Unelmia ja pelkojen voittamista

Minulla ei ole koskaan elämässäni ollut mahdollisuutta matkustella. Kuten aika moni muukin suomalainen, olen käynyt ainoastaan Tukholmassa ja Tallinnassa. En ole myöskään vielä matkustanut lentokoneella. Näistä lähtökohdista oli siis kolmisen vuotta sitten mielenkiintoista lähteä opiskelemaan matkailualaa.

Opiskellessa tällä alalla kuulee hyvin usein muiden kertomuksia ja kokemuksia heidän omista matkamuistoistaan. Silloin tuntuu, että kaikki muut ovat matkustelleet jo joka paikassa, kun itselläni ei siitä ole vielä juuri lainkaan kokemusta.

Minua on aina kiinnostanut tutustua eri maihin ja niiden kulttuureihin. Olenkin pienestä pitäen kirjoitellut ja piirrellyt itselleni “Dream destinations” -listoja, joihin olen listannut kaikki maat, kaupungit, nähtävyydet ja muut kohteet, jotka haluaisin joskus nähdä ja kokea. Ja niitä on paljon. Opettelin myös jo aika nuorena lähes kaikkien Euroopan maiden pääkaupungit ja liput ulkoa. Tavallaan tutustuin joihinkin “suosikkimaihini” jo etukäteen, josko unelmani joskus toteutuisivat.

Lähdin siis opiskelemaan matkailualaa ammattikouluun, koska se vaikutti aika selvältä valinnalta itselleni. Opiskellessani minulle selvisi, kuinka monipuolinen ala se oikeastaan onkaan. Työllistymismahdollisuuksia esimerkiksi on hyvin monia. Koulussa meillä oli useampia eri työssäoppimisjaksoja, ja ymmärsinkin aika nopeasti, että hotellin vastaanottovirkailijaksi minä en halua. Matkailupalvelut ja tapahtumatuotanto kiinnostivat minua paljon enemmän, ja tuntuivat myös paremmin minulle sopivilta. Olin siis viidessä eri paikassa työssä oppimassa opiskelujeni aikana, ja yhteen niistä palasin uudelleen, nimittäin Rakastajat-teatteriin. Siellä olen myös edelleen töissä, nykyään siis ihan oikeana työntekijänä.

Valmistuin koulusta puolivuotta etuajassa matkailupalvelujen tuottajaksi, tapahtumajärjestäjän polulta. Sen, ja nykyisen työpaikkani ansioista, sain myös varmuuden siihen, että nimenomaan tapahtumatuotanto ja elämyksien toteuttaminen ihmisille on minulle mieluinen valinta. Vaikuttaisi sinänsä aika yksinkertaiselta, eikö? Se ei kuitenkaan ihan täysin ole niin. En ole nimittäin ikinä itse osallistunut mihinkään isoihin tapahtumiin, koska suuret ihmismäärät ahdistavat minua. En myöskään tykkää itse esiintyä suuren yleisön edessä, koska en pidä siitä, että kaikkien huomio on minussa.

Opiskelujeni ansioista olen kuitenkin huomannut, että olen tullut rohkeammaksi. On ollut myös hauska huomata, että kaikki jännitys ja ahdistus katoaa, kun olen esimerkiksi töissä. Meillä on välillä myöskin musiikkikeikkoja, joiden asiakasmäärä on yli 400 henkeä, ja minä olen se henkilö, joka tarkistaa kaikkien asiakkaiden liput. Kaikki tilanteet töissä sujuu minulta nykyään ihan luonnostaan, kun vielä muutama vuosi sitten esimerkiksi pelkät puhelinsoitot asiakkaille jännittivät minua todella paljon. Edelliset opettajani ja nykyiset työkaverini ovat myös sanoneet, että olen luonnollinen asiakaspalvelija. Se tuntui aluksi minusta hassulta kehulta, mutta nyt olen tajunnut sen, että on olemassa eri minä töissä ja eri minä yksityisessä elämässäni.

Valmistuttuani ammattikoulusta halusin jatkaa opintojani pidemmälle, joten nyt opiskelen matkailuliiketoimintaa ammattikorkeakooulussa. On kivaa saada opiskella alaa vielä laajemmin, ja toivon voittavani pelkojani lisää jatkossakin. Olisi myös upeaa, jos uskaltaisin jossain vaiheessa lähteä ulkomaille työjaksolle. Lisäksi jatkan haaveilua maailman ympäri matkailusta, jonka toivon mukaan pystyn joskus tulevaisuudessa vihdoin toteuttamaan. Unelmani olisi viettää vaikka kokonainen vuosi matkustellen ympäri Eurooppaa ja tutustua rauhassa kaikkiin upeisiin paikkoihin. Rakastan nimenomaan eri kulttuureja, luontoa, eläimiä, ja arkkitehtuuria. Haluaisin siis olla ihan turistina ihastelemassa kaikkea sitä upeaa, mitä eri maat tarjoavat.

