GTTP Opened My Eyes To Many Travel and Tourism Career Choices, by 2010 Student Research Award Winner, Gemma Haywood

Google translation

Gemma Haywood was a UK winner of the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership Research Award in 2010 while a student at Cornwall College St Austell*. She and her fellow UK winner Josie Greatorex presented at the GTTP’s annual student/teacher conference, which was held in Munich that year.

In this interview, Gemma shares a taste of the adventures she’s been up to since then, including exciting travel in South America and now pursuing a Tourism Management degree at Bournemouth University. She also explains how the GTTP sparked her interest in travel and tourism as a career.

Gemma volunteering on an Open Day at the University of Bournemouth, 2015.

Gemma, what have you been up to since the GTTP student/teacher conference in 2010?

On returning from the conference, I finished my diploma in Travel and Tourism with distinctions and completed my Duke of Edinburgh Award Gold.

After this, I decided I wanted to explore and see the world so I packed my backpack for South America! It was such an amazing experience –  I was lucky enough to stay with a host family in Costa Rica to learn Spanish, volunteer with street children in Cusco, climb a volcano in Chile and visit the Iguaçu falls in Argentina, meeting so many lovely people along the way.  I then packed my bags once more and I am now studying Tourism Management at Bournemouth University.

How did the GTTP help influence your career choice?

Greatly! I have always had an interest in travel but the GTTP opened my eyes to all of the different possibilities available within the industry that I had never come across before. The conference helped me decide that I wanted to go to university to pursue these possibilities and find a job that would allow me to meet and work with people of different nationalities and cultures; a part of the GTTP conference I very much enjoyed.

What are you hoping to do once you have finished your degree?

Good question! My university course has been so varied and I have discovered many areas within tourism that I am interested in, such as Human Resource Management, Destination Management, Disaster Management…the list goes on!!. I would like to start gaining as much experience as possible and hope to find something I truly enjoy doing. I would like to continue my learning of Spanish also, as I feel that being able to speak another language is important in tourism.

How do you think you have changed and have your travel experiences helped?

Since 2010 I have definitely become more confident and I believe this is down to both the GTTP and travelling. These experiences have allowed me to mix with lots of different people and get involved with a whole range of activities, bringing me out of my shell and making me more open minded. These qualities are now contributing to the enjoyment and success of my university experience as I am participating in many activities and taking advantage of all the great opportunities on offer!

Gemma Haywood (right) with Fruzsina Csonka (Hungary) in Southampton, 2014.
Below, Gemma with fellow winners at the 2010 GTTP student/teacher conference in Munich.

Are you still in touch with any of your GTTP friends from Munich?

Yes! It surprised us all how we only spent four days together, yet bonded so well! Fruzsina Csonka, from Hungary, came to England last year so I was fortunate enough to be able to meet with her again which was fabulous!  As for everyone else, we would love a GTTP reunion, however with everyone scattered across the globe it is too difficult. It is nice to see what everyone is up to and how well people are doing via Facebook though.

What advice would you give to yourself back in 2010?

Don’t be so scared! I felt I was quite shy before which stopped me from doing many things, but luckily my teachers pushed me (nicely!) to go for it and I’m so glad they did because it has made me realise that there are so many great things out there to grab….all you need is a little confidence!

Gemma at the top of the Villarrica volcano, Chile.

* The Cornwall College Group offers Level 2 – 5 qualifications in Travel and Tourism for post secondary school students and has been affiliated with the GTTP for several years to help ensure that academic programs remain relevant for future employers.

Sarah Bruce, teacher at Cornwall College St Austell, said: “The GTTP research project has been a fabulous way for us to make contact with people in the Travel and Tourism industry. It has given the learners the opportunity to develop their skills outside of the classroom and to get a real taste of the varied world of Global Travel and Tourism. It enhances our teaching and delivery of the subject as it gives it gives the learners first hand experience of what it would be like to work in this sector – making the subject more ‘real.’  It is a fabulous project to be part of.”

