Designing tourism experiences: how to create something from nothing

The Echoes Ecomuseum project assigned the international tourism management students a group project for the course Tourism Product and Experience Design, including various assignments related to designing, implementing and developing tourism products and experiences.

Our group consisted of two degree students, Julia and Jere, as well as two Spanish exchange students, Paula and Marina. Sammallahdenmäki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Rauma, was selected as our group’s project location, and the objective was to come up with an innovative tourism experience design there.

We started with visiting the destination together in order to come up with ideas and to evaluate the site. At the latest at this point we realized how challenging this project would be for us: not to belittle the historical value of the location, but for an average visitor like any of us, it was literally just a forest area with piles of stones. However, after brainstorming, planning, getting feedback, developing, and adding a little bit of imagination and creativity, we created our final experience design: an augmented reality tour into the Bronze Age in Sammallahdenmäki.

The designed experience is a guided journey into the past along the natural path from the comfort of your own home. Within the six stops on the 1,5-kilometer trail, the live guide will tell compelling stories about the hereditary value of the site and the livelihoods of the people of the past. The tour will be recorded in advance and there will be performers acting scenes to bring history to life. Overall, we also got good feedback on our concept.

We found this learning experience in general very interesting, as we have been able to analyze the current state and future needs of a place that only consists of a pile of rocks, and we have also been able to analyze all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in order to start creating the experience.

This final experience made us open our imagination to create an attractive and original experience and we liked doing this practice, as it is not easy to find the potential and opportunities for this place.

We believe that the idea we have come up with is the one that best suits our destination, as it can be used to great advantage, a plan for whole family without having to leave home and at same time learn about the history of a destination recognized by the UNESCO.

Augmented reality is a way of getting to know the most hidden – or not so hidden – places to people from all over the world, giving the places the value they deserve.

Text and pictures: Julia Alankoja and Jere Iivari, second year SAMK International Tourism Management students & exchange students Paula Carrion Serrano and Marina Marin Martin from Universidad de Málaga

A traveler who found passion in aviation

Could you imagine that my dream job before working as Cabin Crew was always a criminal researcher? But then tourism and travel took a place in my heart more than murders! Let me tell you all about it..

I guess my background (being born in Thailand) is one of the reasons I ended up in the travel and tourism industry, but in addition I have a passion for exotic and unique destinations, people from different cultures, as well as for aviation and its development. It has been a quite journey to follow this ride since 2015 when I started my studies at Travel College, and everything changed.

I started to wonder is there any reason why I love traveling and working in this industry so much. Originally, I thought I will move to the Canary Islands to be a travel guide for the rest of my life. That was part of the highlights I saw from the travel industry. But since then I have experienced so much more than I could ever had imagined as a traveler and employee of the tourism industry.

Tourism is part of every one of us. You are planning to take a trip to summer cottage in countryside or taking a city break to London to see culture and experience the five-o-clock-tea. When you are a tourist outside of your home base, you are described as a tourist, either inside your home country or abroad.

When we do research about tourism and explore the world, we will see that tourism is a huge concept with several possibilities. I think one of the reasons why I chose the tourism industry is the diversity and sustainable developing of the whole industry. Tourism has so many job possibilities and you have colleagues worldwide.

I found my passion in aviation

During these six years of working in the travel industry I have finally found my passion. I have a special passion for aviation, which started at Finnair and has been a part of my life since 2018. I was so excited to start my career at work which included thousands of rules and strict legislation from uniform to speaking style. Later, I finally got my wings to the aircraft and received my dream work – Cabin Crew Member. As a steward, I get to see so many interesting and unique (and of course warm) places such as Singapore and Cape Verde. I learned from the locals about their culture around the world and felt a warm welcome wherever I traveled. Exploring cultures with locals and seeing different people onboard, my eyes were opened by the world. It has been something I have, somehow, dreamed about.

When working above the clouds, I finally realized that I am studying and working in the right industry with full of joy and inspiration from different factors. It is great to see how the industry has been developed and to be a part of its international atmosphere. In the future, I see myself as airline employee, and hopefully I will become one sunny day the instructor for new cabin crew members.

Welcome onboard and see you up there!

Text and pictures: Suti Niemelä, first year International Tourism Management student

Studying international tourism

As a person that has moved countries at a young age, I have always been interested in getting to know other cultures and meeting new people. When I saw the opportunity of studying international tourism, I instantly took it and I have never regretted it. I think tourism studies are very useful at the present time because the tourism industry is and will continue to grow stronger.

I really appreciate this industry and the people employed in it because working with different types of people and cultures is definitely not easy and pleasing everyone is impossible.

Even though Covid-19 messed up lots of jobs and career opportunities for a lot of people, when it will be over, tourism will come back or even grow stronger as an industry.

When thinking about studying tourism, a lot of people’s minds might jump into things like travelling only, but it is a lot more than that. Tourism is a large industry in which you can learn things from a local, national, and global point of view. Studying tourism and hospitality can bring you lots of well-paid job offers, as well as good work experience that teaches you very good work skills that are recognized in many more work fields. On top of that, you learn something new and experience new things every day.