Tässä blogissa on muutama kuva ensimmäisestä matkastani Tallinnaan, kun ihastelin vanhan kaupungin upeita rakennuksia.

Teksti ja kuvat: Jasmin Jokimaa, matkailuliiketoiminnan ensimmäisen vuoden opiskelija


An accidental wellness traveler

Before I started to study International Tourism Management, my idea about wellness tourism was somewhat narrow and one-sided. When someone said wellness, I immediately thought about nice-looking young adults showing off their healthy lifestyle on Instagram, posting photos of their bleached teeth smiles, yoga poses and superfood smoothies, or intense fitness bootcamp routines. I thought that it was just another short-lived trend that would die away within a year or two, becoming so mainstream that people would just stop caring about it.

Seeing it merely as a superficial social media trend, I felt that wellness tourism was not my cup of tea, that my interests as a traveler were something else entirely, and that I would never become a wellness tourist myself.

However, the definition of a wellness traveler is much more flexible than I had thought. Whereas the primary wellness tourist category may indeed include some hard-core and very eco-conscious practitioners of yoga and meditation, who travel solely to improve their physical and mental well-being, the secondary wellness tourist category is much more inclusive and less constraining.

Basically, any traveler who takes part into wellness activity during their trip can be categorized as a secondary wellness tourist, which means that wellness is not the reason they decided to travel, but they might be interested in going to a local gym, spa or some other wellness facility during their trip. Now that was something less absolute that I could also relate to.

Reflecting on my past as a traveler, I suddenly started to see several occasions where I had embarked on an unplanned wellness activity during my trip. As going to a spa is among the oldest and the most universal wellness activities, coming across the mention of Japanese onsens and super sentos in the Well-being from Blue Spaces course materials made me reminiscence my trip to Kyushu in 2019.

Me as wellness tourist in Japan

In the summer of 2019, I stayed in the city of Oita and visited its neighboring town Beppu by bicycle. Ironically, although Beppu is perhaps the best known onsen destination in Japan, I had no time to try any of their hot spring baths because of my tight schedule, having to return the rental bike to Oita by the same evening.

The wellness adventure begins
Admiring a hot spring in Beppu

Instead, after returning from the 40-kilometer bike tour, covered in sweat and many layers of sunscreen, I thought of skipping the idea of having a shower in my cramped business hotel bathroom and went to the local train station which housed a large department store, a cinema and a hotel with a spa. City Spa Tenku was located high above the street level, with two floors of bathing space, allowing a panoramic view of the city from the upper bath area. Going there really enhanced my experience, helping my body to recover from all the biking and walking I had done that day.

While I was sitting in a pool filled with warm, carbonated water, watching a layer of small bubbles form on my legs, I felt total relaxation after the day spent outdoors under the scorching sun. After standing up and leaving the pool, I gazed over the nightly city through large panoramic windows, completely nude and refreshed.

A well-earned compromise after the rejuvenating spa visit

Having consumed plenty of manga stories and films about organized crime in Japan, I could kind of imagine some yakuza boss to stand at that very same place, a large tattoo in his back, making plans to expand his territory even further – of course, considering the anti-tattoo policy of most spas in Japan, a scene like that would probably not take place in real life. Still, the majesty of the setting really screamed for a camera and a tripod, even though any photography was, for obvious reasons, prohibited in the bathing area.

Considering all the exercise I got during the day, I felt that one cold beer at the spa bar would be just what I needed after washing and getting dressed up.

So, after that game-changing spa experience, I would now proudly and without any doubt categorize myself as a secondary wellness traveler.

*Disclaimer: This blog post was produced without any sponsorship or financial support from City Spa Tenku*

Text and photos: Olli Riihimäki, third year International Tourism Management student

The challenge of creating experiences

It is not a surprise that when it comes to tourism education in the universities, teaching about how to create and develop experiences becomes one of the most common topics of the classes. Obviously, since we tourism students we have been taught that unique experiences have become a trending market during the last years!

So let’s take a look at how hard was it to create a new product almost from scratch.

Creating something from nothing

In the course Tourism Product and Experience Design, we formed groups of four students each to create a touristic experience for Echoes Ecomuseum. The idea was to develop a whole experience around a place that already exists, which in our case was Mynämäen kotiseutumuseo​.

During the course we had some classes about the creation of experiences, some advice on how a good tourist experience looks like, and we also had our deadlines for returning some files showing our progress, but nobody told us exactly how to develop our experience, which from my point of view, was a great tool to use our creativity and see how original we would be for this assignment.

The first part of the creation process is to know the place we were going to mold, so everyone must visit their places and take some notes to start the development process, and this was the first challenging step.

It might sound easier when you are watching the power points that say how to actually create a new idea, but have you ever stopped to think about an original idea for something like this? Not easy at all and I’m pretty sure my whole class can relate to that fact!

