Tourism & Hospitality Field Learning Tour
Tourism and hospitality is the leading brother-sister industry in the world. Although it is susceptible to political, social, and environmental factors, it is the fastest-recovering industry in the world. The harder it is hit, the faster it bounces back. According to World Travel and Tourism Council (2022), Tourism contributed 10.3% of global GDP in 2019, 5.3% in the middle of the heated 2020 global pandemic crisis, and 6.1% in 2021, and it is expected to hit 8.46% in 2022. United Nations World Tourism Council, (2022), Barometer states that international arrivals have tripled from January to July 2022 with a record of 172% compared to a similar time last year. A record of 60%+ pre-covid with an estimated 5.8% growth rate. With these statistics, the industry is shining brightly and is demanding more employees and institutions are demanding more students to make them tourism and hospitality professionals.
Over the years, Strathmore University, School of Tourism and Hospitality STH has been offering favorable high-end quality learning in the field of tourism and hospitality. Students go through a rigorous industry-based curriculum training that is designed to give them the best professional skills, industry exposure, and optimized and personalized class learning experience. Moreover, the school offers affiliated tourism and hospitality executive programs through affiliate programs to be the best in the job market. Through the well-developed full and evening-time programs, students and lecturers engage with leading industry managers, parastatal directors, and leading entrepreneurs to adequately prepare the students to become the best professionals as job seekers and entrepreneurs.
In 2022, STH has engaged in several student-based projects to enhance and promote the learning experience. These include; Innovation for Africa Universities (IAU), a quest to produce the best innovative tourism entrepreneurs in tourism. There are also International Exchange Programs in Europe that focus on promoting internalization in tourism and hospitality programs. Additionally, there are also local-based academic programs, for instance the annual academic trip taken to the Southern and Coastal Circuits in November. This exposure is geared towards quality learning exposure outside the class setting.
This year, the academic trip saw STH students get an opportunity to spend four days across Tsavo National Park, North and South Coast of Kenya to connect with the industry, have fun, and more so to practically learn in the field. The South Rift, Southern, and Coastal Circuits are the most visited circuits in Kenya, including Nairobi as the gateway city to all other circuits in the country. During the trip, students were taken on an all-inclusive academic tour under the guidance of lecturers to optimize the learning experience in parks and hotels.
On day one, students were able to tour the Tsavo West National Park, the second-largest national park in Kenya. The park is endowed with a mixed ecosystem that is highly favourable for diverse wildlife species such as the endangered black rhino, diverse flora, among the other big five animals in Kenya. Despite the park being in the hottest zones in Kenya, it hosts the largest water catchment zone in the Southern Circuit, The Mzima Springs. Our students visited Mzima Springs and got the best opportunity to see clear fresh water oozing from dry rocky areas under the famous yellow fever acacia trees. Quite a beautiful experience. Mzima Springs offers a clear clean pool of water such that you don’t need strain to see fish freely move in the water, they are clearly visible in their diversity from the outside. Good licensed fishermen in this spring don’t use any fishing line, they harvest them by collection. You wonder how, haah? Take a tour nanii!
Through the game drive, students were lucky enough to see and learn enough about the big five, birds, and flora diversity, and tour the Shetani Lava, one of the most visited zones in Tsavo west. Moreover, the students visited Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge to optimize their learning experience in an attraction-based hotel across their restaurants, accommodation, and their general products and services in the lodge. On this day, students spent their night in Ngulia Safari Lodge inside the Tsavo West, the only hotel that offers seasonal bird catching, ringing, and tracing in the region. In the morning, professor Colins Jackson took us through a bird migration study, and each student was offered a bird to release after ringing them. Luckily enough, we were able to see a ringed bird that had migrated from Belgium through the Tsavo migration route. Quite exciting.
The second day saw us have an exciting game drive as we exited through the Tsavo River Gate to the coast. On arrival at the coast, we visited Haller Park, a great conservation area converted from a dilapidated quarry in 1984. The park is home to unique albino crocodiles, old and big tortoises, waterbucks, special hippopotamus, an oryx, a butterfly pavilion, a fish farm, a special old buffalo, a snake park, and many more. The students were able to experience all these attractions, more so learn about the sustainability of the Haller Park conservation system and the feeding of the giraffes. Soon after the tour, students went to the baobab hotel on the south coast for dinner and overnight. However, throughout the evening, lots of energies were spent in the hotel swimming pool and gym, and some at the beach for a moment of cool breezy. How else would you have spent your evening after such a great day?
On the third day, we spend most of the day on the north coast where students were able to taste and experience the best of Diani beaches, hotels, foods, and diverse hotel products and services. This was a great hospitality day where both tourism and hospitality students were able to understand why a person would spend a million dollars in a hotel for a day when there are other hotels where you’d spend a few dollars in a week. The baseline is in the quality of diverse hotel products, services, and experiences each hotel offers. The art of fine dining and living in hospitality. Did you know Diani beaches previously ranked as the best beaches in Africa for 6 years running?
Welcome to my class officially and read this report indicating why Diani is the leading beach destination. It is termed to be silky white sand, warm tortoise waters, and palm-lined streets with slivers of paradise marking the borders where the vast Indian ocean meets Africa. Our students experienced the fine taste of a true Five-star hotel in Diani across Swahili Beach Hotel and Leopard Beach Hotel. One student reaffirmed the true meaning of real five stars by the allure of the hotel’s spas, double hexagon swimming pools in the same hotel, top furnished restaurant, interior, and exterior services, and epic elegance. Later in the evening, some of us did a Mombasa tour, shopping, and beach walk, and defined a uniformly heated swimming as we did our evening talk by the pool drink. We couldn’t handle any other experience with such a full-day recipe, would you?
This is the real reaffirmation of experiential learning Strathmore students get in STH. We not only literally bring out the meaning of going places but show you how you can go places with quality exposure to field learning. The all-inclusive tour saw us prepare to check out on our last day, day four by waking up early for breakfast, a photo session, swimming, last-minute shopping, and traveling back to Nairobi.
The best takeaway is that tourism and hospitality are growing so fast and consumer demands are changing much faster. In each destination we visited, the managers were quite informative on their key improved and enhanced areas of operation. From the national parks, there was improved efficiency in payment systems, better communication channels, customized conservation practices for sustainable tourism, and many more. In hotels, there are enhanced guest experiences on product service diversity, better check-in and check-out tech procedures, personalized services, communication, and many more. How else would you want to learn tourism and hospitality?
Come, Strathmore School of Tourism and Hospitality is the premium training place to take you places in your tourism and hospitality careers.
Enjoy some photo moment through the link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/PqKjsAfZve4d6nXB7
This article was written by Festus Maina, Teaching Fellow, STH.
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