Phase 2 of the Master TDM 2017-18 took our students to Asia Pacific. They conducted field research in three distinct types of tourism destinations – a city destination, a developing destination with a rural character, and a mature destination with a long history of tourism development. This year’s Master TDM class visited Melbourne, Sri Lanka, and Bali. Here we present some of the students’ experiences at the three field work destinations
Adapting to a different environment
One of the challenges of Phase 2 of the Master TDM is to adapt to completely new environments. This was the case for our students when arriving in Colombo. Few days after celebrating the end of an intense month of field research in Melbourne with only one day of relaxation, new experiences were already awaiting them. They had to quickly get used to a new language, new culture, new climate and a new assignment!
TDM student Inge from the Netherlands describes how she experienced arriving in Sri Lanka and the according culture shock: Phase 2. Destination 2: Sri Lanka
Introducing the context
The first days served as an introduction phase into the context of Sri Lanka as a tourism destination. In Colombo, our students had the opportunity to ask questions to the general manager of Khiri Travel Sri Lanka and were taken on a heritage tour through the Colombo city centre by photographer Mark Forbes. Among others they also met the famous chef Dharshan Munidasa, the owner of the Ministry of Crab, which one of the most popular restaurants in Colombo. This introduction programme was complemented by a special appointment – a visit to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Sri Lanka including meeting Dutch Vice Ambassador Eva van Woersem.
Sri Lanka assignment at the Southern Province
After three days in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, students and lecturers moved down South. First stop was the colonial seaside town Galle. Here, the group visited the 5 star resort Amangalla and discovered Galle Fort on another guided walking tour. Individual meetings with the TDM lecturers then kicked off the assignment for the single research teams. In Sri Lanka, they operated among four research areas in the country’s Southern Province, almost covering the entire southern coastline. During their first assignment in Melbourne, students researched different neighborhoods in an urban destination. Now, they had to emphasize the particularities of an emerging destination with a more rural characteristic. Ultimately, groups were expected to give an outlook on the probable future of the area concerning its destination competitiveness.
Amy from Aruba shares insight into the outcomes of her group’s assignment. Take a look at her blog: Sri Lanka: The probable future of MLO’s in the south-east coast.
Field research in Sri Lanka – a great learning expereince
Sri Lanka was a very different experience for the TDM students. They had to cope with language barriers, larger distances within in between their research area, and vast cultural differences. Therefore, they were not only able to learn about developments at an increasingly popular destination first hand, they could also test their personal limits in multiple aspects. These practical experiences will enable them to see the world from multiple persepctives. Furthermore, it will help them to analyze tourism related problem scenarios in the contexts in which they arise.
Read about the experience of Dutch TDM student Roel and his group in Sri Lanka here: Field research in Sri Lanka – an unforgettable experience in an emerging destination
Ready for the final step of Phase 2
Conducting research in such an unfamiliar environment was a remarkable achievment of our master students. Consequently, groups were proud to present their finidings during final presentations. Of course, there was an opportunity to celebrate. However, not a lot of time could be wasted as the final Phase 2 destination was also already awaiting them – Bali.