Going through our location, the museum, taking pictures and notes about what the owner said to us was challenging – we learned more about the place, but our assignment was to “remake” the product, and we realised how difficult it was going to be after all.

And if that was not enough, the places we worked with were all far from the city centers and let’s say they were not too international, I bet I was not the only one who needed the Finnish team mates to translate everything in the museums.

Now that we knew what we had, it was time to get down to work and start thinking about the experience we wanted to develop, and yes as you can imagine, the very first days we were blank, with no ideas about what to do.

It started to go well when we did our brainstorming, some ideas came to us in that great inspiration moment, and we were starting to build something. We might have disagreed sometimes, but there’s no good team with no feedback and different ideas.

Team work and cultural differences

Cultural differences was something interesting for me, and not only because of how Finnish people usually are with things like punctuality (I know, I am late for most of the meetings, but I swear not every Spanish person is like this, I’m sorry team!) But the communication I felt doing this assignment was very satisfactory: I love to work with people who don’t say yes to everything! Feedback is very important in these kind of projects, and that’s something that I loved about working with Finnish people.

Once we had a main idea and the feedback of the teacher, it was time to show our classmates what we had been doing those weeks and to get some feedback. There were many presentations in one day, and all of them with good ideas from challenging places to develop – that is a sign of what this generation could be for the future tourism industry. We all also gave useful feedback to our classmates.

To finish this blog post, I would like to encourage all people with an entrepreneurial soul interested on the tourism industry to think about new, authentic experiences for tourism!

Text: Dorian Espinosa Negrín, exchange student from Universidad de la Laguna
Pictures: Pixabay

Porilaisten maisemien tarinat

Yli 80 000 asukkaan kaupungissa nimeltään Pori, löytyy upeita nähtävyyksiä, palveluja ja kohteita, joista voit nauttia vieraillessasi karhukaupunki Porissa. Keskustasta löytyy kattavat tarpeelliset peruspalvelut (ruokakaupat, apteekit, Sokos, kahvilat, kauppakeskus Isokarhu jne.), joita jokainen porilainen arjessaan tarvitsee.

Jos matkustat Poriin ensimmäistä kertaa ja kaipaat opastusta, niin astu reippaasti Visit Porin toimistoon (Yrjönkatu 13) kysymään apua. Visit Pori tarjoaa matkailuneuvontaa asiakkailleen. Porissa on lukuisia nähtävyyksiä kauniissa maisemissa, kuten Reposaari, Kirjurinluoto, Yyteri ja Ahlainen. Tässä blogikirjoituksessa kerrotaan kolmen uniikin porilaisen maiseman tarina.

Kivi-Pori

Mielenkiintoisena nippelitietona: osaatteko arvata kuinka monta kertaa Pori on palanut? No vastaushan on, että peräti yhdeksän kertaa! Tämä tieto välillä hämmentää ihmisiä, jotka eivät tiedä paljon Porin historiasta. Yhdeksän kertaa kuulostaa hurjalta, eikö vain? Mutta Feenix-linnun lailla Porin kaupunki on noussut tuhkasta.

Kivi-Porin alue on suojeltu suurpalon jäljiltä 1852, jolloin alueelle ei sallittu uusien rakennuksien rakentamista. Kivi-Poria kutsutaan Porin vanhaksi keskustaksi, jossa sijaitsevat kauniit vanhat, uusrenesanssi-tyyliset rakennukset, kuten Raatihuone, Junneliuksen palatsi, Porin teatteri, Satakunnan museo ja Porin taidemuseo.

Kivi-Porin alue sijoittuu Etelärannan ja Valtakadun välille, josta tämä kulttuuririkkaat kohteet ovat helppo löytää. Jos Kivi-Porin synkempään puoleen haluaa tutustua, niin suosittelen omalla kokemuksella osallistumaan Porin kummituskävelyyn. Tämä on suunnattu vain aikuisille ja järjestetään perinteisesti vain kolmesti vuodessa. Visit Porin sivujen kautta vaan ostamaan lippua hyytävälle kummituskävelylle! Jos koet kummituskävelyn liian hurjaksi niin vaihtoehtona on myös opastettu Wanha Pori -kävelykierros.

Kuva: kallerna, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kallon majakka

Kallo saattaa paikkana olla monille tuttu paikka, vaikka ei olisikaan kotoisin Porista tai Satakunnasta, mutta Kallon majakan tarina saattaa olla tuntematon. 1800-luvun alkutaipaleilla Kallon saari ja sen antoisat kalavedet olivat kalastajien lisäksi kaupungin porvarien kovassa suosiossa. Tällöin oli juhannuksena tapana tehdä kalastusretki kaupungista asti Kallon omalle nuottopaikalle. Merimerkkeinä tuohon aikaan toimivat tervatynnyrit, jotka olivat pistetty riukujen päähän, kunnes vuonna 1884 Kalloon rakennettiin ihka ensimmäinen puinen loistokoju, jonka yhteyteen liitettiin käsikäyttöinen sumumerkinantolaite vuonna 1901. Vuonna 1903 arkkitehti Gustaf Nyström suunnitteli Kalloon rautaisen Jugend-henkisen satamatornin. Satamamajakan kylkeen loistonhoitaja sai asunnon. 1930-luvulla majakka muuttui kaasukäyttöiseksi ja hetkeä myöhemmin sähkötoimiseksi.