How the GTTP Has Changed My Life by 2010 Research Award Winner, Sandra Feng

Sandra Feng was a research award winner of the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership in 2010, while studying at Ningbo Polytechnic in Zhejiang of her home country, China. This led to exciting new chapters in her life’s journey, as Sandra describes in this guest blog. Here she recounts how her GTTP experiences have made a strong impact on her life, both personally and professionally.

Sandra Feng pictured at the Langham Place Hotel in Hong Kong, where she serves as Customer Service Ambassador and a trainer for new employees

Ever since 2010 I’ve seen great changes in my life, which were influenced by the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership. I was definitely a very shy girl before I attended the annual student/teacher GTTP conference that year. I was kind of seen as a bookworm. My study performance was good, but I was not good at communicating with different kinds of people, and while I did try to have a social life, I had to work really hard too.

Fortunately, in 2010 my teacher, Ms. Eve Lianping Ren, notified me that I was one of the girls representing China to attend the conference, which was being held in Munich Germany.  My teammate Manli Chen and I presented on “Green Tourism in China – In Search of Harmony between Nature and Mankind.”  In this case study project we identified the features and forms of Green Tourism being practiced in China.

I am now far more outgoing and confident than I used to be, both because of everything I was learnt and experienced during the conference, and also from all the friends I have made during the event. The most important thing is that it has given me is a clear direction for my career dream in a hotel.

The year after I joined the conference, I was granted an opportunity to further my study in Hong Kong due to the inspiration of my teacher Ms Eve Ren as well as both GTTP directors Prof. Hanqin Zhang (GTTP China) and Ms Chammy Lau (GTTP Hong Kong).  In 2011, I was admitted as a top-up degree student in the School of Professional Education and Executive Development – a continuation unit of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University – to pursue my bachelor degree major in Hotel Management.

Honestly, only a very small group of students from mainland China, especially studying in the Higher Diploma vocation level such as myself, could be accepted by the University in Hong Kong. This is mainly due to the difference of instruction in China compared to that of Hong Kong.  Most of the students in mainland China might not have had the opportunity to use or to practice their English in their school.  I found myself very lucky that I could broaden my horizons through the participation in GTTP conference and to be able to further my study in Hong Kong after gaining the GTTP research award.

During my study in Hong Kong, I was awarded a number of scholarships and was able to graduate from the school with a result of credit pass.  In addition, through the local connection of Ms. Chammy Lau, I was able to get a placement internship in one of the 5-star hotels in Hong Kong, which further enhanced my employability upon graduation.

Now, I am working in Langham Place Hotel in Hong Kong as a Customer Service Ambassador, already for 2 years. The inspiration, devotion, innovation and the opportunity given to me by the GTTP have led me here and I am now honoured to be considered to be the best employee in my hotel.  My professional and good service attitudes have been well complimented upon by the hotel guests. I have now become a senior girl here, performing a role of a trainer for new colleagues.

All in all, I treasure the opportunity to study and to work in Hong Kong.  I will try my best to work hard and gain more experiences from the work in the hotel. Moreover, I will not stop learning the new things to refresh myself and I believe it will make a big difference for both of my work and life in the future!  Thank you very much for the opportunity given by GTTP.  My life has been changed entirely.

Pictured left to right:
– GTTP China Director Dr. Hanqin Qui Zhan, Professor of International Tourism at Hong Kong Polytechnic University
– Manli Chen and Sandra Feng, former students of Ningbo Polytechnic Zhejiang, China and the 2010 GTTP Research Award Winners from China
– Charles Petrucelli, GTTP Founder and Advisor to the GTTP Board
– Chammy Lau, GTTP Hong Kong Director
– Eve Lianping Ren, teacher, Ningbo Polytechnic Zhejiang, China

In Pursuit of My Dream, by Margaret Cheung, a GTTP Student Research Winner in 2011

Margaret Cheung, of Hong Kong, was a research award winner of the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership while a student in 2011 at Lok Sin Tong Young Ko Hsiao Lin Secondary School*. She is now studying at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management, a highly competitive program. In this guest blog, Margaret recounts her experiences since participating in GTTP activities, and how the program (plus plenty of hard work) has led to her success today, while helping to shape her ambitions for working in the travel and tourism industry. Also click on her photo below to learn more.

