TORONTO – Earlier this month a group of Ryerson University students from the Hospitality & Tourism Management program embarked on an 8-day trip to Cuba as part of a new educational partnership with Intrepid Travel. The course is an experiential learning trip designed to give students exposure to the tourism industry outside of the classroom.
The professor of the course, Ryerson University’s Dr. Rachel Dodds, chose the destination based on its significance and relevancy in the current tourism landscape. “With the United States set to open their doors to Cuba a lot is changing in this country” said Dodds. “This is the perfect time to educate students on how this impacts not only Canadian and American travelers, but also resorts, tour operators and other parts of the industry.”
Dr. Dodds worked closely with Julianna Guy, Private Groups Manager for Intrepid Travel, on setting up the custom itinerary and the educational components of the trip. “Our immersive style of travel was very conducive to the experiential nature of this course” said Guy, who was able to tweak an existing Intrepid Travel itinerary and add in educational elements throughout.
The students spent time in Varadero, Havana and Trinidad learning about all aspects of the industry through guest lectures from professors and hospitality professionals in Cuba. Among the speakers was Gustavo Zaldumbide, from the Gaviota tourism group, a Cuban based company who operates over 20,000 of the 61,000 hotel rooms in Cuba. The students also met with representatives from Melia, the Cuba Tourist Board, Formatur, ECOTUR and Cuban Adventures.
This is the second time Intrepid Travel and Ryerson University have partnered for a course credit abroad. In May of 2012 the two teamed up for a director’s credit course in Peru, and, after a three year hiatus, the program appears poised to become a staple in the curriculum.
“We are very excited to build out this program further with Ryerson University and other universities across Canada.” said Guy. “Travel is a powerful tool for education and from of what I’ve heard from the students who completed this course, they certainly agree.”
Educators and agents looking for more information on custom educational tours from Intrepid Travel can visit intrepidtravel.com/privategroups.