Practice Week (3)
As it is commonly known Turiba University do really cares about its students’ academic life; therefore, it provides all necessary facilities and opportunities for students to get knowledge and practical skills in the field. In the light of this perspective the Department of Tourism and Hospitality created a special week called Practice Week where master students of Strategic Tourism Management program could get insights into specifics of Latvian tourism mechanism and development.
Speaking about Practice week in more details, during this week (25.04.2016 – 29.04.2016) students had an opportunity to meet with representatives of variety of Latvian tour agencies, tour operators, and hotels and ask questions regarding tourism business itself, opportunities in Latvian market, and some challenges these organizations face. Also, they had meetings with ALTA (Association of Latvian Tourism Agency and Tour Operators), Professional Rural Tourism Association “Lauku Celotajs”, and Latvian Association of Tourism Information Organizations “Latturinfo”. The meetings with different associations gave a clear picture of how associations connected with tourism works in Latvia, what should be done in order to become a member, and what kind of events and activities these associations create for members and tourists as well.
Regarding official meetings with hotels and tour agencies, students visited “Mercure Riga Centre” hotel which is considered one of the leading hotels in Riga. According to the manager of the hotel “Mercure Riga Centre” is always full of visitors and is barely affected by seasonality issues.
Speaking of tour agencies, students met with representatives of “Estravel” and “Jecaba Celojumi”. These two meetings were very productive, since a lot of issues were discussed regarding travel agencies and tour operators’ business environment in Latvia. Moreover, current challenges for travel business were designated and main tools how to eliminate this challenges were elicited.
Besides official meetings with Latvian tourism organizations, students also had some practical tasks to do. One of the task was to conduct small research devoted to attitudes to food and food culture in Riga (Latvia). The essence of this research was to find out tourists’ attitude to Latvian food and all events connected with food culture in Latvia. The second task was to become a “mystery customer” and to access Jurmala tourist zone, transportation, restaurants, museums, and TIC according to the checklist created beforehand.