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.

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.

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