I think a person that has traveled in lots of countries and has seen many types of people and cultures wins at life.

In my opinion, when studying travel, tourism, and hospitality, it is very important to be a traveler yourself. It is easier to get to know the industry and study field when practically visiting places and learning that way.

I think a person that has travelled in lots of countries and has seen many types of people and cultures wins at life. These days it is easier to travel than it was before because the world has evolved so much.

I think I will definitely be working in the hospitality industry in the future, because I can’t find a single thing I don’t like in it and I think that is amazing – finally finding something I love to do and will love always.

Text: Alexandra Marin, first year International Tourism Management student
Pictures: Pixabay

Mass tourism – what are the consequences and solutions?

Mass tourism is a phenomenon observed in many popular destinations and it has many negative consequences on the environment.

Mass tourism is when there is such a concentration of tourists in one place that there are social, economic or ecological consequences. Venice, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, for example, are cities particularly affected by mass tourism but there are also natural places like Komodo Island, Machu Picchu, or Maya Bay in Thailand. Several reasons attract tourists to these places such as famous monuments, popular beaches, famous sites due to film or series shootings…

What are the consequences of mass tourism?

Firstly, mass tourism can also have positive aspects. Indeed, tourism generates money for the local population and the country. Moreover, it can create new jobs. But unfortunately, the negative consequences are more numerous. The major problems caused by mass tourism are :

  • A high production of CO2 caused by the very polluting transports such as planes or cruise ships. The transportation industry is a major contributor to climate change.
  • A rise in rents in the cities and a lack of space for locals. In the most touristic places, hotels and vacation residences are not enough. To compensate for this lack of space, many accommodations are transformed into Airbnb or are rented to tourists, which does not leave much room for locals.
  • The destruction of natural areas for the benefit of touristic infrastructures. The constructions destroy fauna and flora, which can lead to the extinction of certain species.

What are the solutions adopted by the destinations?

Some destinations are forced to take drastic measures to fight against mass tourism. Among these measures there are quotas, regulations, limited duration of visits, mandatory reservations, taxes for visitors or even temporary closure of certain places. Here are some examples:

  • Santorini, a popular destination for cruise passengers, has imposed a cap of 8,000 visitors per day for cruise ships.
  • In Amsterdam, Airbnb owners can only rent their property for 60 days a year and for a maximum of 4 people. This prevents too many party-goers in the party-heavy city but also prevents all properties from being owned by investors which leaves no room for locals.
  • The island of Boracay in the Philippines has totally closed its access to tourists for 6 months to let the biodiversity regenerate and to make a big cleaning.
  • The site of Machu Picchu in Peru also had to adopt many measures. From now on, you have to book a time slot to be able to visit it. The visit cannot last more than 4 hours and it is obligatory to be accompanied by an approved guide.

What are the solutions to travel more sustainably?

You can make your travel more sustainable by adopting small habits. Here are a few tips:

  • Travel with sustainable transportation. Use public transportation such as trains or buses which have lower CO2 emissions. You can also opt for the bicycle.
  • Avoid traveling in high season to avoid the big tourist flows. If possible, do not travel at the same time as families and regular vacationers. Traveling in low season is often cheaper and more sustainable.
  • Opt for micro-adventures. As we have noticed during the Covid 19 pandemic, you don’t have to travel very far from home to experience things. Let yourself be surprised by the hidden places around you.
  • Support the local economy by shopping at local businesses. Locals are often the ones who suffer the most from mass tourism, by going to local restaurants and stores, you support the locals financially.

Text: Camille De Borman, exchange student from Haute École Galilée University of Applied Sciences in Belgium
Pictures: Pixabay

Sources :

How I became a tourism student

I am Kashish and I am a migrate student from India, currently I am pursuing my study in tourism at Satakunta University of Applied Science, Pori, Finland.

This post will explain you about the things that happen in a life of a tourism student and a traveler – from being part of a successful business in New Delhi, India, for 5 years to turning into a traveler, and then studying tourism in Finland.

After my schooling in India, I started to work with my father at his business. I thought of studying some degree, but I was not sure what to study. During those days when I was in business there was a lot of travel involved and most of the trips were day trips or one night stay trips. Apart from that, the months in which we expect not much business, I used to go to nearby hill stations for 3-4 days trips. The enjoyment that it gave me was of another level. I have been traveling since my school days, but it was like once-a-year travel which took place in summer holidays with my parents. After joining the business, I learnt that traveling was the thing that brings me joy and feeling that it gives is truly amazing.

Traveling is the thing that brings me joy!

In India parents are very protective of their children. In my school days, I was not allowed to travel for school trips which took place for 3-4 days. As I got into my twenties travel came easier for me as there were no restrictions. I traveled to some destinations in India which I could not have gone to if I was younger. I even went to three foreign destinations – Indonesia, Dubai and Thailand. As a traveler, I could say that best life lessons could be learned through travelling to different places. It broadens your mind and you can create memories for lifetime.

