Tourism majors earn real world experience


Group members Jason Peskar, Shane Webster, Cara Bakan, Benjamin Fekete, David Collier and Alexander Arauz give an oral presentation titled, “Back to the Bay” on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. The group designed a tour taking participants around Put-In-Bay.

Olivia Minnier

The Global Tourism: Design Contest on Wednesday showcased students’ ability to be creative, yet professional, in front of a larger audience.

The event was held in support of Philip Wang, an associate professor in the foundation, leadership and administration department’s two courses: the global tourism elective course and a senior level course in tour design that tourism majors take.

In one, students gave powerpoint presentations on trips that they constructed for northeast Ohio. In the other, students created posters focusing on a specific historical icon and built a trip guide based on their life.

“They are kind of doing an American Idol kind of thing because in tourism, of course, you’re only as good as you can get people to travel with you,” said Linda Robertson, outreach program director for the Center for International and Intercultural Education.

By providing Cuban food and travel information for student attendees, the two different presentations were linked together. 

“With Cuba as a new destination that (has) been off limits for Americans, we thought it was kind of a hot topic,” Robertson said.

Experts from the travel industry, as well as knowledgeable faculty members, were invited to judge the students’ presentations. Judges like Anne Morrison, a professor for Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences, were impressed by the various knowledge of the groups and their high level of professionalism.

“There’s a range of professionalism with the posters,” Morrison said. “I particularly liked the Fitzgerald poster. I learned a lot.”

Morrison was interested in being a judge for the presentations because she travels with her classes to Cuba. In March, she plans to take her relational learning in Cuba class to the country. Students will visit schools and study the literacy campaign present in Cuba. They will also see the Bay of Pigs and other important historical sites.

Students in both classes had the opportunity to ask their expert judges questions about the presentations and the travel industry in general.

“They had a lot of just general curiosity about Cuba and what they do there since it is a communist country,” said Chris Cupples, a representative from Kaser Enterprises, a business advisory and advocacy firm located in Columbus.

Students from the classes found the event to be a beneficial part of their class experience, as Hongyi Xu, a graduate hospitality and tourism management student did. She thought her particular presentation titled “Summer Splash: Color your Culture” went smoothly, and she learned vital skills from the experience.

“I learned how to plan a program and research different travel destinations,” Xu said.

She also mentioned that she was impressed by the presentations that were given by her classmates on trips for around the northeast Ohio area.

“Our professor is very humorous and eloquent and gives lots of examples on different topics,” Xu said.

This year, the event was part of International Education Week, which runs from Nov. 15-20.

“It’s our International Center’s support of really just a professor trying to bring a more authentic assessment to his students as well as to help them with state of the art speakers,” Robertson said.

Olivia Minnier is an enterprise reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].