A new GTTP Hong Kong Teachers’ Cruise Operations training day was successfully held last month.
Supported by Dream Cruises and its local sales agent (Lotus Tours), a group of 25 GTTP teachers as well as myself embarked their new ship “Genting Dream Cruise” with cocktail receptions provided.
Dream Cruises, debuted in November 2016, is the first-ever Asian luxury cruise line that chose its homeport in Hong Kong this season and runs an itinerary within the South China Sea as well as to Japan.
Right after an intensive 3-hour Ship Walk tour, we visited the Hong Kong Cruise & Yacht Industry Association (located in the Cruise Terminal) to better understand the education and career planning opportunities for hospitality and tourism students in Hong Kong.
We also took the opportunity of this occasion to promote all four GTTP student competitions to encourage greater participation.
In 2011 when I was in my first year of high school, I was invited by my cousin, who was then taking a tourism course, to participate in a travel education program by the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership (GTTP). Until then, the tourism industry was quite unknown to me and I didn’t have much idea what it was about. In this program, I developed over a whole year a detailed case study on Tourism and Festivals, having chosen the history of the Brazilian Carnaval as the theme.
At the end of the year, the Brazil team, of which I was part, was invited to present our project in Monaco and represent our own country in an international student/teacher conference organized by the GTTP. At the event, contact with other cultures and my first steps in the English language changed my perception of the world, which contributed decisively in my personal, intellectual and professional formation.
From this trip, I realized that I had found my first signs of the professional career that I wanted to build and follow, which determined the tourism course I chose for university. I currently study Tourism Management at FATEC São Paulo, a very broad course that allows us to work in the most diverse areas of this profession, such as agencies, hotels, cruises, airlines and others. During the course, which provides for a mandatory internship, I had the opportunity offered by FATEC to train in hotels in France.
The fact of having established relationships with different people from various parts of the world in Monaco and keeping them in touch through the internet facilitated my contact and my learning of other languages besides English, such as French and Italian.
I completed my internship program in France in 2016, working during the European summer season in a hotel-restaurant called Les Saints Pères, based the French Alps region. During the time I spent there I performed diverse tasks, both in the hotel, as chamberlain, and in the restaurant, as a waiter, where I spent most of the time. The tasks basically consisted of performing all the functions related to the preparation and service of the restaurant and the events in general.
From these two experiences I was sure that I had chosen the most favorable career that fits my profile because I can use my language skills and work with different cultures in an area that still has a lot to be developed and explored in Brazil.
Throughout 2016, the Global Travel Tourism Partnership team and community have celebrated the foundation’s 20 years of success in teaching more than 2 million high school and tertiary students about travel, tourism and hospitality careers as well as sustainability issues.
In Part 1 of our retrospective, we feature highlights of our exciting events and activities that took place from January to June 2016 to mark our 20th Anniversary. Keep a lookout for Part 2 coming out soon, which will cover events from July to December 2016.
We were honored with special words from Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), who said:
“Tourism’s true value is in its people. UNWTO, as the United Nations Specialized Agency for Tourism, would like to congratulate the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership for the immense contribution it has made over the last 20 years to tourism development by educating youth around the world on the potential of a career in tourism.”
We issued a press release with Mr Rifai’s quote along with additional supporting remarks from our GTTP Advisory Board Members, and unveiled our special 20th Anniversary logo and fact sheet.
GTTP Philippines, with Nur Laminero as the Director, officially launched through the sponsorship of dnata, a GTTP Global Partner. Dr. Attila Horvath, the GTTP Hungary director (pictured on the far right), conducted training for the dnata Travel trainers to create a core team to conduct a knowledge transfer to the partner schools throughout the rest of the year.
GTTP Hong Kong, which is led by Director Chammy Lau, held a seminar to provide students the opportunity to meet with travel industry partners in a casual and relaxed setting. In addition, industry experts shared some of their thoughts in two panel discussions: “Role of National Tourists Office on destination promotion for both leisure and business travel” and “Impacts of Travel Technology on the changing role of travel intermediates.” A cake cutting ceremony rounded off the 20th Anniversary birthday celebration.
At this two-day event held by GTTP Russia, students were given a challenge and a limited amount of time to develop a viable business concept related to Heritage Tourism. Yulia Khivantseva, HR Manager, CWT Russia, wrote about her experiences as a judge at this 20th anniversary celebration event on our blog here. GTTP Russia is directed by Nina Kuznetsova.
