TourNord is happy to announce that the University of the Faroe Islands will be joining us!
The University of the Faroe Islands (UFI) is the primary higher education and research institution in the Faroe Islands, the nation’s only university and its foremost knowledge centre. It undertakes research and research-based teaching, providing for synergy between research and teaching, to serve the evolving needs and priorities of the Faroes and their wider region.
The University, which plays a vital role in Faroese society, currently has some 100 academic staff (full-time equivalents), some 60 staff in support and service positions, and around 1,000 students. The University’s Strategic Plan 2020-2024 provides a fresh statement of the University´s mission, together with a vision of a well-integrated, modern, professional university, working in partnership and in collaboration, to serve the evolving needs of the Faroe Islands and the wider region.
The Faroe Islands has also become a unique country (and first mover) in innovative approaches to a more sustainable and responsible form of tourism. We look forward to learning from them on how we can continuously improve tourism education in the Nordics and Baltics!
TouNord is now represented in Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland Greenland, Lithuania, Poland and the Faroe Islands by 11 different institutions.
We are so very happy to announce that TourNord is adding yet another exciting partner to our network! A big, warm welcome to the Koszalin University of Technology!
The Koszalin University of Technology (KUT) has several fantastic tourism programs, and already has great experience working with several of our TourNord members. We are certain that KUT will provide unique and valuable insights into how we can drive forward TourNord and its goals on improving tourism education in the Nordics and Baltics!
Koszalin University of Technology (KUT), is a public technical university located in Koszalin, Poland. At present, it educates over nine thousand students in twenty-eight modern fields of study such as technical, economics, humanities and arts majors.
To its scientific staff, KUT offers the opportunity to work in laboratories equipped with the most up-to-date facilities, thus enabling the carrying out of research in the most advanced areas of scientific endeavour, and for its students it provides lines of study and specialisations which meet the wide-ranging demands of the 21st century, in particular in the spheres of applied science, information technology and communications.
We would like to give a warm welcome to our newest TourNord partner, the University of Gdańsk! We look forward to cooperating on tourism education and research, with particular focus on the Nordics and Baltics!
The University of Gdańsk is a large, multidisciplinary university and is increasingly involved in the tourism and hospitality sector. We are confident that their knowledge and experience will help strengthen the TourNord network! A bit of information about the university can be found below.
The University of Gdańsk
The University of Gdańsk (UG), located in Gdańsk (a city in northern Poland with over a thousand years of history) is at present the largest university in the Pomeranian region and has indisputable influence on the development of modern Poland, science and higher education. UG has eleven faculties with over 25 thousand students, doctoral students and post-graduates enrolled in such fields of study as Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Oceanography, Quantum Physics, Pedagogy, Psychology, Law, Sociology, Spatial Management and Economic Sciences. The University remains faithful to its original 1970 motto – In mari via tua (The sea is your way), and its’ maritime image is reflected in many fields of study, specialities and research connected with the sea and in particular with the Baltic coast. The University is a valuable research centre devoted to sustainable development with educational programmes and research projects related to this important challenge. University of Gdańsk cooperates closely with the business sector in terms of education and scientific innovation.
Icelandic Tourism Research Centre (Rannsóknamiðstöð ferðamála):
The Icelandic Tourism Research Centre (ITRC) is a cooperative project between three universities: the University of Akureyri (UNAK), the University of Iceland (UI), and Hólar University (HU). The objectives of the centre are: to promote tourism research in Iceland, facilitate cooperation in Icelandic higher education institutes in the field of tourism studies, strengthening ties between academic work and industry, and to increase knowledge on tourism through domestic and international collaboration. The ITRC has participated in several multinational projects, e.g. funded by the EU Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme.
Lithuania Business University of Applied Sciences (Lietuvos verslo Kolegija):
LBUAS is a Lithuanian higher education and research institution located in the Lithuanian port city of Klaipeda with a branch in Vilnius. The institution conducts professional bachelor’s studies in five directions: management, tourism, economy, law, and technology. Also, together with social partners and scientific institutions, it implements national and international scientific-applied research, based on which the Department of Scientific-Applied Research is founded.
