Tourism students adapt to industry challenges of COVID-19 ​

    • Prince George
  • December 16, 2020
Tourism PG 3

CNC students are making their mark in the tourism and hotel management sectors locally and nationally, even as the COVID-19 pandemic turned traditional business practices and learning environments upside down.

The impact of COVID-19 has rippled across industries throughout the entire world. Tourism, in particular, halted during the early stages of the pandemic as borders closed and countries put restrictions in place to slow the spread of the virus.

This produced a challenge for CNC Tourism and Hotel Management students preparing for their upcoming practicums. Typically, students choose to gain industry experience working front-line customer service positions in tourism focused businesses such as hotels.

“Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option this year,” said CNC Tourism and Hotel Management instructor Dooseon Jung. “Instead, students created a unique experience by adapting their practica to focus on the back-office operations and project planning side of the tourism industry.”

The program used a platform called Riipen to connect students with projects from organizations both local and across the country.

With a dream to work in the hotel industry, Raichu Abraham used virtual meetings to assist a local hotel in the development of a reopening plan for its bistro, fitness centre, and pool. The project also involved developing a revamping strategy for the hotel to remain profitable during these tough times.

“The practicum was a wonderful experience,” she said. “Although it was virtual, it involved real world problem solving that blended theory and application. I was encouraged to explore various avenues and look for out of the box solutions to reduce costs while remaining profitable.”

Meanwhile, a team of four Tourism and Hotel Management students partnered with 1,000 Towns of Canada, a Toronto based digital platform connecting travellers with communities across the country. Featuring content created by locals, 1,000 Towns of Canada strives to highlight the hidden gems of communities from coast to coast.

“Who knows better about a place than the people who live there,” said 1,000 Towns of Canada CEO Vladimir Umnov.

CNC Tourism and Hotel Management student and project lead Veerkamal Singh said the group took a research focused approach to developing the content for Prince George’s 1,000 Towns of Canada page.

Their methods were both old and new. Using analytical data and hash tags from different social media platforms, the team found the most engaging attractions around Prince George for residents and visitors. Often, the team combed through archives or newspapers to tell a story about the site.

The BX Pub was a good example, Singh said, as its newly painted mural gained a lot of traction on social media while they were working on the project. Researching the pub further, the team learned about its replica of Sir Stamford Raffles’ 19th century hand-carved wooden throne.

“That makes the BX Pub unique,” he said. “We wanted to showcase sites that had a little bit of history around it.”

The experience was so positive for 1,000 Towns of Canada that they are partnering with CNC again next semester.

“I enjoyed communicating with the students weekly to discuss their progress,” Umnov said. “They were enthusiastic about their work and I think they did a great job.”

Singh hopes to find work in the hotel industry once completing the program. Though his practicum was different this year, he gained a wealth of knowledge that he said will help as his career develops.

“I learned a lot about the potential of social media’s use in the tourism industry,” Singh said. “And I received professional experience working on deadlines while creating and presenting reports to a CEO. This is all going to be helpful in my future.”

Learn more about CNC’s Post-Diploma in Tourism and Hotel Management program.

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