My GTTP story starts in 2011 – the year my GTTP studies opened an amazing door into the Travel and Tourism Industry.  Back then I was taking Tourism and Hospitality Studies as an elective course at my secondary school, part of the international GTTP program, to gain experience in the hospitality industry. That year GTTP made “Festival Tourism” the subject of its Student Case Writing Competition.

Festivals are a huge part of our lives in Hong Kong.   My classmate Kimberly Cheung and I live in the Sha Tin District, where a famous festival called the “Che Kung Dan” is held in the Che Kung Temple.  We chose Che Kung Dan as our topic as we not only wanted to promote our local and traditional festival and customs to foreigners, but also we love telling people about all aspects of our community.

I was thrilled to be chosen as part of the winning team from Hong Kong to go to the annual Student/Teacher Conference in Monaco to present our study to other GTTP country winners, their teachers, and executives from GTTP’s “Global Partners.”

All this was amazing for an ordinary secondary student — to travel overseas and communicate with hospitality professionals and make friends with foreign students. It built up the connection between the industry and me and motivated me to make my goal a career in hospitality.

After coming back to Hong Kong from Monaco, my team was invited to present our ideas to a GTTP China meeting in HK and join a GTTP Hong Kong alumni lunch meeting. It showed that the GTTP’s competitions are not transitory events, but lifelong activities with a positive impact on participants.

After the conference, I set out to enrich my industry experience with various activities.  For example, I entered the Hong Kong Young Ambassador Scheme. This is sponsored by the Hong Kong Tourism Board to provide support services for tourism events and attractions. I worked part-time in the Hong Kong Ocean Park and in the Hotel Icon’s Banquet Department.

The examiners recognized extra-curricular activities and work experience when I took the Hong Kong public examinations. I was very pleased the results, especially with the top marks I received in Travel and Hospitality Studies  — a “5*” or “Starred Five.”

As I am a Year 1 student, I have many dreams and targets on my to-do-list, such as being an exchange student; joining an overseas internship programme, and working in different hospitality industry companies.

After graduating from university, I hope to work in airlines or in a food and beverage department.

I am now on course:  study, work hard, and fight for my dream.

*Margaret studied Tourism and Hospitality at Lok Sin Tong Young Ko Hsiao Lin Secondary School

Kyangala Girls’ GTTP Club in Kenya engages in planting and studying the environment

In Kenya,  56 public secondary schools across 47 counties run the GTTP program as a Tourism Club, with over 800 students participating in total. The GTTP’s Passport to the World curriculum to introduce students to the travel and tourism industry is fully endorsed by Kenya’s Ministries of Education and Tourism. 

Mr. Nzioka, GTTP Club Patron at the Kyangala Girls’ school in Kenya’s Eastern Province, shares his thoughts on the program:

As the local chairperson of the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership Club at the Kyangala Girls’ secondary school, I would first like to thank the organization for the support they have shown us. The GTTP is helping some of the students to nurture their talents and interest in travel and tourism.

The GTTP program started in our school mid last year. The program has helped us to explore our potential in different fields since we participate in different activities.

The GTTP club is one of the best clubs in the school. It has personally assisted me in casual work and the essence of responsibility. On the other hand, the club has made our school look beautiful because of the flowers planted by the members.  What inspires me most to participate in the club is my interest in nature.  As a club, we engage a lot in environmental and wildlife activities which I adore, as a patron.