A quick update for planned TourNord network meetings!
We will be meeting for our third network meeting in Bergen, Norway on the 6th and 7th of March, 2023! The Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (Høgskulen på Vestlandet) will be hosting. The theme of the 3rd network meeting is about innovative and resilient Nordic Tourism! We look forward to meeting everyone there!
The 4th network meeting will be taking place in August 2023 (dates TBD) in Nuuk, Greenland! The University of Greenland (Ilisimatusarfik) will be hosting. The theme of the 4th network meeting will be about sustainable tourism and how to prepare for a greener future for our students!
And to finish with a little teaser….we have some new members joining us shortly! 🙂
Serving as a forum for exchanging best practices and experiences for education and knowledge development within Nordic Tourism, the central themes of the network meeting were:
Life-long learning: How can educators continuously update their skills and competences
Nordic Tourism: What makes it unique
Tourism lessons learned: From remote locations
The network meet also had scheduled in workshops to continue working on the ideas created at our first network meet in Esbjerg, Denmark – namely projects within digital competence development in the tourism sector, and development of Nordic coastal tourism.
Day 1: Perspectives to life-long learning and Developing Nordic Coastal Tourism
After a warm welcome, Timo Halttunen, Head of Unit at Brahea Centre Areal Research and Development, at the University of Turku, gave us a presentation about professional learning, the reform of continuous learning in Finland, as well as the challenges the tourism sector faces with regards to continuous learning – a challenge not only unique to the Nordics, but to the EU sector as a whole! An interesting fact, was that the Nordic countries were ahead of the curve in Europe with regards to continuous learning, yet the tourism sector still lagged behind when comparing to other industries.
The presentation was followed by a great discussion on key areas that TourNord’s partner institutions could focus on in their respective countries when it comes to current students, as well as plans for continuous learning throughout a career of a tourism sector employee.
After the presentation and discussion, Gregory Kwiatkowski from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and Christian Dragin-Jensen from Business Academy SouthWest led a work-meeting about how to progress from our desire to jointly work on developing a Nordic Coastal Tourism project (from our network meet in Esbjerg). We have excitedly concluded to create a book: “Developing Nordic Coastal Tourism” with all partners contributing to chapters, as well as inviting other practitioners and scholars to contribute! Gregory and Christian will serve as editors. Mia Post-Lundgaard from Business Academy SouthWest also raised the important notion of the book’s necessary contribution to not only academics and practitioners, but also to students. Moreover, the important question was also asked that if we are a Nordic cooperative, should the book not also be available in (at least some) of our Nordic languages?
In the evening, we were introduced to a Turku tourism destination concept: The Turku Food Walk, at local restaurant Di Trevi. The Turku food walk is an initiative by Visit Turku and its partners to showcase the best of the city’s culinary scene with just one card. That is, for a modest fee, tourists can visit an array of restaurants and sample many dishes from many different restaurants. The tour is ideal if you’re new to the city or visiting Turku and are interested in the food culture of the Nordics. It was fascinating to hear how many of the city’s restaurants found benefits in coopetition (the act of cooperating between competing companies) to give tourists a more holistic experience of the city’s food scene.
Day 2: A day of Senses in Tourism Research and Experience Development
Our second day was a a true day of exchanging best practices. This day was dedicated to exploring how the University of Turku research the use of senses in developing and understanding experiences. The first item on the order of the day was a fascinating presentation by Emmi Järvi, Project Communications Specialist, titled “Multidisciplinary research platform for producing new scientific knowledge and consumer understanding for society and businesses”. The research platform was using in-house facilities at the University of Turku campus, namely an experimental restaurant called Flavoria, and a multi-sensory room full of modern technologies to enhance sensory experiences.