Nykyään rakennuksessa toimii Porin oma merivartioasema. Kallon upeissa maisemissa näkyy myös satama-aluetta, veneilijöitä sekä Kallon vierailijoita. Kesällä majakalla saattaa olla jopa ruuhkaa, joten kannattaa varautua parkkipaikan metsästykseen. Lämpimillä ilmoilla saattaa Kallossa olla myös pientä kahvilatarjoilua.

Auringonlaskua katsoessa Kallossa tuntuu kuin aika olisi pysähtynyt, ei ole kiire minnekään. Myös myrskyisellä säällä on mielenkiintoista katsoa, kun aallot lyövät kalliota vasten ja taivas salamoi.

Kuva: kallerna, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Reposaaren linnakepuisto

Reposaaren linnakepuisto on yksi lempparikohteistani Porissa sen monipuolisen maaston ja nähtävyyksien puolesta. Reposaaren linnakepuisto on rakennettu 1930-luvulla rannikon puolustusjärjestelmäksi Porin Reposaaressa, joka oli alun perin merisuojeluskunnan rannikkopatteri. Linnakepuisto sijaitsee Reposaaren taajaman länsipuolella ja alue on noin 20 hehtaarin kokoinen.

Vuoteen 1964 linnake oli puolustusvoimien hallussa, kunnes aseistus purettiin. Linnakepuistossa on kaksi tykkiasemaa, kaksi ammusvarastoa, kolme lääkintä- ja miehistökorsua, tulenjohtoasema ja tähystystorni sekä näitä yhdistävät juoksuhaudat. Kaikki betonista rakennetut tulenjohtoasemat, ammusvarastot sekä tykkiasemat ovat alkuperäisiä. 1990- ja 2000-luvuilla puurakenteiset korsut ja tähystystornit rakennettiin uudelleen. Korkeasta tähystystornista aukeaa maisemat merelle sekä linnakepuiston ympärille. Historiallinen linnakepuisto on oiva retkipaikka perheen ja ystävien kanssa!

Teksti: Essi Hyvönen, Matkailun koulutusohjelman kolmannen vuoden opiskelija

LÄHTEET:

Jokiranta ja Kivi-Pori. Visit Pori. Haettu 20.4.2022 https://www.visitpori.fi/jokiranta-ja-kivi-pori-2619
Kummituskävely. Visit Pori. Haettu 20.4.2022 https://www.visitpori.fi/kummituskavely-82824
Leino. Kallon kaunis satamamajakka Porissa. Retkipaikka. 20.10.2013. Haettu 20.4.2022 https://retkipaikka.fi/kallon-kaunis-satamamajakka-porissa/
Reposaaren linnakepuisto. Visit Pori. Haettu 20.4.2022 https://www.visitpori.fi/reposaaren-linnakepuisto-2855

Using the sea to clear your mind

Have you ever wondered why it feels relaxing to go and have a walk on the beach or what is so spiritual about being alone in or on the sea?

From walking next to the famous canals of Amsterdam, to swimming in the sea and being on a cruise, blue spaces work really calming for me. As a person that has always lived near beautiful beaches and the sea, I have huge interest for blue spaces. I have always been attracted to coastal destinations and the mental impacts that sea has us to offer.

When I had the opportunity of studying the course Well-being from Blue spaces, I could not let this opportunity pass. To learn more about Blue Spaces would help me develop a lot and would give me possibilities for a future profession.

The presence of a person to water, especially the sea, is related with many positive impacts of physical and mental wellbeing, from higher levels of vitamin D to better social connections. Therefore, living near blue spaces, visiting them, or even enjoying the view has a positive effect on a human.

I think there should be more focus on ways to relieve mental stress in the future. With our world becoming busier with the day, mobile phones being an absolute must, people should be encouraged to let go of everything, and enjoy the beautiful nature. It will have a positive impact both physically and mentally.

Text: Sander Keulemans, exchange student from HZ University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands

Decoding tourism and hospitality

As soon as I first saw the name of the course Roadmap to Tourism and Hospitality Industry, my curiosity was aroused because I was a freshman in International Tourism Management in SAMK from China. In China, hospitality management was often translated into hotel management, so the translation made me confused.

