Get set to enjoy leisure and tourism
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How can Hong Kong enhance its appeal to tourists? By re-vamping its cultural heritage sites, or by exploring new attractions? The first batch of Associate Degree students majoring in Leisure and Tourism Management presented how to market Hong Kong as a tourist attraction at the final year project exhibition, 21-23 April.
Held at the Telford campus, the "Leisure and Tourism in Motion" exhibition showcased more than 40 projects on: discovering Hong Kong's indigenous culture; the re-development of old sight-seeing spots; and planning of new routes to the destinations. The students conducted extensive research and received support from tourism organizations in order to complete their work. "Employers expect university graduates to perform professionally right after graduation. Nowadays, education should focus more on real life practice. We are very glad to have the support of the industry in providing training opportunities to our students," said Dr P Y Wong, Acting Head of the Division of Social Studies, in her opening speech.
"The key issue in tourism today is sustainability; how to differentiate our destinations, services and products, from the rest of the region's ones is very important. Hong Kong has a distinct and diverse culture which we can build on to reinforce its position as a top Asian destination," said Guest of Honour Professor George Stonehouse, Associate Dean of Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, UK. "I am very impressed with the students' projects which make full use of the local culture, geography, and features of Hong Kong," he said.
The challenges of the tourism industry
"The future of Hong Kong tourism is certainly bright. In addition to support from the government, the construction of an infrastructure, and economic recovery, a professional team is needed to make our bright future come true," said Ms Jojo Chan, Deputy Manager, Wing On Travel. Ms Chan commended the rich content, creative ideas and in-depth research of the student projects and encouraged the students to work hard to join the profession. Other guests included Ms Rita Li, Deputy General Manager, SINO Estates Management Limited, and Ms Ida Lam, Programme Leader of the Associate of Social Science Degree in Leisure and Tourism Management and Senior Lecturer in the Division of Social Studies.
Indigenous culture steals the show
A prize presentation ceremony was held to recognize outstanding works. The championship went to the "Diving Dragon" team who came up with the idea of a cruise tour around the Victoria Harbour, Tsing Ma Bridge, and Lantau Island on a traditional Chinese-style boat. "The boat has different themes throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy the cruise tour and learn about our history, culture and festivals," said Sylvia Lo, one of the team members. Highlights included a Chinese show, a go go dance, old toys and DIY lanterns. To complete the project, the students studied Chinese history and culture extensively. "It was an eye opening experience. We learned how to incorporate traditional culture in a new way to meet the expectations of tourists from overseas," she added.
The first runner up was the "Re-development of the Kai Tak Airport" project. "Kowloon City is a fading spot but it has great potential for re-development," said team member Joyce Wong. The project aims to re-develop the old airport as a resort center with themes from the cultural heritage of the Qing Dynasty. It can also help develop the neighboring area and shopping arcades in Kowloon City. The second runner up prize went to the "Dessert House Guidebook". The students conducted interviews and concluded that dessert is one of Hong Kong's favourite things. The Guidebook is a listing of dessert venues in Hong Kong, based on selection criteria such as the dessert varieties, design of the venue, and the healthiness of the food.
Two special awards went to "Fantastic Railway Journey", which made use of the MTR to promote the Shumshuipo district, and "Tea Culture One-Day Tour", which included visiting the teaware museum, enjoying yum cha (dim sum), and a Chinese tea show. The Railway Journey aimed at attracting local customers and mainland visitors, while the "Tea Culture Tour" targeted Taiwanese, Japanese and European visitors.
The ceremony was full of applause for the students' hard work of the last semester. "We learned to work as a team. The project has also enriched our knowledge about the characteristics of different districts in Hong Kong. We also know how our routes to the tourist spots can meet the needs of different kinds of visitors," said Lam Pui-yu, member of the Fantastic Railway Journey team . Other students concluded that thanks to their project, they could apply what they learned in the classroom, improve their communication skills, and learn more about tourism in a real working environment.
The Associate of Social Science in Leisure and Tourism Management Degree is a non-government funded programme offered by the Division of Social Studies. It aims to equip students with an understanding of the key concepts of leisure and tourism. It also provides professional education to students that serves as an impetus to their pursuit of further education in related areas.