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Understanding tourism from the tourists perspective

06 Sep 2013

Students from Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE’s (NMIT) Hospitality and Tourism Department have taken part in a study tour to China as part of a grant from the Federal Government. 

The Hospitality and Tourism Department received a Federal Government grant from the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education to help Vocational Education and Training (VET) students gain an understanding of working overseas. 

The VET Outbound Mobility Program hopes to increase the level of partnership activity between Australian education and training providers and international partners, and subsequently increase the employability of students because of their international experience.

The Program also aims to increase the number of Australian VET students undertaking international study opportunities and to allow students to travel and expose them to different cultures and business practices.

NMIT’s Hospitality and Tourism Department used the funding to take 10 tourism and events students to Shanghai, China to participate in a study tour with Chinese partner SICFL.

NMIT students worked with Chinese students on projects and also learnt how to meet the expectations of Australia's soon to be biggest tourism market.

NMIT Advanced Diploma of Tourism student Robert Ratcliffe was one of the students who travelled to China as part of the student delegation.    “Learning about the culture and language of China and gaining an understanding of the tourism needs for Chinese visitors to Australia were the highlights of the trip,” said Robert.

Building relationships with the Chinese college and business community were a key feature of the trip for all students.  Robert hopes to work developing and building international relationships for tourism in Australia in the corporate market. 

For Robert, the experience has been valuable in gaining real life experience in a rapidly developing country and an important tourism market to Australia.

“It was very rewarding working alongside these students who were very keen to learn as well as teach us about their culture and language,” said Robert.

Following the trip, Robert made contact with the Australian tourism office and Melbourne Convention Bureau in Shanghai, where he met up with the regional manager and general manager.

“By providing this experience, NMIT has given me a better understanding of the tourism needs of this type of market and helped develop my business relationships and networks. I feel that no textbook or lecture could have covered such an experience and I am extremely grateful to NMIT for the support I have received in gaining this experience,” said Robert.

Image: Robert Ratcliffe visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing

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