguadze is one of those 13 students who were enrolled in the program. She said that the joint MA program will enable her and other students to meet all requirements of local and international markets. “It is a unique opportunity for Georgian students to gain international experience at the university like Lumière University Lyon 2. Currently, tourism and hospitality industry is facing huge challenges. Today as never before, it is essential to train competent, professional staff with international experience and involve them in tourism industry,” Goguadze added.