In honor of our 20th Anniversary, Dean Forbes, the Chief Executive Officer of KDS, and GTTP Advisory Partner, hosted a Question and Answer session for students and teachers to ask for his views on careers in travel and tourism. The event was held via Twitter, a social media format where people post “tweets,” a very short communication which may contain photos, videos, links and up to 140 characters of text.
As a result the campaign generated 57,603 impressions with 15,230 accounts reached. In addition the GTTP attracted 22 more Twitter followers.
In South Africa, twenty tourism teachers from 20 schools attended a 2 day content, assessment and methodology training session. GTTP’s South Africa Director Elsabé Engelbrecht developed the training manual and materials and acted as facilitator. The teachers who successfully completed the program received an International GTTP certificate.
GTTP East Africa held a 20th Anniversary Celebration event in Nairobi, Kenya. Speakers included officials from the Ministries of Tourism and Education. Key stakeholders addressed the students from 12 member schools. Overall the event was very well received and all our partners and stakeholders were highly impressed with how the program is working with the students. As a result some new partners are ready and willing to participate in the program. GTTP East Africa includes Kenya and Tanzania. The Director of GTTP East Africa and Kenya is Joseph Okelo.
GTTP Canada posted congratulatory messages and celebrated the relationship between the Canadian Academy of Travel and Tourism and the GTTP on social media and in their communications materials, particularly during Canada’s National Tourism Week, May 29 – June 4, 2016. The Director of GTTP Canada is Heather Elder.
In 2016, the Global Travel Tourism Partnership notched up 20 years of success in teaching more than 2 million high school and tertiary students about travel, tourism and hospitality careers as well as sustainability issues.
In Part 2 of our retrospective, we feature activities and events held from July to December 2016 to mark our 20th Anniversary.
In Tanzania, members of GTTP Club from Aaron Harris Second School, celebrated the GTTP’s 20th Anniversary by visiting the Tourism Sector Fair in Dar es salaam on 4th July 2016. The intention of this visit was to learn the academic requirements for joining Tourism Training Institutions and labour opportunities in the Tourism sector. The GTTP Director of Tanzania is Halima Mohamed Mamuya.
The Sziget Festival – one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe – is held every August in northern Budapest, Hungary. As part of the GTTP 20th Anniversary celebrations, GTTP Hungary invited students to enter a competition to win tickets to the event.
Two pairs of students won and both pairs prepared a video of their time at the amazing festival. Pictured here are Luca Nagy and Enikő Löbl from an excerpt of their video. (Luca was also one of the Hungarian winners of the Research Award for 2016).
In Ireland, the GTTP Student Research competition is now featured in Tourism Insight, an education program that provides valuable tourism insights to transition year students and other learners, informing them of career options within the tourism industry.
The new initiative was developed by the Irish Hospitality Institute in collaboration with the Institute of Technology Tralee with the support of Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation.
The initiative was formally launched nationwide 29th September 2016 by the Minister of State for Tourism, Patrick O’Donovan.
Joe Dolan, President IHF
Mary Rose Stafford, Institute of Technology Tralee, Minister of State for Tourism
Patrick O’Donovan T.D
Natasha Kinsella, FIHI, (Programme Co-Founder) Regional Skills Manager Dublin and GTTP Ireland Director
John Mulcahy, Failte Ireland
On October 1st, 2016, GTTP Brazil organized a half-day conference celebrating the International Day of Tourism held on Sept 27th. Alberto Martins, the President of GTTP Brazil, spoke to an audience of 45 students about Tourism and the need for talented young people to join the industry.
There were also presentations on the GTTP and Passport to the World, and then students were invited to share their impressions with colleagues and teachers.
Each year the GTTP holds a competition for the best school research project. In honor of the 20th Anniversary, “Heritage Tourism” was chosen as the research topic for 2016.
Twenty high school and tertiary students from 10 countries were selected as the 2016 Student Research Competition winners out of some 2,000 entries. The students presented their research findings at the GTTP’s annual student/teacher conference Nice, France. Each country was represented by two student research partners from schools which use GTTP’s Passport to the World travel and tourism educational curriculum.
The winning pupils discussed how Heritage Tourism can attract more visitors and enhance the tourist experience in their respective countries. The students also explained their views on the role of sustainability and technology in supporting heritage tourism development.
The countries represented this year by the students and their accompanying teachers included: Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Jamaica, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, and Tanzania.