We have completed various projects including: planting of flowers, onions, beans, and kale, as well as poultry rearing.  These projects are helping us financially because we sell the produce to the school and use the money for transport during career days or while carrying out research.

Finally, the GTTP Club has helped us understand the importance of teamwork.

To see more pictures, please visit the Kyangala GTTP photo album on the Global Travel &Tourism Partnership- Kenya Facebook page.

A Force For Good

By Michel Taride, Chair of the GTTP Advisory Board and Group President of Hertz International

If you are considering a career in travel and tourism then I wish to reaffirm that you are looking at a truly exciting and rewarding industry to work in.

Tourism is a Force for Good. It promotes tolerance and peace. It creates jobs and country development.   The industry encourages intercultural cooperation and employment of people from all walks of life and nationalities. It also is a force for championing – and actioning – sustainability to protect our planet and preserve our limited resources.

Working in the industry will require that you develop a truly international mindset, whether you are promoting tourism in your own country, or operating in a multi-country environment.  Many travel and tourism companies that you will come across will have cross-national teams where each member brings a specific skillset and local market competence.  You will likely also meet tourists and travellers from all different parts of the world

I myself am a good example of this kind of opportunity.  Hertz not only enabled me to work across many geographies and cultures but also helped me move from the bottom to the top of the career ladder. I started my career in one of the smallest Hertz locations in France and then eventually moved to country leadership in charge of France and Italy, and ultimately I am now the head of our International division that spreads across 3 continents.

Today the travel and tourism industry is increasingly building diverse talents and skillsets that in turn lead to greater employee mobility and global careers.  You will have a tremendous opportunity to interface with colleagues and partners from numerous different backgrounds. While working together, and when supporting customers, you will continue to break down political and cultural barriers for greater mutual respect and opportunity across geographies.

To be successful, be passionate about what you do. Passion is your drive. If you like what you do, you are going to be at your best and you are going to thrive. Think big, be willing to excel, and pay attention to the details.

Certainly, work very hard. Be flexible. The world nowadays is a tough world and you’ve got to be able to change and adapt really quickly.  While it helps to be culturally competent and even speak several languages, it is also important to be adaptable, resourceful and ready to switch between different roles.

Of course, it helps to have a little bit of luck thrown in as well but that won’t work on its own. Luck comes your way when you work hard on everything else.

Ultimately, be committed and think about people first – your customers, your colleagues, your boss.  Treating them with a positive customer service mentality will work to your advantage and makes it a happier place for everyone.

Being a Force for Good is all about the most important values: respect and equal opportunities for individuals, communities, nations, today and in the future. Good luck!

Annual Student Photography Contest to capture “Something Special”

The annual GTTP Photo Contest gives students a chance to take a photo of something unique or special in their country — a place, event or person that tourists should see. The contest is open to all students currently enrolled in GTTP schools in GTTP-member countries. There are cash prizes for the top three photos in each country, and the international winning photos, also with a cash prize, are selected from these.

Normally there are only two international winners each year. However in 2014 the standard was exceptionally high, so 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners were announced – and two students tied for the second spot!

The top honors went to Chanté Robinson, South Africa. Regina Dudás from Hungary and Hanzhi Lu, China tied for second place. Third place was Chen Cong from China.

Head over to the GTTP website to see the outstanding photos along with the judges’ comments about why each one is so inspiring.

Nancy Needham, the Executive Director of GTTP, said: “The goal is to show a special aspect of a student’s community to people who have never been there. The photo should make the viewer want to visit. This is a great way to give students an opportunity to practice using visual tools to communicate – an essential skill in the travel and tourism industry.”

The deadline for the 2015 Photo Contest is on April 30, 2015. Students can read the entry guidelines and down load the entry form by visiting the Photography Contest Overview page on the GTTP website.

Revisiting Culinary Tourism – the GTTP Student Research topic of 2013

This article highlights how Emily Zehnder, Sarah Zehnder, and Leigh Thompson, the Canadian GTTP student winners in 2013, progressed their GTTP research work this year, 2014.

