Tuesday, 30 May 2017

THE year that was! 👏



Educational Excellence Through Tourism, Hospitality and Events Trips and Experiences 🌍👌

It has been a busy year for Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management (THE) students; isn’t it always?  The students have run live events, such as The End Game, been nominated for national industry awards, observed demonstrations and welcomed a wide range of industry speakers, including those pitching for new staff at our careers event. Of course, some of our students weren’t with us at our main campus in Preston, but were instead on a year-long placement or spending their second year at our Cyprus campus, for example Sofia Nawaz.

One of the most valued sources of course enrichment are the various trips, which run through the year.  The domestic day trips are too numerous to list here but they included a visit to The Hotel Gotham, Manchester, and tour of The Lakes District’s heritage and tourism industry. 


                 T.H.E students experiencing a street art tour and workshop in Berlin - Banksy who?

However, the overseas trips generate the most excitement. Our students have had the chance to get involved with masterclasses and cultural exchanges in Europe as well as leadership development programmes and exchanges in Cyprus and China. The most popular oversea trips are those that are aimed at the whole group.  The destinations do vary but this year our first year THE students visited Berlin, the second years visited Iceland and the final years visited Cambodia.

                                                 Students at Taproh Temple in Cambodia 

                                      Students experiencing a cultural exchange in China! 

                                                         Students layered up in Iceland!

Our 2nd year students wrote blogs about their recent trip, here is one from Cassandra!


Our philosophy is that you cannot teach the finer points of the visitor and experience economy without offering visits and international experiences!  We want our courses to be great educational experiences that give a real understanding of 21st century industry and society. 
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Friday, 5 May 2017

Tourism, Hospitality & Event's Make a Difference in Cambodia! ✈ 💚





Week 1: Green Gecko Project

The division of Tourism, Hospitality and Events recently travelled to Cambodia with final year students for 2 weeks, with Amanda Payne and Dr Daniel Wright.  The aim and purpose of this educational visit was to continue the university support for the Green Gecko Project and to expose students to industry related experiences in Siem Reap.

Final year tourism, hospitality and event management students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have raised over £48,000 for the Green Gecko Project – a school that supports children who previously lived and begged on the streets of Siem Reap, Cambodia. Fundraisers this year raised an impressive £4000+ through a series of events designed to test their management, organisational and team work skill. Events included a casino night, pool and football tournaments, a masked ball, inter-University dance competition, music events and a murder mystery night.

Green Gecko:

"We rely so heavily on donations such as this to keep the hospice running and we simply wouldn’t be here without support such as this from the local community."
 

The Green Gecko Project provides an important learning opportunity for students to apply numerous management skills including team work, planning, project management, communication and problem solving. It also provides an opportunity to learn the significance of corporate and social responsibility, an important subject in today’s business environment.

The students were exposed and challenged by a variety of working activities whist at the Green Gecko Project, such as teaching local students, working on a local farm, learning handicraft trades and skills, organising and taking part in sporting activities, and been taught some local Khmer by the children. Here are some of the final year students comments on their experiences:



Shivani Nathoo

“The one week that I spent in the Green Gecko School was one the most memorable aspects of the trip. The children are all very friendly and most could speak a good amount of English. I spoke to quite a few of the Gecko kids, they talked about their background and how they came about being part of this school. Many of the kids have big ambitions and have a bright vision of their future. Some of their visions include studying or taking up a career in the fields of business, marketing, dentistry, law, midwifery, tourism and much more. Some of the kids have already achieved so much and have a life-changing story to tell. Although they go to school 6 days a week, a few of the older children even have part-time jobs to support their families. Another fact that I noticed from these children is that they lead a simple life. They have very little yet they always share and are in fact happier than some people in the western worlds.  Personally, I learnt a lot from these children just by talking to them. The fact that they know exactly what they want in life, their motivation and drive to achieve their dreams really inspired me and reflect back to myself about what plans I have for my future”.