By Sally Faith Omollo and Eilleen Namaindi Wamalwa, GTTP Kenya students
Our journey to China began in 2014, when GTTP Kenya broke to us the awesome news that we would be beneficiaries of a four year full scholarship program at the Tourism College of Zhejiang China. It took some time to gather all the required documents and follow up the required procedures, but finally, on the 8th of March 2015, we set off to China.
It was quite an emotional moment, leaving behind our families, friends and loved ones in order to pursue our dreams in the tourism industry, but it was worth it because we would come back home, better and more productive people to the society.
ADJUSTING TO LIFE IN CHINA
The first thing we had to do in order to settle well in China, make friends and communicate with the Chinese people was to learn the Chinese language. We spent our first semester in the elementary Chinese class, learning the basic communication words, and the basic characters. This was so much fun, because the teachers provided a very friendly learning environment, and the students were also very friendly to us.
MAKING FRIENDS WITH OTHER CHINESE STUDENTS AND FOREIGN STUDENTS
One thing that has made our stay in China very interesting is the fact that we have been able to interact well with both Chinese and foreign students, and have been able to make very good friends with them. Our Chinese friends have been very helpful in that they always create time to help us practice our Chinese. The other foreign friends have also been helpful because whenever we meet, we share different things about our countries, and in this way, we acquire a vast range of knowledge concerning the different cultural practices in different countries. At times, we also cook and share the different types of foods and snacks from our countries
PARTICIPATING IN CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Apart from studies, the school has also been very efficient in ensuring that we take part in other co-curricular activities such as school trips, sports and attending traditional Chinese culture performances. We find this very exciting because we love exploring and experiencing different things. The co-curricular activities are also important since they make your mind think outside the classroom environment and it is what got us the opportunity to be here in China.
Every semester, we attend at least 2 field trips, organized by the school, in which we visit different historical places, both within and outside Hangzhou. The first ever field trip we took part in was in one of the best parks in Hangzhou. We have also had a chance to visit some famous places in China such as the Thousand Island lake, (Qiandao Hu), The grand Canal of China, the famous green tea museum, the traditional Chinese villages, the bird park…..etc.
One of our most memorable trips was when we visited a famous building that is an exact copy of the Tianamen square in Beijing.
After that, we proceeded on to visiting the famous home for Chinese stars (a Chinese version of Hollywood) where we watched different breath taking performances, and learnt so much more about the Chinese culture, as well as the Chinese people. We also had a chance of witnessing a horse race, that was related to an ancient Chinese story.
During our first months in China, we also took part in a government-organised field trip, in which we visited ancient streets of Hangzhou, and witnessed the performance of the Beijing Opera. This was a very exciting experience since we got the chance to gain some knowledge on the ancient people’s way of life as well as witness some of the ancient performances that are highly valued in China.
We also visited the Chinese hospitals, and were taken through some medical procedures of Chinese medical treatment, such as acupuncture. After that, we were given free Chinese medicine, which we carried back to school. The medicine was so useful, especially for curing colds.
Since our country Kenya is well known for its sporty nature, we took up the task of flying our country’s flag higher by indulging in sports. We have taken part in different types of sports, both within and outside school. The sports activities outside school have been the most exciting since we get to meet and interact with other people from other countries. There are moments when we have even met students from Tanzania, a country neighbouring Kenya.
The most common forms of sports we have taken part in include: marathon, short races, skipping rope, tug of war and basketball. In all the sports, we have always brought out the best in us. The best activity was a marathon race organised by yunqi where we came back home with medals.
One of the most exciting co-curricular activities we took part in was the cooking competition. This was a competition organised by the school. Participants were in groups of twos, in which we were required to cook a special type of meal from our home town. The judges were top chefs from the school’s culinary department. We presented the special Swahili style Kenyan food, that comprised fried Kenyan rice, chicken stew, and some freshly blended mango juice, and that took us all the way to the second best position. We were then awarded certificates and some money as a token of appreciation for the good work and the delicious food we made.
HOW WE SPEND OUR FREE TIME
Since each new day always brings something new to us, we always spend our free time by doing something different each time. One of the things we spend our free time doing include: finishing up assignments, cleaning and organising the room, attending Chinese shows, going to the theatre for movies, attending shows organized by the school that teach us more about Chinese culture, going to church to worship, since we are Christians, visiting unique places walking on the beautiful streets at Hangzhou, while admiring how beautiful the city is, both during the day and at night, and spending time with our friends.
