172 Letter from Hale Özgit
Dear future successful tourism women researchers,
First and foremost, I must express my great pleasure at being a part of such an exciting project.
I grew up knowing the food and beverage industry and then observing the operation of hotels as the daughter of a chef. As an island citizen, I used to believe that tourism was defined by sand, sun, and sea as a fact of life, but as I grew older, I realised that this was not the case. As a Turkish Cypriot living in the northern part of the island of Cyprus, I grew up with the political problem known as the post-1974 Cyprus problem, and I always thought that tourism was one of the most important sectors that could be used as a global peace tool. Of course, I was thinking about why, how, and in what ways the development of a sector capable of carrying out this role in the fields of the environment, workforce, history, cultural heritage, and many others can be realised, particularly for small island countries. My perspective on events and phenomena was always a guide as I progressed in my academic life to the point of questioning and research, thanks to my invaluable teachers who guided me to constantly read and research the importance of scientific research while I was still a tourism undergraduate student. It was difficult to look at the right point, ask the right question at the point I was looking at, and then question and examine that point further. My passion for research, learning, and teaching was the only thing that made my job easier.
The most important journey in this process took place while I was researching my doctoral thesis. It was a journey that had no end from time to time. Sometimes it was a long tunnel where I caught a tiny light, and sometimes I felt like a genius who had accomplished very important things (genius may have been a little ironic; the fun is free:)). However, the final product that emerged was my own and the most important proof of my success. My PhD thesis is based on my research and publications in the field of tourism education. With the perspectives of various stakeholders, I evaluated the skills that should be gained through higher education in order to train the workforce in the sector. With the idea that the importance of collaboration, which emerged from my research, should be discussed in all fields, I attempted to demonstrate how important collaboration will be for the future of sustainable tourism.
It is a long journey to the end of research. I pursue multidisciplinary studies for only one reason: my enthusiasm for learning, which is the most important thing accompanying me on this journey. The relationships between events and phenomena of individuals who have received education in the tourism field, who work as trainers, who work in the industry, and most importantly, who conduct research. It is inherent to this industry to interpret and analyse the effects of diverse fields and industries. I have no doubt that you, as strong female researchers of the present and the future, will continue to believe in yourself, question events and facts, learn and convey what you have learned. It is invaluable to be a part of it, which makes it very proud that women take part in all branches of science, incrementally and exponentially. For the continuation of this, I would like to emphasize the importance of questioning everything in social life in order to connect social sciences with other disciplines and sail to new horizons, with the hope of increasing the joint work and research of women in such projects.
I wish you endless success in your long and enjoyable research journey.
With best wishes from Cyprus.
Cyprus International University, Cyprus