Exotic colours and flavours at the holiday fair organised by tourism students
Visitors who entered the Inholland Diemen hall last Friday could hardly believe their eyes. Students from the Tourism and Recreation Management (HTRO) and Tourism Management (TM) programmes tried to tempt passers-by to their stands with fabulous destinations and innovative travel products. And some of them used very original methods...
On Friday, first-year students from the Tourism and Recreation Management (HTRO) programme and the English-language variant (TM) represented the tourist offices of particular countries. Their task was to appeal to a new target group with an innovative offer. For the ‘Innovation’ project, second-year students from the two tourism programmes thought up innovative tourist concepts for an existing tour operator. They then translated their concepts into feasible products, such as tours or packages, which they launched at the holiday fair.
The students invited guests to replicate the atmosphere of a genuine holiday fair. And what better way to tempt them than to offer delicious drinks and snacks? From traditional Dutch cheese cubes to fresh sambusas, a spicy snack from Tanzania, there were plenty of goodies to sample. The ‘Into the Wild’ project group set up a tent and used leaves and a tree trunk to represent an outdoor trip to Norway. The members of one project group were loaned VR glasses by the Costa Rican embassy, allowing visitors to gain a 3D impression of the Central American country. Rianne van der Linden, a TM student who was representing Myanmar with her colleagues, even wore her own wetsuit to highlight the wonderful underwater delights of this country which has only recently opened its doors to the outside world.
One of the visitors was Muriël, the mother of a first-year student. She felt that the fair provided a good opportunity to get holiday ideas. 'We tend to go to the same country, but I got a lot of inspiration here. For example, I thought the Chilean stand was very interesting. I work at Schiphol myself, so I really enjoy fairs like these!' The parents of a student who was promoting Jamaica said that the fair really got them into a holiday mood. 'A friend of mine has just been to Jamaica and I saw her wonderful photos on Facebook. Now my daughter has a great stand about the same country at this fair, so who knows, it might be our next destination.'
In the Netherlands, the travel market is pretty tough and there is a lot of competition. Many of the stands reflected current trends in the sector. These days, for example, people like to put together their own holidays.
Assessing the project group presentations were three tourism industry experts: Ellen Bulthuis, product manager and sustainability coordinator at Koning Aap, Rob Segaar, product manager at Thomas Cook, and Sandra Kuggeleijn, who until recently was a consultant at Aviareps, a tourist marketing and PR agency, and joined the HTRO programme as a lecturer at the beginning of November. Within the TM programme, the judges deemed that Myanmar and ‘To the Roots of Life’ presented their products best. At the latter stand, the second-year students presented inspirational trips to ‘blue zones’, regions where people reach an impressive age thanks to their healthy lifestyle. The winning HTRO groups were ‘Srprs.me in Holland’, which offered surprising trips in the Netherlands, and ‘Chili Heel Compleet’.
It struck jury member Ellen Bulthuis that the average level of the stands was high. And that's a good thing, she said: 'In the Netherlands, the travel market is pretty tough and there is a lot of competition. Many of the stands reflected current trends in the sector. These days, for example, people like to put together their own holidays.' Rob Segaar was also impressed with how the students presented themselves. 'They were remarkably dedicated and enthusiastic. I asked each group member to explain the product. That gave me a good idea of how well they worked together.' The winners received bottles of bubbly, cinema vouchers and gifts from the trade experts.