SUMMER AND WINTER VACATION INTERNSHIPS
GTTP, in collaboration with the school, have always made an effort to secure for us internship positions at some of the top most 5 star hotels during the winter and summer holidays. So far, we have worked as interns in three different international five star hotels. We had our first and the most amazing summer internship experience at The Dragon Hotel, Hangzhou. While at The Dragon, we managed to work in different departments such as front office, foods and beverages, sales and marketing, house keeping department and the human resource department. The most amazing part of it all is that during the whole 2 month internship period, we were residing at one of the guest rooms in the hotel.
While at Dragons, we acquired so much knowledge concerning the different departments, from the staff workmanship, to the management.This knowledge has been of help during our hotel management classes since we can relate to what is being taught. During the last two weeks, we were also given a chance to lead an English training program for staff members at the hotel. It felt awesome to share our English knowledge with others and help them improve their spoken English.
Our second summer, vacation was at an exclusive hotel, called Hangzhou, Linan, Tuankou Radon Hotspring Hotel. The most unique feature of this hotel is that it is a hot spring hotel, and the hot springs are all natural. We were honored to work at the executive lounge of the hotel, where in most instances, we handled the VIP guests. One thing that made our stay in this hotel interesting was the exclusive attitude of the guests and staff members towards us. The other interesting thing about Tuankou Hotel was the fact that there were very many foreigners working as staff, so that created a home environment, and made us feel at home. During the low seasons, the hotel could give us the chance to enjoy some of the guest facilities such as the water park, the hot springs and the swimming pools.
Our first winter vacation internship was at the Zhejiang Tourism Grand Hotel This was a whole new experience since we were handling cabin crew members of different flights and travelling guests. While at this prestigious hotel, we worked at one department, which is the foods and beverages department. Most of our shifts were the early morning shifts, from 6.00 am to 2.00 pm. It was a great working with very hard working and inspiring staff members for 1 and a half months, and before we knew it, winter vacation was over, and we had to come back to school.
Living in China has been and still is an experience of a lifetime. We have made very good friends, who have turned out to be our families, and we really can’t imagine what it will be like leaving them behind when we finally go back home.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the entire GTTP fraternity and the management of Tourism College of Zhejiang for giving us this lifetime opportunity. We would also like to thank our teachers and friends who have made our stay in China awesome!
Between the 2nd and 6th of December, the GTTP (Global Travel and Tourism Partnership) welcomed students and teachers from around the world to our annual research competition and awards, hosted by Amadeus and Starwood, at the Amadeus Executive Briefing Centre and Meridien Hotel Nice.
This year’s theme – Heritage Tourism – honoured GTTP’s 20th Anniversary celebrations and looked at how Heritage Tourism can attract more visitors and enhance the tourist experience in their respective countries.
Twenty students were selected as the 2016 Student Research Competition winners from over 2,000 entries. Over the two days the students presented heritage tourism sites in their countries – Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Jamaica, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, and Tanzania. Supported by their teachers the young people shared their research, little known facts about “off the beaten track” sites and their suggestions for improvements of tourism while also including interactive games to involve the audience.
In addition to the opportunity to represent their country, students met with peers from around the globe, experienced different cultures, benefitted from the facilities of Amadeus’ high-tech customer briefing centre and were also given a tour of a world class hotel where they learned first-hand about work in travel and tourism.
Michel Taride, Chairman of the GTTPAdvisory Board and Group President, Hertz International commented, “It was very inspiring for all the attendees – students, teachers, directors and Partners alike – to see all these young people presenting a piece of their cultural heritage with pride and passion as part of professional case studies.
This unique event gives great confidence in terms of the future talent that will represent or even lead the Travel and Tourism industry and I am very proud of the work that GTTP does to support these brilliant students.”
The GTTP research competitions are devised to encourage the development of skills these young people will need in their careers, including critical thinking, team collaboration, research, writing and speaking. In addition, they are required to explore and reflect upon topics important to the long-term development of the travel and tourism industry, such as sustainability and technology.
This event supports GTTP’s mission to inspire and enable young people to build careers in Travel and Tourism and we are proud to know that over 2 million students have participated in GTTP programs around the world.
As a GTTP Board Member, I was inspired by the professionalism of these students. The huge effort that went into their research projects was apparent and their ability to delight the audience with facts, animation and humour – not easy when not in your native language – was equally inspiring.
Six of the projects focused on the history of indigenous people from Tanzania, Canada, Brazil, Jamaica, South Africa and Kenya. The blight of slavery and apartheid is an important reminder for current and future generations. The Jamaican message regarding that island’s ethnic mix “Out of many one people” is a timely reminder that we all have a rich genetic history, an important lesson in today’s world.