By Heather Brown, Teacher Sponsor, David Thompson Secondary School

The theme of the 2013 Student Research Competition sponsored by the GTTP focused on food and culinary tourism in the participant’s home country. Twenty-two high school students from 12 countries shared the results of their research at the student/teacher conference held in November 2013 in Monaco.

This educational initiative continued beyond the international conference with the work of the Canadian team.  Since their visit to Monaco, Emily Zehnder, Sarah Zehnder, and Leigh Thompson found inspiration in the work of their peers and decided to take action by re-designing and implementing some of their recommendations.

Earlier this year, the trio’s final report was used as a guide by a local Cultural Tourism committee.  In addition, one of their suggestions, a community kitchen, was simultaneously proposed by a recently formed local non-profit organization that was looking to create food-business incubator opportunities.

With their own action in mind, the team opted to propose two ideas to our town council.  The first request they made was that the recently hired event planner focus one community event on local food, which would include education, insight into food production, and of course delicious food for consumption.  The second suggestion, a taste trail, is one that the team hopes to implement.

In April 2014, as Grade 12 students, Emily, Leigh and Sarah were the only youth presenters at a provincial conference, “Food for Thought,” hosted by the Columbia Institute for locally elected officials in Vancouver, British Columbia. The young ladies took part in a workshop providing an opportunity for trustees and other elected leaders to discuss the influence the education system can have on engaging youth in finding solutions to community issues.

Food was the focus of the conference and included presenters such as Paula Daniels, who spoke about the importance of setting up networks for all members of the food system, Harold Steves, a pioneer farmer and elected official who is fighting to preserve farmland and Lenore Newman, a Canada Research Chair in Food Security.

Emily, Leigh and Sarah’s work was very well received and considered inspiring by many; in fact several of their ideas were tweeted by councillors and school trustees to their respective tourism committees.  Of course we made sure to take the time to eat delicious food and visit local farmers markets!

We look forward to their continued work and future accomplishments.  They are a team to watch!

GTTP Brazil student conference on “The Future of the Tourism Professional”

Vinicius Lages (Minister of Tourism) and Mariana Aldrigui (GTTP Brazil) talking about the need for better educated tourism professionals

GTTP Brazil organized a student conference on “The Future of the Tourism Professional” as part of the World Tourism Day celebrations on September 27th this year.

Mr. Vinicius Lages, Brazil’s Minister of Tourism, was the keynote speaker, inspiring a select group of students to search for knowledge relating tourism and innovation, and to think about serving their communities to help improved the quality of life where they live.

Global and Local Partner representatives shared their experiences as travel professionals, and outlined the path to a successful tourism career. GTTP Brazil’s chairman, Alberto Martins, emphasized that change in Brazil’s tourism industry can only happen when there is a change in education.

The student conference had 309 attendees and was held during the ABAV International Tourism Expo.

Alberto Martins (GTTP Brazil chairman),
Marcio Favilla (UNWTO executive director),
Vinicius Lages (Minister of Tourism) and
Antonio Azevedo (ABAV chairman, Brazilian Association of Travel Agents)

Luis Vargas (Travelport, a GTTP global partner) and Mariana Aldrigui (GTTP) sharing information on tourism careers


GTTP Brazil books printed and distributed by the
Ministry of Tourism from 2003 to 2006
(the second one is Passport to the World)

Students from around the world prove future is bright for travel industry at GTTP event

By: Elizabeth Aston, Senior Advisor, Industry Affairs, Amadeus IT Group

The GTTP annual student and teacher awards, which we hosted at the Amadeus Executive Briefing Centre in Sophia Antipolis, brought together gifted students from around the world to showcase their bright ideas to shape a sustainable future of travel.

Twenty-two high school students from 11 countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, shared their findings on applying technology in a sustainable way to enhance the visitor experience in their countries.

