The Online-format Guest Lecture Broadens Knowledge Exchange with China (1)
A Skype-format guest lecture of a Chinese Professor Peter Wang from Tourism College of Zhejiang (TCZJ) was organized and held at Turiba University on 19 March 2014 . The lecture took place within the framework of a UNWTO TedQual programme initiative on intercultural exchange between Latvia and China. The target audience were Latvian, foreign and Erasmus programme students of the 2nd year of studies at the Faculty of Tourism. The lecture lasted 90 minutes and included a 30 minute question-answer session.
Professor Wang introduced the audience with insights into the history of mass tourism development after the Cultural Revolution which finished in the mid 1970s. The professor mentioned three stages of domestic, inbound and outbound tourism development which occurred in 1980, 1990 and 2000.It was stated that the first period was characterized by low-quality service, poor accommodation, inefficient airline companies. In the 90s people mostly travelled to the neighbouring countries, such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia. Zhejiang province, where the College is located, has always been in a stronger economic position than some other states and has had a lot of domestic and international tourists. The 90s brought changes to the country – local tourism boomed, and areas were renovated. After the year 2000 a bigger number of Chinese could afford travelling abroad.
Today China is the 3rd most visited country in the world with 66.7 million inbound international visitors in 2012. The country also experiences an enormous volume of domestic tourism. An estimated 740 million Chinese holidaymakers travelled within the country in October 2012 alone. The Chinese travel to more than 120 countries with which the People’s Republic of China has established cooperation. Tourism in China is monitored by such organizations as China International Tourism Service (CITS) and China Travel Service (CTS).
The second part of the lecture was devoted to culture and cultural differences of Asian people. The topics discussed included importance of symbolism in China, e.g. the meaning of dragon as the symbol of Royalty and richness; development and meaning of calligraphy as a system of writing, meanings of Chinese paintings. The professor spoke about traditional, cultural and catering differences of people in China, Japan, Thailand and Singapore.
During the question – answer session students actively enquired about tourism, arts and peculiarities of cultural differences. The professor replied to all the questions with interest and asked students questions himself as well.
The experience of a guest lecture by Professor Wang was useful in many ways – culturally and linguistically. Students took notes and showed interest during the lecture. Hopefully, such lectures would become a part of the study methods of Turiba University offering the possibility of enriching knowledge in a specific subject area, as well as developing cross-cultural competence and widening horizons, thereby linking theory and practice and underlining the authenticity, importance and applicability of topics taught at the University in the international context.
Lecturer of Turiba University