Hannah Fallows

“My favourite aspect of Green Gecko was working closely with the kids. On our third day, we each got to read 1 to 1 with them and get to know them more as individuals which was lovely. On the fourth day, we had an English, maths and PE class where the kids were able to teach us about the Khmer culture. Finally, on the fifth day, we conducted an arts class with the kids, which they absolutely loved! Working closely with the kids was an experience, which I highly doubt I will ever get the chance to do again and I am so pleased that I took the module. Working closely with such positive children was so refreshing and allowed me to consider my own life back home and realise quite how lucky I am. Green Gecko is a fascinating place and really allowed me to reflect upon my own life back home and compare certain aspects to those in Cambodia.”

Week 2: Industry exposure in Siem Reap

According to Lonely Planet Siem Reap is:

“The life-support system and gateway for the temples of Angkor, Siem Reap was always destined for great things. Visitors come here to see the temples, of course, but there is plenty to do in and around the city when you're templed out. Siem Reap has reinvented itself as the epicentre of chic Cambodia, with everything from backpacker party pads to hip hotels, world-class wining and dining across a range of cuisines, sumptuous spas, great shopping, local tours to suit both foodies and adventurers, and a creative cultural scene that includes Cambodia's leading circus.”


During the second part of their trip students got to explore the true Cambodia, they visited, the Killing Fields Site, Landmine Museum, Angkor Wat and Tonle Sap, Buddhist temples and monasteries, butterfly centres, learnt local crafts and skills with at the Backstreet Academy, and experienced the Cambodia circus and much more. The second week also allowed students to work towards research topics as part of their module assessments. Here students conducted research into various topics such as authenticity, service quality, orphanage tourism and volunteerism, education and development and political challenges, all within the context of their degree specialism.
 
Kelly-Marie Staunton

“As an International Hospitality Management student, I visited the five star Grand d’Angkor Hotel as part of my research project, and experienced Cambodian hospitality. Visiting the d’Angkor hotel was insightful, with a five-star experience, and service quality. In Cambodia, I also visited local restaurant, which served fresh food from scratch, and was priced at $3.00-$5.00 a dish. Despite Cambodia being a third world country, the hospitality service was exceptional, and the staff were very passionate about delivering five-star quality service. Whilst experiencing the hospitality services in Cambodia, it was insightful to see the differences compared to the UK such as; serving cold towels to freshen up before dining, clearing plates away before the other guest have finished, and understanding the mannerisms such as; placing two hands together to thank the staff”. “The night markets were a local attraction aimed at international tourists, with local delicacies, insects to be consumed. The insects were on sale to target tourists, whereas the locals do not consume them. I sampled the spider and scorpion, which both tasted like deep fried BBQ food.”

Sammie - Jo Jackson

“The tourist experience in Cambodia was different for each place we visited, but all rich in culture. In visiting a third world country, we were exposed to a different language, sights, smells and people. An essential part of visiting and exploring a new country is the opportunity to experience cultural differences and the experiences we were given had the ability to change our outlook on life and were very valuable! We visited local Buddhist temples and got blessed by a Monk. We entered the temples barefoot, sat down and prayed - whilst the Monks chanted prayers of wishing us happiness, luck and prosperity in life, before blessing us (remembered by a good luck bracelet). Tonle Sap was also very moving and a highlight to see ‘the way the other half live’, whatever floats your boat - literally! A floating man made village and a life on the water, all made by their own resources, made many of us very emotional to see how much we take for granted. The Killing Fields and Landmine museum was also very educational and a realisation at that, extremely personal to be able to read the stories of people in the landmine museum and a few more tears were definitely shed again!”
  
“Cambodia was a life-changing experience, as it gave me an insight into what another hospitality culture is like.” Kelly-Marie Staunton.

“Overall amazing and life changing experience, definitively given me a new outlook on life and would do it all again in a heartbeat” Sammie - Jo Jackson.

“Overall, the trip was exciting, thought provoking and most definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity!” Hannah Fallows.