The experimental restaurant was a veritable smorgasbord of data collecting points, from how guests selected their food, to how much bio-waste they generated, as well as desired portion sizes. The multi-sensory room, titled Aistikattila, is an immersive multi-sensory space for research and teaching and for hosting innovation workshops, seminars and events. More specifically:
Aistikattila provides an interesting setting for e.g. co-creation, product, and group interview studies. With studies measuring the effects of different environments can be discovered, how a certain audiovisual environment or augmented reality affects, for example, eating experiences, human behavior, or sensory experiences. The research possibilities go beyond the above-mentioned framework; the object of study can well be a technological solution
Inspired by sitting in the Aistikattila space, we had a double brainstorming session on how we could work together on the following:
Creating a blended intensive programme. Led by Gregory Kwiatkowski, we discussed on which common tourism topics where we could lead a blended intensive program – the area of Event Management drawing particular interest. Great experiences were shared on Dania Academy’s efforts by Henrik Pahus and Mikkel Lodahl of their summer school programs in Vietnam and elsewhere around the world. It was decided to continue this avenue to create a blended intensive programme for our Nordic partners!
Continue our work on digital competences within tourism. Led by Timo Halttunen and Christian Dragin-Jensen, an intense discussion was had with all partners, but followed with a fruitful creation of a concept note for an Erasmus+ application (further developed from our ideas at the 1st network meet in Esbjerg). Specifically, a project which focuses on creating a tourism platform to better define digital skills and competences within tourism, how to upskill and reskill existing tourism employees, assessing learning in digital contexts, and how to create a blueprint for micro-credentials within tourism educations. Trine Thomsen from Business Academy SouthWest also highlighted the tremendous importance of linking digital skills with lifelong learning, as the realm of the digital is simply moving so fast, that what is taught at the beginning of an education, may no longer be relevant when students receive their degree!
In the afternoon, we continued along our journeys of senses – more specifically, the sense of sight. A presentation was given by Marjaana Puurtinen, Adj. Professor at the University of Turku, on Eye-tracking technology in educational research: higher-order cognition, learning in different domains and contexts. This was a fascinating presentation on not only how we can optimize teaching by using eye-tracking technology, but also how we could design tourist experiences. One of Marjaana’s projects was about designing a better museum experience by eye-tracking guests throughout the museum, to gain a novel and unique understanding of what guests spent the majority of their time looking at, as well as discovering what elements were most interactive for them. A future project we surely can’t wait to see more of!
The session was followed by a great discussion on how can we use these technologies in understanding professional learning, particularly when comparing to “hands-on task” learning, vs. theoretical and conceptualisation learning.
Day 3: Designing a “hands-on” museum visit – how a multi-sensory exhibition was developed with researchers and stakeholders
The final day of our 2nd network meet was an excursion day to 40,000+ exhibition at the Forum Marinum. Here we were guided by Ira Lahovuo, Project Manager at the City of Turku, and the main driving force behind the exhibition, an output of an Interreg project, Archipelago Access. Turku is the main city closely located to Finland’s famous archipelago, home to more than 40,000 islands. The project’s summary was the following:
Sustainable nature and culture-based archipelago tourism are still characterized by a large number of SMEs, public actors, uncoordinated promotion and scattered information. Thanks to Archipelago Access, Turku and Stockholm archipelagos join forces and invite Åland along to increase the attractiveness of the whole archipelago area.
Guided by Ira, we were given a unique insight in how many different stakeholders took part in creating the exhibition, from digital and sound specialists, tourism experts and marine biologists. Much focus was placed on finding the perfect balance between informing potential visitors about the region and the difficulties it faces (loss of biodiversity, climate change, etc.), but also to show how it could be an attractive place to visit – when done right.