A quote from the Russian team perfectly summarises a year of preparation culminating in an enriching four day event in Nice, “each place has a story to tell.”
How do you start building a professional Travel & Tourism career in the hospitality industry?
If you are Brando Tang, a graduate hotel trainee at the W Hotel Hong Kong, the short answer is: you get a diploma at a community college with travel and tourism studies, then a management degree at a university while working hard at various hotels to help pay the university fees and gain experience. Then you get hired at the age of 20 as a trainee at W Hotels to learn all aspects of the business.
But where and when does the interest in Travel & Tourism come from?
It is always interesting to hear how people find their careers, so we asked Brando.
Here is what he told the GTTP Blog:
A few years ago, at the age of 16, Brando was a student at the Kwun Tong Government Secondary School in Hong Kong. There he was enrolled in the Tourism and Hospitality Studies (THS) program, which is anchored by the course provided by GTTP Hong Hong.
Brando explained that the THS program is composed of five modules including: Introduction to Tourism, Introduction to Hospitality, Destination Geography, Customer Relations & Services, and Trend & Issues in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
“THS is not just a single academic subject focused on theoretical concepts,” he said. “It covers a wide range of knowledge such as geography, history and humanities. Moreover, part of the syllabus also encapsulates some essential skills in the business world. Not only does the program’s breadth of coverage make it more interesting for the students to study, but also it widens the horizons of students’ understanding of the tourism and hospitality industry.
“The school’s THS program included materials called Passport to The World designed by the GTTP. It has been widely adopted as supplementary learning materials and teaching materials. It opened my eyes to the hospitality industry in other parts of the world.
“I enjoyed very much studying this subject over my 3-year senior secondary school years.”
Question: How did you benefit from that course?
Brando: The course allowed me to acquire the basic understanding of the tourism system which is a pillar of the global world, and specifically enhanced my awareness of the important role of tourism and hospitality industry in Hong Kong. The course also sparked my interest in pursuing my post-secondary study in the tourism and hospitality program.
Much more importantly, it aroused my curiosity about working in the hotel sector.
Why do you think GTTP is a successful program in your school and in Hong Kong?
The GTTP provides a good platform for Hong Kong students to connect with the world and to gain global vision.
What do you like most about the GTTP?
I like how the GTTP continually sponsors three global competitions every year and how the organization gathers students and teachers from around the world to share ideas in relation to tourism and hospitality studies.
In fact, among all 180 local secondary schools in Hong Kong, rarely has there been such an international scale competition involving the collaboration with both industry practitioners and educators from the University level.
It is so great that students can gain international exposure and are able to conduct an in-depth study topic in their own countries that is highly topical within the knowledge and practice of tourism and hospitality industry.
For example, the 2010 GTTP Research Award Competition featured the case study theme of “Green Tourism.” Our team chose Tai Po, a district area of Hong Kong, to examine the possibilities of developing it as a place to promote green tourism in Hong Kong.
What did you like most about the GTTP Research Award Student/Teacher Conference in Munich?
Not only did the conference allow me to share my research findings with all those international counterparts, but also it cultivated my enthusiasm in tourism and hospitality studies.
Le Meridien Munich offered all delegates an exclusive opportunity to explore an array of “back of house” areas that are critical to the operation. By having such a visit, I came to understand that there is a bustle of activity behind the glitz in the hotel. Furthermore, Le Meridien Munich gave a lecture to share the updates of the hotel’s green and sustainable practices.
In addition, I am so grateful that the GTTP had arranged a city tour to the delegates so that we could explore the city’s culture and history. Moreover, the GTTP had also arranged a nice dinner in Munich’s Old Town, with all those committed industry partners (e.g. representatives from American Express, Starwood hotels and other industry partners), which allowed us to learn more deeply from their success story while at the same time enjoying a taste of genuine Bavarian cuisine.
Pictured above: Brando with fellow student research award winners at the 2010 student/teacher conference in Munich
What do you remember most about the GTTP Research competition?
In the very beginning, I participated in the research award competition mainly for fun and my interest in the topic of green tourism, and I never thought that I could represent Hong Kong to attend such an international conference. The moment that the result was announced I was really in shock. I never thought I could have won the competition.
