Tourism students from abroad: Riga should not be ashamed from the Soviet heritage (1)
In the first half of August, thanks to the granted state scholarships of State Education Development Agency (SEDA), an international summer school - Sustainable and intelligent city took place in Turiba University, which was organized by International Tourism Faculty of Turiba. The subject of summer school was- Riga - its society, nature and culture. Participants of summer school were given the task - to look at two areas of Riga and come up with proposals what should be improved in these areas. Participants analyzed Grizinkalns (Krasotaju Street) and Kalnciema street and shared their ideas.
People from Riga are helpful and responsive
Tamari Araviashvili is a tourism manager and student from Georgia, she applied for a summer school to supplement her knowledge, as well as to gain insight about how Riga develops. “I wanted to compare Riga and Tbilisi, the development of tourism, infrastructure and other important aspects. During my visit in Riga I have acquired a lot of new ideas that I would like to implement in Tbilisi. This is the first time when I am in Latvia and I was overwhelmed by the hospitality of people. It must be said that even all the inscriptions and references in Riga are mostly only in Latvian, it is not difficult to orientate. Also people in Riga are helpful and do not allow tourists to get lost, "says the student.
Value - Art Nouveau buildings
In the project Tamari worked in the working group which theme was- Alberta Street: "I am excited about the Art Nouveau buildings in Riga, they are in the entire length of Alberta Street. There are not so many streets in Tbilisi with so magnificent architecture, but here on the one street are located magnificent, historic art nouveau style buildings – it is amazing. "
Mobile application for tourists so the visit in Riga would be much more comfortable
Students also developed a number of recommendations, which, in their view, would be worth implementing in Riga: “ In our working group arose the suggestion that in Riga would be neccessary mobile application. With it you could go on a tour and learn a variety of facts about all of Riga’s architectural monuments, tourism objects, etc. One application which contains all relevant information for tourists. The application do not have to be free, but the price should not be too high –so the visit in Riga for tourists would be much more comfortable.
Craft workshops, where tourists can learn the ancient skills
Another suggestion arose while visiting many souvenir stores located throughout Riga, especially in the Old Town- tourists have extensive opportunities to buy already ready things made by craftsmen, but there is a little chance to make something by their own hands. If in Riga are small craft workshops where tourists under the guidance of professionals could themselves create something out of clay, wood or other material interest will be high.
Attractive are the rhythm and authenticity of Riga
Fernando Miguel Navarra is Argentine with an Italian origin, about his choice to visit Riga says: "I really wanted to see Riga, this city seems so unusual for me - it used to be a part of the Soviet Union, but now it reflects the quality of Europe. Past two years I have lived in China, so I really like Riga’s peaceful rhythm. "
"During the project we studied the area of Grizinkalns, when I arrived I already felt that it is a special place. Yes, it is not the richest place with architectural things in Riga, but there are authenticity and naturalness. If we talk about what should be improved in the tourism industry in Riga then I would like to say - language skills. Especially for those people who works in tourism or a related industry. Residents of Riga should be aware of their city's strengths and emphasize it in order to attract tourists and cultivate their culture, "says Fernando Miguel Navarra.
Do not be ashamed and do not hide the Soviet heritage
“I understand that the local Latvian people look differently at that, but note that for tourists like me the Soviet architecture and constructions which have survived in many places in Latvia are very attractive. We have seen the Soviet architecture only in the movies, so it is binding to visit these places. Buildings and constructions of that period are witnesses of how strong the Soviet ideology was, so do not be ashamed or do not hide it, it is a part of history which must be seen and explored,” says the student.
Summer school was attended by students from Italia, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Slovakia, Georgia, Slovenia, Belgium and Azerbaijan - each of them had their own vision about Riga and how the city could develop in the future, but everyone was pleased with the opportunity to see it with their own eyes and visit Latvia.
Turiba University realizes this project through the State Education Development Agency’s (SEDA) granted state scholarships.