During the first months of tourism studies, I kept exploring this professional course and following the “road signs” in the lectures and after class, and now I can say I understand the definition of the tourism and hospitality industry.

Firstly, my many original definitions have been refreshed. Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon related to the movement of people to places outside their usual place of residence, pleasure being the usual motivation (source: UNWTO).

Tourist is a visitor taking a trip to a main destination outside his/her usual environment, for less than a year, for any main purpose (business, leisure or other personal purpose) other than to be employed (source: European Commission). Tourist’s purposes become the basis of classification of tourism products and the tourism push factors.

Furthermore, I understand that “hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers” (source: Wikipedia). Hospitality management includes hotel management and plays an important role in tourism.

Several important concepts are used to further explain the definitions, for example the tourism system, and types of tourism product such as food tourism, ecotourism, health tourism, etc. As industries tourism and hospitality produce economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts and have been affected by the Covid-19 epidemic.

Picture from our course book The Business of Tourism by J. C. Holloway

Secondly, in the framework of tourism and hospitality, restaurant industry, accommodation industry and passenger transportation are common pillars. In the hotel industry, demand is seasonal and safety issues are difficult to deal with. Air, water, and land transports directly affect the volume of tourists. Cruise is both travel and transportation. It is worth emphasizing that travel agencies and tour operators in the chain of distribution promote the development of tourism.

Picture from our course book The Business of Tourism by J. C. Holloway

We used a lot of case analysis in class with Finnish tourism and hospitality analyzed as core cases. Finland’s unique pull factors such as visiting the home of Santa Claus, sleigh ride pulled by huskies or reindeer, sleeping in igloos, saunas and Moomins, stand out from competitors. Pori is renowned for natural attractions and cultural event such as Yyteri and International Jazz Festival.

Tourism carrying capacity is used for measuring the maximum number of tourists at the same time. Tourism accounts such as tourism expenditure and tourism receipts enable the generation of tourism economic data.

During the course I have also done a video presenting tourism in my home country China (you can see it here).

Of course, the first year course Roadmap to Tourism and Hospitality Industry only plays a guiding part for us students. I have interest in continuing to research and read relevant books so as to be even more professional in the future.

Text: Yao Jun, second year International Tourism Management student


EduTravel trainees have been developing new day trips this Spring

This is a collection of day trip test reports from students who have been working for SAMK’s own travel agency, SAMK EduTravel, this Spring.

Product testing: wonderful winter exploration day at Pitkäjärvi (on 20 January 2022)

It was still dark outside when our product testing group gathered at the SAMK parking lot at 7.30 AM. It started snowing when we were driving from Pori to Kokemäki, adding to the sense of a genuine winter adventure. Upon arrival at the Pitkäjärvi Recreational Centre, we were greeted by our host and enjoyed morning coffee with sandwiches near the frozen lakeside.

Full of energy and in high spirits, we then proceeded to the fatbikes, which were available as battery-powered or regular. I went for the muscle-powered option. After receiving instructions on how to use the electric fatbikes, we put our helmets on and proceeded to the road and then to forest. It was already dawning, and the white snow helped us to stay on the trail, although going offroad was not a problem when driving a fatbike on a pristine, thick layer of snow and ice.

Riding a fatbike through the forest was a pleasure, and those who went for electric fatbikes were clearly having a blast, as they could take on occasionally rough terrain with ease. It was snowing pretty much all the time when were out fatbiking, which proved some challenge with my GoPro, as the lens cover needed to be wiped dry pretty often.

The day was not over after our fatbike ride, as there was a tasty salmon soup lunch waiting for us at the lean-to near the lake. To make sure nobody was on the verge of hypothermia, the hot soup was followed by a sauna, with an option of dipping into the icy Pitkäjärvi lake. Having never tried it before, I quite enjoyed the brief swim in the chilly water.

We also had a photo contest where the participants posted their photos on WhatsApp, after which the winning photo was voted by all. Some of our photos and videos were also published on EduTravel’s social media channels.

As this day was also a Project challenge assignment for Iina, we filled her feedback sheets after the sauna and discussed the experience with our host over coffee and pastries. Our experiences were mostly positive, with the activities being enjoyed by everyone. In addition to product testing, the purpose of the trip was to redevelop the product and to gain footage for marketing purposes. The suggestions for improvement included such things as spending a little more time on biking instructions (how to wear the helmet correctly), putting together a diploma for those who tried winter swimming, and how to better utilize the day as a team-building opportunity.

All in all, a fine day with very nice activities in the great outdoors in Kokemäki!

Text: Olli Riihimäki

Photo: Annika Polvi

Product testing trip to Koivuniemen Herra Farm on Saturday 9th of April 2022 / Fun at the Farm (Budget)

The need for this product testing sparked when we didn’t get enough bookings for this day trip that we had planned. We suggested this product testing idea to Koivuniemen Herra Farm, and they gladly answered yes. So then began the process of modifying the original program and agreeing on minor details regarding the product testing. The aim was to make a “budget” version of the original program so that it would attract more customers in the future.