I also remember a quote from my supervisor, Ms Tammy Lee – Your strength isn’t held by you alone, but also by the people who march with you. Honestly, I felt inadequate in the preparation of the research study. I often believe that I was not competitive in comparison with other students. Nevertheless, thanks to Ms Lee’s continual support and guidance, I started to get on the right track. I learned how to collect and analyze data, and to draw a conclusion and recommendation for the study. At last, I could even handle a 30-min oral presentation in front of all students coming from different countries. What a big change in my life!
On the other hand, the GTTP Research competition brought an invaluable eye-opener for me. The competition offered me a rare opportunity to travel. To be honest, it was my first-time experience of taking a long haul flight. I have been only travelled within China and the nearby Asian countries.
Do you stay in touch with any of the students you met at the conference?
I am in touch with Mr. Jezeel Martin, from GTTP Jamaica. Thanks to the technological advancements, the world is getting smaller through the connection of the Internet. I have been in touch with him via Facebook and Instagram. It is always amusing that the Internet allows us to stay connected, chat live, and share pictures.
Another student is Mr. Tom Chan, from Hong Kong, my group mate who worked together with me for the GTTP Research Award competition. Even right now, we keep a close contact although he chooses now to work in different professions other than the hospitality industry.
What do you hope your next assignment will be at W Hotel?
I want to continually grow to be an all-rounded person and take up more new challenges and responsibilities in the years to come. Possibly I would like to participate in cross-training between different hotel departments, such as the rooms division department and marketing. Besides, I would like to take up job placement opportunities in other cities or countries. Being a young man, I am really eager to try different things in my young age.
What are your further career plans?
For my short term career goals, I want to build a strong foundation and to show up my commitment to the hospitality industry, working for a company that I respect, such as W Hong Kong, for a prolonged period.
For my long term career goals, I want get more in-depth understanding of the industry as a whole so that I can accumulate more solid work experience to use as a springboard to different hotel management positions (e.g. work from supervisory level to managerial level in the future).
What do you like about the Hospitality industry?
It is all about diversity and opportunity. The hospitality industry has given me the opportunity to meet and socialize with other people with different cultural backgrounds, different ages, personalities and ethnicities.
Moreover, the industry allows me to develop myself, both in terms of profession and as a person. The industry always presents a strong commitment to bring out the best for the young people through intensive training, career progression opportunity and personal development. Therefore, I believe that I could make use of the dynamic international setting and seize any opportunities provided by the hospitality industry now and in the future.
Visitors come to Sárvár to visit its spa, castle, churches, arboretum, park and lake. The winning student research project from Hungary in 2014 determined that Sárvár would benefit from greater use of QR code* technology enabling visitors to read on their smartphones or tablets about the town’s attractions they visit. The recommendations of the five students who created the project have now been implemented by the tourist town, a fantastic example of how Global Travel and Tourism Partnership pupils can make a positive impact on our society. Here we showcase how the students pursued their concept and convinced the town to adopt their ideas.
How do you take a GTTP competition school project and have it adopted as a citywide series of QR guides for visitors?
Here is an image of five 2014 GTTP students. Two of them are “holding” a QR code, the kind you see pretty much everywhere. A little over a year later you can see 55 of their QR codes all over their hometown of Sárvár, Hungary, where the first book in the country was printed.
The first question here is: how much information about Sárvár, population of about 16,000, can you store on a QR code that is a few centimeters square?
One of the vlog brothers of YouTube fame, Hank Green, calculated you could put “All of Wikipedia on one QR code.” The only problem is that the QR code would have to be 17 kilometers x 17 kilometers square. Actually, that would be just the beginning problem. The next one is where would you put your Smart phone and its QR code scanner? (Hint: the Moon). After that it gets complicated. It’s a funny video.
The five Hungarian students at the Tinódi Sebestyén Grammar School, which specializes in tourism studies, were more realistic. They had entered the 2014 GTTP Research Competition. The topic that year was “Technology and Sustainable Tourism.” They had read about QR codes and they decided the technology could be used to provide information easily and quickly to visitors. Take out your Smartphone or tablet that contains a QR code-reading app, then point it at the black and white square QR code located next to the fountain or castle in front of you. Listen to the click. See the information on your device’s screen.
Yes, some secure versions of a QR code can hold, for example, the contents of a person’s passport. However what caught the team’s attention, as they reported later, was that “the QR code helps Smartphone users find web contents quickly. This application immediately takes you to the given page without browsing.”
