The Hogan Family Foundation Travel and Tourism Mobile Classroom made its way back to the Texas Tech campus Monday.

However, this time the sessions addressed new concerns that have been brought about because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In March, the 45-foot-long motor coach made its first trip to Tech. The motor coach serves as a classroom that travels the country informing people about the travel and tourism industry and helping those who are pursuing a career in the field find jobs.

The mobile classroom?s trip to Tech is sponsored by the restaurant, hotel and institutional management program, which held classes throughout the day in the coach.

While the presentation featured the same video as shown during previous visits, the program was slightly different to answer questions and help students decipher fact from rumor concerning the status of America?s economy and travel and tourism industry.

Marianne Coulson and her husband, Larry, live on the motor coach nine months of the year touring and educating people.

During a presentation Monday, Marianne Coulson said although many companies have downsized since the attacks and the travel industry has received a lot of negative publicity, companies are bouncing back and jobs are available.

"I see the industry being just as promising as it was six months ago," she said.

At the beginning of each class, Marianne Coulson asked for questions or concerns from students about getting a job in the industry. She reassured students that although the travel industry is changing, they are in a good position to receive a job when they get out of school.

Although Marianne Coulson said travel industry is recovering, she said it would be a slow process. Car rentals will recover faster than air travel, she said.

"How soon people get comfortable traveling again depends on how quickly the industry recovers," she said.

Larry Coulson said the attacks made him more aware of the impact the travel and tourism industry has on America.

"I have heard more about travel and tourism in the last month than I have in the last year," he said. "People are realizing what the industry does for their lives and the economy."

During the last part of the presentation, students were shown a list of Web sites with information about the travel and tourism industry as well as current job postings.

Kendall Cox, a senior RHIM major from Austin, went to one of the presentations and said she thought the information presented was helpful for people starting out in the field.

"I?m a senior and getting ready to leave, so I am not really concerned about not finding a job, but for younger people entering the field some of the stuff (Marianne Coulson) gave us could really help," she said.

Cox said although the Coulsons gave a lot of information on how to find a job, it is only the beginning.

"They gave a lot of good, helpful information and that is a starting point," she said. "Now that you have a place to start you have to be responsible for getting the ball rolling. This is good, but is only a starting point."

Larry Coulson said students seem optimistic about the industry?s recovery and their job possibilities.

"We see that things have changed and we just need to apply ourselves differently now than we would have six weeks ago," he said. "We are taking a proactive, positive part in this and I think that is what America needs to do."

(2) comments


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