Monday, 7 June 2010

Four viewpoints into rural tourism in the intensive course Rural tourism – innovative products and marketing

In April-May, an international group of university students and teachers got together at TAMK to work in rural tourism product design and marketing. In addition to TAMK, the two-week intense training course had participants from Katholieke Hogeschool Brugge-Oostende in Belgium, International School of Law and Business in Vilnus in Lithuania and University of Salford in England.

The tasks included charting the current situation and the future of rural tourism in Belgium, England, Lithuania and Finland, to participate in creating new products for rural tourism companies and to learn about the special characteristics of rural tourism in each country.

The two-week intensive course included getting to know the City of Tampere and the rural tourism companies in the region, visiting the Tampere Convention Bureau, lectures, MayDay music event at Virrat as well as a food exhibition planned and implemented by the students.

In the food exhibition, our foreign visitors presented their culinary cultures and their special characteristics. After the presentations, the visitors got a chance to sample foods from Belgium, Lithuania and England.

”The rural tourism in Lithuania seemed surprisingly similar to the one in Finland,” explained the second-year hospitality management student Ulla-Mari Jarkko, who was one of the hosts of the event. “The English seem to favour package holidays, and I especially remember the bicycle tours organised by the Belgian tourism entrepreneurs, where the inn where the bikers spend their nights also organises the transportation of the bikers’ luggage into the next inn”, continued Jarkko. The special characteristic of the Finnish rural tourism might be the summer cottages. Britta Heinlaid from England first noticed the punctuality and openness of her Finnish hosts. “The first time we went out, the city seemed almost deserted. Vappu with its crowds and carnival feeling caught us by surprise – it was a special experience”, explained Britta Heinlaid.

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