All the participating TourNord members would like to thank the University of Turku and its partners for their warm hospitality, and a fantastic program which ensured that our network meet serve:
1. As a forum for exchanging best practices and experiences for education and knowledge development within Nordic Tourism 2. To discover and implement innovative ways of teaching to benefit educators and students in preparing them for the current/future demands of Nordic Tourism
3. To promote & advance student/staff mobility amongst partners for learning, innovation and R&D activities within NT.
Serving as a forum for exchanging best practices and experiences for education and knowledge development within Nordic Tourism, the central themes of the network meeting were:
Preparing students and educators in tourism with digital skills & competences
Developing Sustainable Tourism Destinations
Day 1: A day of digital skills & competences
After a warm welcome, TourNord got straight down to business with a presentation from Alice Bank Danielsen from Danish Coastal and Nature Tourism, who gave us a fascinating insight on the schism that exists between educational institutions’ understanding of digital competences in the tourism sector versus the actual reality. She also rounded off by presenting the digital toolbox they have created, to serve as an inspiration and guidance tool for tourism actors in Denmark. This was followed afterwards by a great debate on how we (as educational institutions) can better gear our staff and students to be more prepared for the digital world that is tantamount to succes in modern tourism.
After a quick break, we then went into a brainstorming session on how we could generate a concrete course which would help contribute to the digital competences skill gap in the Nordic tourism sector. Splitting into two groups, we came up with two very different (but equally inspiring) ideas!
One group laid a framework for a completely digital course (geared at both higher education students and the life-long learning adult education sector), which could be completed through a series of achievements and tasks (microcredentials). The course would stand on ‘three digital legs’, focusing on strategy, marketing and operations. The course would be case-based, in order to be context specific for the local partner institutions’ needs and demands.
The second group loved the idea of a digital course, but also saw the need and desire after long COVID-19 lockdowns for students to travel and meet – creating a short and intensive physical course where partner institutions’ students where required to travel to 2-3 partner schools. Students would receive both lecturing and be able to work on local cases with regards to using digital tools to optimize business performances of local tourism actors. Each partner institution has different skills (close ties to practitioners, workshop and creative thinking facilitation, digital skill application, etc.) and would be fine-tuned accordingly.
We plan to further work on these two ideas at our next network meeting!
Day 2: Excursion and Sustainable Tourism Development
Esbjerg is known for being windy (and the odd spot of rain as well!), yet we could not have asked for better weather in late November for our excursion to the Wadden Sea National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The morning started off with a visit to the Wadden Sea Center, where we were introduced to the the park, the relationship between nature and tourism, and how the Wadden Sea was unique in its biodiversity.
We then went on an oyster safari in the Wadden Sea, traversing ca. 2.5km into the ocean during low-tide (our guide informed us that the difference in water level between low and high tide was 1m70!).
Once we reached an oyster reef, our guide showed us how to chuck and eat oysters, all the while informing us about the types of tourists these tours normally get, interesting information about the wildlife (including snails that surf the waves, and white-tailed eagles) and the importance of knowing how to navigate the landscape.
Safely back at the Wadden Sea Center, the TourNord group then held a brainstorming session on future development projects – inspired by the Wadden Sea excursion, sustainable tourism development was the focal point. After a great discussion (where many ideas where generated), we decided that coastal tourism in the Nordics is indeed incredibly unique in the world of tourism (and how to develop it sustainably). We will therefore continue working on developing a project revolving around Nordic Coastal Tourism at our next network meeting in Finland!
Our day ended by passing by Ribe, Denmark’s oldest town, and a well-known tourist destination.
Day 3: Sustainable Tourism Development: Academic discussions and practical realities
The final day of the network meeting had a very special guest – Professor of Tourism Janne Liburd from the University of Southern Denmark, and Chairman of the Board for the Wadden Sea National Park. Janne invited us to a scintillating group discussion on understanding collaborative and sustainable tourism development. We were inspired by Janne Liburd’s transformative approach to sustainable tourism development, and we collectively tried to see how we could introduce this paradigm shift of moving tourism as growth-based industry selling a ‘product’, to instead how tourism can be a generator of wellbeing (moving across domains of cultural, economic, and ecological wellbeing). Specifically, how tourism can move from an industry that depletes an area of its resources, to instead to become a holistic part of its habitat – something the UN development goals would definitely adhere to!