We began our journey to Koivuniemen Herra Farm on 9th of April around 13:00 from SAMK Campus Pori. On the way there we had short briefing about the days purpose, signed permissions for photography, went through the program for the day and openly discussed about these subjects. We arrived in Koivuniemen Herra Farm, Merikarvia, a bit earlier than expected so around 13:45. We were warmly welcomed by the staff and then gave short introductions of ourselves. At this point we also asked them to sign the permission for photography so that we could take photos and videos and use that for marketing purposes. Then Sirkkis (our guide for the day) showed us around the premises, for example we got to see the accommodation premises and other buildings such as the old barn that had been turned into multifunctional area for different kinds of events.

Then the day continued with guided farm program and activities which included taking care of the animals and feeding them, but we also got to milk a goat, pet cute rats and chickens. During the day we also had this outdoor lunch including sandwiches, grilled sausages/corn, and French toast as a dessert. The day took a surprise twist when the program ended up with us virtually milking a cow, can you imagine! Finally, it was time to sit down, fill the questionnaires and have a feedback session with the whole crew. We arrived back to SAMK Campus Pori around 19:00.

The essential purpose of the day was to experience the day from international/exchange-student point of view, gather marketing materials, enhancing our partnership between EduTravel and the Koivuniemen Herra Farm and based on feedback made changes to the program/brochure. Viveca Antila was in charge of this project. She organized this product testing, negotiated about the details with the service provider and afterwards updated the brochure and other related materials based on the feedback that was gathered. Overall, I think everything went smoothly and we are happy with the results we got which are even tighter partnership with Koivuniemen Herra Farm and improved day trip product, but also it was super useful from a learning point of view for all of us!

Text: Mika Haavisto

Relaxing Forest & Summer Cottage Feeling – Product testing trip to The Forestry Museum and SyVilla on 22nd of May 2022

On a sunny Sunday morning in May, our entire team of five with our equipment crammed into a small passenger car and headed for Parkano, to Satakunta’s neighboring region of Pirkanmaa. At our first destination, The Forestry Museum of Parkano, we met our guide of the day, nature and recreation service provider Mr. Hannu Raitio, who introduced us the history of the forest industry from the rise of the sawmill industry in the 1860s to mechanization in the 1960s. He was professional and entertaining, and his personal experience and passion brought the stories to life.

The Forestry Museum and lake Kaidatvedet is a part of Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark. The area of the Forestry Museum includes an exhibition hall, logging hut, sauna, horse stable and forestry machinery. There is also a nature trail, Messukallio cliff, beach, lean-to shelters, and campfire sites in the vicinity of the museum. Our guide introduced us to the premises and led us along the nature trail of “Gustav the Moose” to the magnificent place of devotion, Messukallio, where we had a snack break on a cliff honed by ice age.

Wellness and healing value of nature are growing in popularity as tourism trends. Studies show that nature promotes well-being in many ways, for example, it soothes the body and mind, relieves stress, and increases satisfaction. Spending time in nature improves perceived health status, enhances social cohesion, and supports physical activity. Our guide is a pioneer of the trend, as he is already familiar with the subject and has included relaxing wellness exercises into the day trip experience.

Text: Julia Alankoja

Photo: Maaria Berg

From relaxation and culture to the excitement of summer

We pass from the forest to SyVilla, a cottage located on the shore of a lake. There, we visited different spaces that make up SyVilla hosted by Hannu Raitio. There were two main buildings: in one were the rooms and in another the kitchen-dining room. Then we found different types of “cabins” dedicated to different spaces. For example, one was for the smoke sauna, in another there was a small dining room and in another a normal sauna. But not everything was buildings, it also has outdoor spaces where you can relax and make a campfire.

After visiting all the spaces, we proceeded to have lunch. We decided to do it in a kind of round glass cabin, since we found it very cozy and its views of the lake won us over. Lunch consisted of pasta salad, tomatoes and chicken casserole and to drink kotikalja (a home-made table beer) – what a delicacy!

After digesting, we proceeded to go to the water activities area, sauna and hot-tub. There we had a very fun time between SUP-Boarding falls, swimming and drifting with the canoes and row boating! Of course, the laughs were not lacking. After spending all our energy we spent a long time between the sauna and the hot tub, well… and Olli between beers too (0.0% of course). To finish completely relaxing, after a warm shower we went to another permise and had coffee and pastries.

At this time, we decided to carry out the feedback session, because once the entire product has been tested, it is the right time. We filled out a questionnaire made by SAMK EduTravel and together we gave our point of view and reached different agreements. During the session there is always someone who takes notes of what was said, because sometimes we say things that we have not written because we are inspired at that moment thanks to the opinion of another colleague.

