Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Sustainability in Tourism



This is a one-period course for TAMK IB-Tourism students and for exchange students as well. The atmosphere has been truly international, since majority of the group are foreign students from many different countries all around the world! 

What have we been studying there? Our teacher, Ms Heli Leskinen, has introduced us more deeply to sustainability in tourism – ideally it should not harm environment, economy and society of destinations, but it should support them. The concept itself seems very hard, nearly impossible to achieve, but it is something necessary for the future of destinations and also for the industry itself.
As our first, “warm-up” project, we worked in groups researching all the possible tourism impacts and trends in chosen destinations, as well as thinking of own suggestions how to improve the current situation. This gave us even deeper insight to tourism issues.

Joint kitchen facilities at the Dream Hostel

Our second project was done for a real company – Dream Hostel Tampere. In order to get inspired and get to know more about what can a hotel do to be more sustainable, we first visited Scandic City Hotel in Tampere. Scandic is a leading hotel chain in sustainability in Nordic countries and we had the great opportunity to talk to the local manager about their actions and plans. 

Rooms for up to eight people 

After that, we visited Dream Hostel and hotel, talked to the owner and to one of their employees and we had a tour around the facilities. This hostel and hotel is a small family-owned company, so doing most of the actions a big chain can afford – for example acquiring an eco-label, is impossible for them. Our task here was to come up with suggestions which the small company could do to be more sustainable, but which would also meet their budget.

 Friendly warm reception



TAMK Proacademy

Proacademy is an entrepreneurship education unit of TAMK. It is located in the city centre of Tampere at Finlayson Campus. At Proacademy all coaching, learning and business development activitities are focused on facilitating the entrepreneurial path. At Proacademy the students have five core value-activities of trust, courage, learning, actions and success. Proacademy also implements a unique approach to continuous development of a learning community, based on team learning and self-managed development of relevant knowledge and skills.

Our sustainability in tourism group visited Proacademy at Finlayson on the 19th of February 2015. We went there to visit Eventia team, which is the so called business and tourism team.Our group had prepared a teaching session about sustainability to the Eventia team. Later we had workshops, which we divided into social, environmental and economic groups. The Eventia team had to find slutions for, for instance negative environmental impacts in a destination, and then present the findings to others.

We had an interesting morning at Proacademy and definitely a different kind of ”lecture”. Both our group and the Eventia team seemed to like it and everybody learned something new.

We did a brief interview with three students from the Eventia team.

1. Did you learn anything new? - ”Yes definitely. We already knew something about the subject but we learned the definition of sustainability better.”

2. How did you like the teaching method? - ”It was great. It was good to have the theory first and then put it in practice.

3. How was the overall experience? - ”Yes it was very interesting and also fun to do something really different from a normal day. Which was really interesting was how multicultural today was and how many more viewpoints we got to our discussions."


Exchange student Mary Papadimitriou says:



After spending two months studying in TAMK I am able to understand the differences between my studies in Finland and my studies in Greece. The way of studying and teaching is different in each country. In Greece I had to learn a lot of stuff by heart and then participate in a written exam. What is more, the teaching method is kind of the same, with lectures and guest lecturers but in Greece I did not participate in such workshops. 

I have really enjoyed my time here and especially the courses. The Sustainability in Tourism course with Heli Leskinen has been a tremendous opportunity for me to learn more things on the field of Tourism. I specifically liked the Dream hostel task and the Proacademy experience during this course. They really helped me understand the meaning of sustainability in hospitality management and they actually helped me to be make more sustainable choices in my everyday life.



Text and photos:
Sara Sahlakari, Anne Marie Dvorakova, Mary Papadimitriou 

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