The winning projects were diverse, ranging from a case study from Olympia Brazil based on devising a simple clean renewable energy system to support local sustainable tourism development, to Kitale Kenya which focused on how the MPesa mobile payment system is revolutionising the entire tourism industry by providing a secure and cashless system, and is helping to boost the economy.

The winning Chinese project, which focused on smart technology being used in new sustainable hotels in Qingdao, underscored the ingenuity that is currently revolutionising this sector. Another impressive entry was from Sarvar in Hungary, where the winners illustrated in real time the simplicity and power of using QR code generator technology to simplify entrance processes with clear sustainable advantages for the travel industry.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the event was the poise and confidence with which these teenagers presented their projects, despite the fact that for most of them English is not their first language and many have never travelled abroad before nor presented to a large audience. For the students and teachers, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be selected to represent their country and travel to Nice to take part in this prestigious event.

Feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive. A student from Hong Kong commented that “it has been a precious learning and development opportunity,” while a Jamaican teacher said “Thank you for educating students about making better life changing choices” and their student remarked that “dreams do really come true.”

A Kenyan teacher and student said: “Thank you for everything. It is inspiring and impacts greatly my future as a tourism teacher” and “I will use this as an opportunity to achieve greater things.” Finally, a school principal said “I really want to assure you that you have made a huge difference to the lives of all of us.”

To wrap up the event – there was a gala dinner at the Le Meridien and everyone had a fabulous time, especially the students, who performed with great gusto when asked to spontaneously deliver a national song or dance, showing that they were even more talented than already proven!

Amadeus has been an inaugural partner of the GTTP since 1999, and other international industry leaders supporting the GTTP include American Express, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Delta Air Lines, Enterprise Holdings, The Hertz Corporation, Hogg Robinson Group, KDS, Lufthansa, Starwood Hotel & Resorts, and Travelport, all of whom have executives serving on the GTTP’s Advisory Board.

There is potential for many of these students to rise to the top of our industry and become future leaders and who knows, perhaps one day some of them may even sit on the board of GTTP.

Head over to the GTTP website for more on this charitable foundation and have a look at their Facebook page for great pictures from the event.

This article was originally published on the Amadeus corporate blog.

Read all about this year’s student/teacher conference in Nice, France!

This week 22 student winners from 11 nations are presenting their findings on “Technology and Sustainability” in travel destinations

The Global Travel and Tourism Partnership (GTTP) is hosting its annual student/teacher conference at Le Meridien Nice in France from November 24 to November 28. Twenty-two high school students from 11 countries will share their finding on applying technology to enhance the visitor experience in their countries as well as the operations of the Travel and Tourism industry.

The students are winners of the 2014 Student Research Competition sponsored by the GTTP, a multi-country educational program to introduce young people to career opportunities in Travel and Tourism.

Student competition entrants research GTTP-assigned topics, which vary year to year. Winners at the national level present their findings or “case studies” at the annual conference.

“We structure these competitions to encourage the development of skills these young people will need in their careers and to focus them on issues and trends important to our industry,” said Michel Taride, Chair of the GTTP Advisory Board and Group President of Hertz International.

Nancy Needham, Executive Director of GTTP, said “Destinations want to continue being a place worth visiting. ‘Sustainability’ means people have employment, environments are protected, and visitors have a positive impact on the destination they are visiting. It all takes work.”

The GTTP, established in 1996, works in Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania and the United Kingdom. School systems provide teachers and classrooms. Some 2,500 local and international companies share their expertise with teachers and students and provide financial and in-kind support.

The international industry leaders supporting the GTTP are Amadeus, American Express, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Delta Air Lines, Enterprise Holdings, The Hertz Corporation, Hogg Robinson Group, KDS, Lufthansa, Starwood Hotel & Resorts, and Travelport. Their executives serve on GTTP’s Advisory Board.

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