One of the examinations in the course Event Management at Novia University of Applied Sciences, was to plan, execute and evaluate an event. One of the possible commissioners was the project CultSense – Sensitizing Young Travellers to Local Cultures and our teacher offered us the task of creating awareness about the project to local tourism stakeholders in South-Western Finland as well as among students at Novia. We decided to take on the challenge and made it happen by arranging an online webinar on the platform SpatialChat.
We were in charge of all the practial arrangements. We created a flyer for the event and distributed it through email to our fellow students, and representatives from the local tourism industry were invited. All of us in the project group had different roles and responsibilities during the event. Two of us acted as hosts for the whole event and the rest were hosts for the different tables in the Learning Café that we created. The webinar took place on March 28 2022 in the afternoon.
Project leader Lénia Marques presented the project and introduced the e-book Creating Cultural Understanding Through Travel – CultSense Case Collection that the project had recently launched. The e-book is divided into four parts: Emotions, Culture, and Tourism; Tastes of Culture; Spirituality and Sacred Sites; and Engaging with Local Cultures. These four areas formed the base for the Learning Café. The participants were divided into four groups and moved among the tables at 10 minutes intervals. To spark the discussion, there was a mix of students and representatives from the tourism industry. The discussions round the tables were for the most part lively and touched upon tourists’ behaviour, do’s and don’ts in a destination, how to engage the local population in tourism, what to show tourists in Finland and how to show it.
We learned about the project CultSense and we created an online event that fits with what the project is trying to achieve. We learned about collaborating with a large project and how to create an event. To administer and manage an online webinar was a new and very educational experience for all of us. We also delved into the topic tourism and the project CultSense that were completely unknown to us before.
This CultSense experience made us understand more about some of the challenges that tourism faces and how we as tourists and travellers could improve our behaviour when visiting destinations.
We also learnt about tourism from different perspectives, thanks to the invited guests from the tourism industry.
Text by: Rafael Palin, Tom Nylund, Igor Gudenko, Alina Ukkonen, Nea Kotilainen, Frida Rosenback
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