Back to the office

In the office, a summary of what was exposed is made and uploaded to Teams, so that it is registered and everyone has access to it. The same process is for the visual material, which is then sent to the supplier, in this case Hannu Raitio, so that he can use it as well.

Testing a product is good for both parties, because in this way both can improve their services, both for other consumers and for those offered in cooperation between them. Hannu Raitio himself was not very convinced, but after finishing the feedback session he admitted that after that moment he understood what the purpose of this product testing is.

Text: Corina Morales

Photo: Maaria Berg



Moi! Hallo! Hej from Merikarvia! Digital marketing for tourism development of coastal areas

We are three students from three different universities with three different backgrounds… So how did we end up meeting in the middle of nowhere in Finland?

So the thing is that we all applied for a course called Digitalisation Opportunities among Coastal Tourism Entrepreneurs and Networks 2022, not knowing what exactly to expect. We started the course by doing three marketing-related individual assignments. 

On the ninth of May 2022 we arrived at a nostalgic farm, called Koivuniemen Herran Farmi at Merikarvia, and met each other for the first time. On the first working day we were divided into groups.

So, who are we?

Hallo! I’m Tabea. I am an Erasmus student from Dalarna University in Falun, Sweden. Originally I am from Germany. I study social science at a technical university in Kaiserslautern. Since August 2021 I am living in Falun. I ended up in this course because I love traveling and I am really interested in social media. 

Hej! My name is Wilperi, I’m 24 and live in Turku, Finland. I am a third year Bachelor’s student of Business Administration at Novia University of Applied Sciences. I specialize in marketing but later on I have developed a huge interest to tourism and that is why I immediately knew I wanted to participate in this course once I heard about it.

Moi! I am Siiri, a twenty-year-old student from Pori, Finland. I am studying for Bachelor’s degree in International Tourism Management for the first year at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. Working with commissioners sounded fun, so I decided to apply for this course.

So, now that you know who we are, you should also get to know what we have done. We spent one week at Merikarvia working hard for our assignments. But, what was our assignment? 

Each group got a commissioner to work for, and ours was the Municipality of Merikarvia. One part of our task was to analyze Merikarvia’s online platforms which included their webpage, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Based on our analysis, we came up with how to optimize the use of these platforms and created a few Instagram posts, ready to be published. During the making of these posts we got to visit some really nice locations with beautiful scenery and also learned more about Merikarvia’s history and culture.

Fireplace kräsoora
Relaxing on the dock

The first thought about our commissioner was that we have a bit of a difficult one, because we had such a wide topic. It was challenging to decide what we should do and where we should concentrate. But overall, the assignment turned out very well, and we had so much fun during our week.

Another thing that challenged us was the Finnish language. This was problematic, because only two of us understand Finnish. All social media pages of our commissioner were only available in Finnish. Also, our commissioner was mostly talking in Finnish.

Merikarvia gang

During our stay we got to know our whole group, and we played a lot of social games together, learned how to take care of the animals at the farm and ate a lot of good food. And because this course was held in Finland, we of course had a sauna-night with grilling sausages and making pancakes. We also got to visit the Yyteri beach and hotel, and some of us were brave enough to take a bath in the ocean.

Icebathing

Would we do that again? Absolutely! If you ever have a chance to join a course like this we suggest you grab the opportunity!

We wish you the best! #snyggt


Text: Siiri Romoi, Tabea Busch and Wilperi Jalonen
Pictures: Helena Larilahti, Tabea Busch and Siiri Romoi

Luksusta keskellä ei-mitään

Suomessa on paljon matkailun potentiaalia, erityisesti luontomatkailun saralla. Ympäri maailmaa Suomi on tunnettu erämaistaan, tuhansista järvistään ja eläimistään. Yhä enemmän mietitään sitä, miten luontoalueita voisi valjastaa paremmin turistien käyttöön. Itse mietin, miten nämä alueet voisi pitää mahdollisimman autenttisina ja koskemattomina.

Sevettijärven paratiisi

Olin kesällä 2021 muutaman viikon Lapissa lomailemassa. Olimme ystäväni mökillä Sevettijärvellä. Sevettijärvi sijaitsee Itä-Lapissa ja kuuluu Inarin kuntaan. Elimme nämä viikot hyvin autenttisissa oloissa, ilman juoksevaa vettä ja muita ylellisyyksiä. Vaelsimme erämaassa miettien, että mitä jos nämäkin paikat täyttyisivät turisteista ja erilaisista palveluista.

On toki hienoa, että Suomeen matkustetaan kauniiden maisemien perässä ja matkailu on tärkeä elinkeino esimerkiksi Lapissa. Olen kuitenkin sitä mieltä, että tietyt paikat tulisi säilyttää ennallaan matkailusta huolimatta. Olen myös pohtinut aihetta siitä näkökulmasta, että uusi trendi voisi olla matkustaa juuri koskemattomiin paikkoihin.