Timo Halttunen (University of Turku), Anders Karkov (Business Academy SouthWest), Christian Dragin-Jensen (Business Academy SouthWest) and Céline Kylänpää (University of Turku) presented their research last week at the NordYrk 2021 online conference at Linköping University, Sweden. With 193 registered participants, the conference brought many (Nordic) researchers and participants interested in the conference’s theme: “Transitions to, between, and within school and working life in vocational education and training”.
The Tournord members’ research, titled “Collaborative Problem Solving in Real-World Situations”, involved 4 case studies of culinary (VET) and tourism management (higher education) students in Finland and Denmark. Travelling to hotels in the cities of Sønderborg (DK) and Pori (FI), students were tasked on tackling a very (globally) relevant issue of food waste in the hospitality sector.
Lead author Timo Halttunen presented the case studies and findings, bringing to attention the impact of different conditions present at the workspace to collaborative problem solving. As Timo Halttunen states:
“In classrooms, problems have a clear starting point and a goal. At the workplace, problems are often ill-defined, meaning that the starting point and end result are not that clear. At the workplace students may or may not receive support for their problem solving, and they are left to their own devices. In our study, we found that access to expert skill and knowledge is crucial for success in collaborative problem solving. However, the students underused the learning affordances present at the workspace. Furthermore, it was important that students had an opportunity to access the authentic venue to explore the problem space. In this case, the restaurant for breakfast buffet at the hotel was a richer environment for student collaborative problem solving than a conference room or a pub at the same hotel. To conclude, it was important that teachers were present to intervene when needed, and to provide students with support in perspective taking and generating solutions. When students got back on track again, teachers stepped aside and let the students to develop their sense of agency and take charge of their own learning process”.
The research contributes to the growing body of academic literature highlighting the need for teachers, educators and professionals to bridge the gap between classroom and workplace. Moreover, Collaborative problem solving provides a fascinating insight into solving ill-defined problems, a critical 21st century skill.
We are pleased to announce that an international team from TourNord, working under the direction of Dr. Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, Assistant Professor at the Koszalin University of Technology and Associate Professor at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, will be investigating how to build resilient events and festivals during uncertain times! A very relevant topic considering the severe effects the global pandemic COVID-19 has wrought.
COVID-19 has led to a lockdown of local, regional and even national economies for months at end. Society has faced new (and severe) social and economic challenges, huge losses in experience economies such as the event, tourism and hospitality industries. The International Labour Organization (ILO) predicts that unemployment will rise by 24.7 million people due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ILO further estimates that by the end of 2020, the economic loss due to COVID-19 will tap up to 3.4 trillion dollars.
This situation constitutes to be a great societal challenge which calls for urgent intervention, to save what is left and (re)build a resilient Event & Festival (E&F) sector through action research. The rational for this project, running from February – August 2021, lies in the need for up-to-date knowledge and knowledge-based tailored solutions to build resilient E&F ecosystems in our “new reality”.
Project lead, Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, is looking forward to the international cooperation and the results the project will bring:
The possibility of implementing this grant is the result of the beneficial international cooperation implemented so far by our department. We will be able to conduct important research on issues that affect us all.
Financial support for the project was obtained from the “Intervention Grants” Program of the National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) in Poland. The purpose of the program implemented is to support international cooperation of research teams in response to sudden, important, unforeseen social, civilization and natural phenomena with global or regionally significant consequences.
We look forward to hear what findings the project will bring, and how we can help bring forward these findings to practitioners, students and researchers alike!
Here at TourNord, we are very much looking forward to learn about CHEE’s most recent projects, which focus on volunteerism in tourism, and how to strategically work with big data, turning information into tangible actions!
We are certain this collaboration will help facilitate better knowledge for our partner institutions, our students within the experience economy, and will lead to future projects together!