 
“To the 11 final years students who approached every challenge with a positive attitude; UCLan, the School of Management and division of T.H.E for supporting the field visit; the travel office for their hard work in logistical planning; to the Green Gecko Project for accommodating us; all T.H.E final year students for raising money is supporting such an inspiration project, and everyone else at UCLan and in Cambodia who has supported and assisted in this successful and life changing opportunity… a massive thank you for all of us!!!” Amanda Payne and Daniel Wright.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Tourism, Hospitality & Event Management 1st years visit Berlin ✈




The division of Tourism, Hospitality and Events recently travelled to Berlin for four days with its first-year students, Dr Dan Wright and Dr David Jarratt. The aim of this educational visit was to expose students to an on-trend city break destination which hosts various forms of culturally based tourism and events. According to Lonely Planet:

‘Berlin's combo of glamour and grit is bound to mesmerise anyone keen to explore its vibrant culture, cutting-edge architecture, fabulous food, intense parties and tangible history.’

Based upon our experience, we have to agree (except perhaps for the parties). Furthermore, Berlin’s visitor economy is a growth area and a priority for the city. Berlin's governing mayor, Michael Müller describes tourism as a success story which is:

…an important economic factor for our city and an important element for promoting our culture.’

During the first full day of the trip, the Tourism, Hospitality & Event Management students took a city walking tour. This started with a visit to the top of the TV Tower, formerly of East Berlin, to enjoy panoramic views of the city’s skyline. The tour encompassed key tourism attractions such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and the Jewish memorial. The tour also included less obvious attractions varying from an incredible chocolate shop to the flats which mark the site of Hitler’s bunker. The tour was kindly led by Asaf Leshem, a UCLan PhD student in the Dark Tourism and professional tour guide in Berlin. 



The second day featured a graffiti / street art and walking tour and workshop. Students learnt how to make their own street art and gained insights into this distinctive arts movement, which has become part of the fabric of Berlin as well as an increasingly significant element of its alternative/cultural tourism offer. One student, Paulina, said:

'I have been to Berlin many times, but it was interesting to explore the alternative tourist attractions in Berlin like the graffiti tour. It was an amazing eye opening experience.'

Evening entertainment included a mixture of theatrical displays and restaurant experiences. The students particularly enjoyed the ‘Blue Man Group’ show, which has now been seen by over 25 million people worldwide. This popular but left-field show is comedic, musical and visually stunning.  It relied on mime and so could be appreciated by an international audience.  Even those students with conservative tastes appreciated the unique experience / U.S.P.s it offered – something which is often stressed in our classrooms when we discuss the experience economy. 

 

Opposite the Blue Man Group theatre is a venue associated with the Berlin Film festival, The Sony Centre, which was another point on our itinerary.  It contains a mixture of restaurants, shops, a conference centre, hotel rooms, luxurious rented suites, art and film museums, cinemas, and an IMAX theatre.  Here the whole group indulged in a meal at the Lindenbräu restaurant. On the menu, local specials, regional delicacies and German beer which is brewed on site. The Hospitality students, in particular,  were in their element.
 



Part of the visit to Berlin included the investigation of destination and place branding. Students were not only required to physically explore places on this trip, but to reflect upon their own sense of place and relate this to destination branding. This was facilitated through various individual and group activities in a ‘Sense of Place Workshop’ run by David and Dan on the third day. The workshop culminated in the students devising, presenting and defending their proposals for a new place brand for Berlin. This work will prove invaluable when they come to study cultural tourism & events, the experience economy, place branding and marketing in the future. The venue for this workshop was interesting in itself, it was the NHOW conference centre & hotel – apparently, Europe’s first ‘musical hotel’. 


The afternoon of the third day allowed the students some free time to explore, with some visiting the Olympic Stadium, and others preferring museums such as the DDR, the Topography of Terror, or the infamous Bodyworlds exhibition. On the fourth day, the weather cleared up and the group returned home!

Dr David Jarratt commented that,

‘Dan and I think that this was a great visit for the students who not only learnt about various aspects of the experience, cultural and visitor economy, but also bonded and developed a stronger sense of group belonging. All of this should help them on their journey through the next two or three years on their Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management programmes. We’d like to thank our division & school for supporting this invaluable trip’

For more information and images from this trip please look at #BerlinTHE17 on our '@THE_UCLan' Twitter or our 'the_uclan' Instagram.