I have been asked by many people this week how my brief time was in Australia so I thought I would contribute to our blog in order to share the information with a wider audience. As many of you know I was invited to make a presentation to an organization called THE ICE (Tourism and Hospitality Educators International Center for Excellence). Every year they host a panel of experts conference and this year I was invited to make a presentation on the evolution and future of Tourism and Hospitality Education in Canada. Fortunately RRU has a professional development fund that individuals can access to help defray the costs of participation in this type of event and I was very pleased that I could use these funds to participate. The 2 day conference provided me with many ideas about what we might be able to do in the future with our tourism and hospitality programs as well as the opportunity to connect with many potential partners. Immediately after the conference concluded, I was able to spend a day at the Association of Australian Hotel Schools Career Fair where I met with approximately 20 potential internship employers. Many of the organizations I talked to were very interested in hearing from BA students who wanted to complete an internship in Australia and I will be presenting this information to this year’s cohort later in the fall. On day 4 of my visit, I spent the day at the William Blue School of Hotel Management. We are trying to work out an agreement whereby if our students want to complete an internship in Australia they will facilitate and supervise in exchange for us doing the same thing for any of their students that are interested in interning here in BC. On my last work day in Australia, I visited with the International College of Hotel Management in Manly. If you have never been to that part of the world, Manly is a 35 minute passenger ferry ride from Sydney and a great way to see some of the sites including the Opera House.
The beach at Manly is famous for surfing, but as I was in a jacket and tie I could only stare longingly at it. For those of you who haven’t I was pleasantly surprised by how much their campus reminded me of ours here at RRU. As they have an MBA program with a specialization in Hotel and Tourism Management they are interested in determining if there is some way that their students might be able to access our graduate certificates. On my only free day in Australia, I took a tour that included stops at a wildlife park where we learned about the fauna of Australia, some beautiful botannical gardens (although not as nice as ours!)
and a stop at an old historic mine site that included a walk in the rain forest. It was a long 12 hour day but I am really glad I took the opportunity. Although it was a long way to go for a week, I am really glad that I took advantage of the opportunity as I came home with numerous new contacts for jobs for students and exchange opportunities. Furthermore I was able to spend a good deal of time with my Australian counterparts learning about some of the issues that they are challenged by including the development of an accreditation process for schools and a diminishing pool of domestic students.
So, whats next on the agenda for me? Well, between classes and other responsibilities at work and at home, I am currently in Calgary attending the Canadian Resort Investment Conference where I am going to be meeting with resort owners and operators that may be interested in some of our programs. We are also going to be discussing whether or not there is a demand for specialized education in the field of Vacation Home Ownership. After a few days at home I am going to be attending the Tourism Industry Association of Canada Conference in Saint John New Brunswick. I will take advantage of that opportunity to make presentations at both New Brunswick Community College and Nova Scotia Community College to update them both on our transfer agreements and what is new at RRU. I will also be participating in the University Transfer Fair at Holland College in PEI. In mid November I will be at the SAIT University Transfer Fair and making presentations to their tourism and hospitality students about RRU and then in late November I have been invited by the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council to participate in an advisory group meeting in Montreal. After that – rest at home and get reaquainted with my own bed!