They could build online pages that tell visitors about the things they are looking at as they explore this attractive and interesting town. There is no limit to how much information they could put on web pages. There was no need to build a 17km x 17 km QR code – nor to print out tourist leaflets, a key contribution for the sustainability aspect of their project
They could create what they called “The Sárvár QR Code Tour.” Technically, “generating a QR code is very easy,” the team noted. There are many online services that create those little black and white QR squares that link the phone owner to a web page and its content.
The team was smart about how they developed their project. They created questionnaires for residents to find out how interested and receptive they were to little QR squares appearing on surfaces around town.
For information and advice they went to town officials involved in tourist information and to businesses that already used QR codes — and also explained the benefits of their project. They built support for their Code Tour concept. Once they got the official approval to go ahead, they worked with the local tourism destination management (TDM) organization to implement the idea.
Today if you visit Sárvár 55 QR codes will guide you from the Tourinform (tourist information) office to the tour map the team created, then to the Arboretum everyone visits; Násdasdy Castle; the Museum; the town’s main square; its renovated Town Hall; the World War I memorial; the Church of Saint László, the Spa with its mineral waters, the Rowing Lake.
Along the way the Tour takes advantage of QR code’s simplicity and provides information about less obviously interesting places. These are places that help define the character of a town. For example, a building where a famous poet, Géza Gárdonyi, worked as a kindergarten teacher; a blue building whose history includes being used as a hunting lodge and later a nunnery.
It’s nice when your hometown likes your idea and adopts it so people can use and enjoy it. The original student team was made up of Alexandra Agócs, Zsófia Kupi, Bettina Laczó, Lilliána Laczó and Anna Löke. Their teacher was Viktor Vígh. You can read how they created the Code Tour project by going to www.gttp.org, then clicking on “Students.” Then click on “Research Award”, and next on “Research Award Winners 2014,” then scroll down to “Hungary.”
* What is a QR Code?
First came the now familiar “barcode” which uses a code based on lines of varying widths to represent data. The “QR Code” is a similar but more capable technology that uses complex patterns to represent data. It was developed in 1994 by Japan’s Denso Wave Company. The name comes from the abbreviation of an English term “ Quick Response” and was first used to track the location of industrial components quickly. An advantage of the QR code is that it can be scanned from any direction; the correct positioning of the code is not important.
Anastasia Kovinskaia graduated from Moscow School 1228 in 2015 and is a student at Moscow State University. Below, Anastasia recounts her experiences with the GTTP.
In 2013 I had the chance to participate in the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership Research Conference in Monaco where, as a winning national team, we had the honor to represent my country on an international level.
There were a lot of participants from different parts of the world: Great Britain, Hungary, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, South Africa and Brazil.
The topic of the competition and of the conference was Culinary Tourism. We had to write a case, and that was not as easy as it seemed because we had studied the subject of our project in all aspects, had analyzed information and had prepared our presentation (see photos about Kolumna and Pastilla). We were extremely happy and proud to become the winning team.
Our award was participation in the amazing annual GTTP student/teacher conference, which lasted just 5 days but was enough to change me a lot. I made a lot of friends and still keep in touch with them. We were able to share the love of our countries with each other.
On the last day we had a gala dinner where we were able to meet Global Partners from the world’s leading corporations and to learn about their ways to success. Global Partners gladly communicated with us, answering our questions and showing interest in our projects. It was really great that they were sincerely interested in helping us expand our horizons and develop new skills.
The GTTP conference allowed me to understand the cultural values of different countries, and better understand mentality of other nations. This experience had a great influence on me because I was able to feel myself as part of the world. I understood that the interaction of different people and cultures is very important and necessary for our modern society. People should be tolerant with each other.
Every country, every nation has its own unique and unrepeatable history and it’s important that people from other countries respect it and wish to become closer. Travel and Tourism is an extremely effective way to achieve this goal, and governments have to interact and be in progress together, helping each other promote culture, ideals, and values and bring people together. And I understood that I wanted to contribute to it.
In meeting with Global Partners – successful and influential people, teachers and students from other countries, adopting their experience, discovering something new, I realized that it is possible to be a part of this system, and that is closely connected to my interest in politics and belief in its ability to use “soft power” and be a means of mutual understanding, so people could live in peace.
That was how my participation in the GTTP conference helped me make a choice of the next level of education and my professional career. So after graduating I entered the Department of World Politics at Moscow State University.
The Monaco Conference helped me understand what I really want to achieve in life. I have been enriched by new knowledge and learnt a lot about cultural heritage of different nations. GTTP helped me to find my way in life and I am really thankful to organizers and sponsors for this awesome opportunity.