Luksusta voi olla myös yksinkertaisuus

On puhuttu paljon siitä, miten esimerkiksi kansallispuistoihin voitaisiin kehittää uusia palveluja, kuten rakennettuja wc-tiloja ja muita matkailua helpottavia tekijöitä. Minun mielestäni nuo asiat vievät pohjan luontomatkailun tarkoitukselta. Jos mietin itseäni ja omia motiivejani lähteä Lappiin lomalle, haluan kokea kaiken mahdollisimman alkeellisesti ja aidosti. Luksus voi siis tarkoittaa myös sitä, että kohteessa ei ole mitään valmiiksi rakennettua, ei muita ihmisiä lähimailla eikä valmiiksi pinottuja polttopuita. Tällainen matkailu ei tietenkään sovi kaikille, mutta uskon, että tulevaisuudessa ihmiset voisivat kiinnostua tällaisesta enemmän.

Luontomatkailu on parasta terapiaa

Lapin reissulla huomasimme, kuinka terapeuttista meidän matkustustyylimme oli. Nautimme luonnosta ja erilaisista askareista, kuten veden nostamisesta kaivosta ja polttopuiden pilkkomisesta. Nämä kaikki arkiset askareet saivat ajatukset muualle arjen kiireistä. Siksi mietin, että jos kaikki tuodaan matkailijoille valmiina, saavatko he kokemuksesta oikeasti kaiken irti. Jos ympärillä häärää lukuisia muita turisteja ja oppaita, matkan sisimmäinen tarkoitusperä voi jäädä hyvin pinnalliseksi.

Pohjoismaisella matkailulla on muutakin tarjottavaa kuin luonto

Monet matkustavat Pohjoismaissa luonnon perässä ja siksi kohteiksi valikoituu erilaiset kansallispuistot ja nähtävyydet. Tällöin voi jäädä kokematta muut mielenkiintoiset aspektit, eli paikalliseen elämäntapaan ja kulttuuriin tutustuminen.

Kun matkustimme Sevettijärvelle, ei muista turisteista ollut tietoakaan. Pääsimme sukeltamaan paikalliseen elämäntapaan ja tutustuimme saamelaiseen kulttuuriin ja poronkasvattajiin. Mielestäni tämä oli todella hienoa ja luksusta, koska kokemus oli aito, eikä esimerkiksi matkailijoita varten luotu palvelu.

Ylipäätään ihmisten tulisi ajatella luontomatkailua erilaisista näkökulmista ja nähdä siinä uusia mahdollisuuksia. Pohjoismainen luontomatkailu ei siis välttämättä tarkoita pelkkiä opastettuja kansallispuistovaelluksia tai rakennettua ympäristöä. Ihmiset voivat etsiä luksusta myös keskeltä ei-mitään. Kokemuksen kautta voin sanoa, että tällainen voi olla jopa parasta luksusta.


Teksti ja kuvat: Ada Hannula, Matkailun koulutusohjelman toisen vuoden opiskelija


Old life experience in Kauppilan Umpipiha

For our Tourism Product and Experience Design course, we got a task to develop services for various rural places related to the Echoes Ecomuseum project. Our group got to work with Kauppilan umpipiha in Laitila. This place was completely unknown to us before the course – both for the Finnish and the Erasmus students in our group.

When we got to Kauppilan umpipiha, we discovered a mill, sheep, red barns, an interior court as well as a museum (which we unfortunately could not visit because it was already closed after summer).

Once there, we remembered our teacher’s advice and took the time to feel the sense of place. We sat down in the grass and let our senses guide us. We could hear the sheep and the wind in the foliage and the birds singing. We could also smell the old wood and grass. It was at this point that we began to realize the potential of this place!


Back at SAMK, and during the meetings with our group, ideas on how to develop the place quickly came to mind. We brainstormed for a long time to put all our ideas together and came up with three main ideas:

  • make an educational farm for children
  • renovate the museum part of the farm, and
  • create a traditional festival on the farm grounds.

    Eventually, we decided to concentrate more on a detailed planning of a festival that could be organized in Kauppilan umpipiha. The theme of the festival would be Return to the past. This theme would allow visitors to immerse themselves in the life of the 17th century. As soon as you would enter the festival, you would disconnect from the modern world and enter a very unique experience. In this festival, visitors could walk between the stalls of local craftsmen, dance and sing to traditional songs and have fun with typical Finnish games. Children could play with animals, get a face painting, or milk a cow. All these activities are small examples, but there would be many more to come. We also planned a drive-in cinema, which could attract many types of visitors.

Creating this experience as our course assignment was very exciting for us, and we were able to let our imagination run wild without too many constraints. We felt really free in our ideas!

Text: Marie-Amandine Moulin & Camille De Borman, exchange students from Haute École Galilée University of Applied Sciences in Belgium
Pics: Marie-Amandine Moulin