On Jan 26th this year, my boss, Natalia Morozova, General Manager for CWT Russia, forwarded me a letter with the subject “GTTP Russia 20th Anniversary event February 16 and 17” with her comment: “FYI, let’s talk later.”
The subject was represented by a chain of emails that started from the one by Dr. Nancy Needham to GTTP Board Members (among whom was CWT Head of Responsible Business Françoise Grumberg) about the GTTP 20th anniversary event in Moscow. At this event run by GTTP Russia, students would be given a challenge and a limited amount of time to develop a viable business concept related to Heritage Tourism. She was looking for support from GTTP Industry Partner employees to serve as volunteer advisors to the students as they developed their ideas into a concept paper on the first day and to judge the teams and select the winners on the second.
As it often happens, Nancy’s e-mail found its way through corporate communication channels first to Anne Esling, EMEA HR Head for CWT, then to Walter Ruggli, CWT Business Head for Switzerland and Eastern Europe, then to Natalia Morozova, CWT GM for Russia and ended up in my mail box.
I am HR head for CWT in Russia and at that moment I was swamped with end of year activities: performance appraisals, goals settings, compensation reviews.
Never had I thought the email that looked like more work than fun would develop into a wonderful experience of meeting great people and taking part in a great event.
Step one was to get some understanding of what was that required of us. I got in touch with Dr. Nina Kuznetsova, who represents GTTP in Russia, and learnt more about the Global and Travel Tourism Partnership, a multi-country educational program to introduce students to career opportunities in Travel & Tourism with half a million students in thirteen countries, supported and sponsored by leading international companies – Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Amadeus, American Express, Delta Airlines, dnata, Enterprise Holdings, Eurostar, The Hertz Corporation, Hogg Robinson Group, KDS, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Travelport
At the First Stage of the GTTP Research Competition students would work in teams of five under very tight deadlines in order to develop and present a solution for the tournament challenge related to Heritage Tourism. The challenge would be revealed on the first day of the competition (February 16th), and teamwork would start. The students would develop their solutions (ideas and concept papers) during the rest of the day. On the 2nd day (February 17th) teams would present their solutions to a panel of judges and their peers.
Nancy and Nina wanted some volunteer – experts from CWT for Day 1 and judges for Day 2.
I spoke with our CWT Russia Leadership Team about the event asked for volunteers. I presented it as a wonderful opportunity for our employees to go out there and share their knowledge and expertise – a great development opportunity, indeed.
Since Moscow was going through a bout of ‘flu some people who volunteered fell victims to the illness, but they were promptly replaced with others.
On Feb 16 our team of 10 people arrived at the event. Olga Dolgova, Elena Solovieva, Alla Lapina, Natalia Nedashkovskaya, Anastasia Andreeva, Olga Fedorova – from CWT Travel Services, Nadezhda Sizova from CWT M&E, Yulia Agashina from CWT HR, and Albina Golikova from CWT legal were right on time to share their expertise and knowledge with GPPT students.
We were met by Nina, who gave a warm welcome and briefing. It was also nice to get to know our fellow travelers from Travelport.
We split in teams of two and met up with students.
Personally there were three things that struck me as interesting: 1) real appreciation of local heritage places by all participants 2) not very clear understanding of challenges to put some projects into practice (I am saying it only because I am over 40 and not a dreamer any longer 🙂 ) and 3) difference in business acumen between school and university students.
Nadezhda Sizova, CWT Russia Sales Manager, said:
“I was invited as a Business Travel Expert to help students with projects, share my opinions and ideas. Before taking part in the event I was not sure why rich and successful people do teaching.
Now I can say that it was a wings-growing experience. Open, positive, talented kids are our future. There were a lot of great projects. The one I liked most – tour of Russia’s Caucasus for people with hearing difficulties.”
Anastasia Andreeva, CWT Russia Travel Services Outplant Superviser shared:
“I understood the objective of the event as identification of young talent, and an attempt make young people think and act independently.
I totally loved the way it was organized, and of course I loved the kids.”
On day 2, three CWT reps joined the jury panel and spent the whole day reading through the briefs, observing live presentations.
We had a difficult time selecting the best three, as all were great.
All in all it was really positive experience for us. We loved every minute of it. By Feb 18th everyone in CWT Russia knew about the event.
And I am sure that for any future event Nina will have to do a casting among CWT volunteers.