This picture was taken at Uluwatu Temple, Bali, Indonesia, in my first international trip in 2018. This trip was so memorable because of an earthquake that happened while I was there: the quake was of 6.6 magnitude, and it literally shook everything, even our beds were dancing!

This picture was taken at the Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE. Travelling to Dubai in 2019 was my best trip abroad. Dubai is a place where everyone can find something for enjoyment. This place offers a lot of activities and one can visit many times as they will find something new there every time they go .
This picture is from the Big Buddha Temple in Phuket, Thailand. I went there in 2020 and it was my third international trip. I liked the views that it offers, the beauty of nature and the weather but on the other I didn’t find people there that helpful. People there mostly want to earn as much as they can from tourists.

As a traveler, I understood that I can not combine my business and travel together. I understood that I am not made for staying in a single place and work for several hours, and I wanted to pursue my career in a field that was related to my interests. Tourism was a thing that I loved to gain knowledge of when I was in business. I watched travel vlogs and travel documentaries on YouTube and Netflix for 3-4 hours daily.

As I was passionate to gain knowledge about tourism, I thought why not study it as my bachelor’s degree and find a job related to this field. The variety of jobs that this field offer will certainly help me combine my work with travel!                                                 

Text and pictures: Kashish Gosain, first year International Tourism Management student

Wellness tourism after the pandemic

During our online course Well-being from Blue Spaces, we got to learn about the concept of blue gym, how coastal and maritime areas can be used in well-being, and the history behind it. We also had an assignment where we got to plan a seafood tour in our home region. What I found the most interesting was the wellness tourism industry and how fast it has been growing for the past years.

Wellness as a general trend has been gaining popularity over the past years. It can be seen in many aspects all around us. From green juice bars in the malls to the many fitness trends that come and go. Shops providing a bigger variety of healthier food options and people making healthier choices, like cutting the usage of alcohol and sugar. This trend has naturally affected the tourism industry as well. Between the years 2015 and 2017 wellness tourism grew 6,5%. That is very significant growth when considered that regular tourism grew only 3,2% in the same time frame. (Global Wellness Institute 2018, 20.)

We live in very uncertain times. With the ongoing pandemic no one really knows the effects it will have on the tourism industry. We can only speculate and make guesses what tourism in the post-pandemic world will look like, how it will affect the trends, and what are the long-term effects that come from it. Industry specialist and researchers have made their predictions and even those have changed as the pandemic has prolonged the bans on traveling. Of course, there are no wrong or right answers really since this is very new territory for all of us. But it is fun to play with the idea and think about the future and how it will look.

Many industry specialists think that there is a very big possibility that the pandemic will make wellness tourism grow at a faster rate than now. Personally, I think that is a very possible outcome. Seeing how people are already interested in their wellbeing and health this pandemic can have the effect that it will get more heightened. The COVID-19 virus has posed a threat to everyone’s health and people may want to take a more proactive and preventative approach after the pandemic is over.

The past year has been hard on everyone. From self-isolation and quarantines, losing loved ones, the additional stress the pandemic has caused to the financial duress. We have seen and felt a lot and it has not been easy on anyone’s mental health. People will probably desire to take a vacation where they can solely focus on their mental well-being. So, I think that it is very possible that various yoga, ashram, meditation, and mindfulness retreats will get very popular.

Tourists may be keener to choose destinations and places where a healthy lifestyle is promoted or easy to keep up. Many people have started to pay more attention to their health during the pandemic. Following a new specific diet or fitness plan, they may want to keep that going even during their travel so places that offer facilities and services that cater to these needs may get an influx of customers.

The Wellness Tourism Association conducted a survey in the summer of 2020 asking about consumers’ travel plans after the pandemic. Over 4000 people answered from 48 countries. They found that 78% of the people had planned to partake in wellness tourism after the pandemic. In the end, as to how much the wellness tourism industry will grow no one knows yet and only time will tell.

Text: Milla Ruonala, third year International Tourism Management student
Photos: Pixabay


Global Wellness Institute. 2018. Global Wellness Tourism Economy.

Wellnesss Tourism Association. 2020. Nearly 4,000 consumers reveal Wellness Vacation Motivations for Post-Pandemic Travel.

Introduction to tourism studies at the OpenSAMK fair

The OpenSAMK fair was held on Pori campus on 9.11.2021. It was an open fair for everyone interested in studying at SAMK, and especially for high school and vocational school students.

The event was a great opportunity to get familiarized with SAMK and the study programs. For the first two hours the visitors had the opportunity to listen to interviews of SAMK students from different study programs, which could probably help them in choosing their future professional interests. After the interviews, visitors went to the lobby to visit stands where SAMK students were presenting their study programs. Every stand had some small activity in which visitors could take part in.

We represented our study programme, International Tourism Management. As we are third year students, for us it was interesting to present our study programme and convince visitors that everything is possible in these studies if they want it!

Surprisingly many high school students said that they want to study at a university, but they are not sure of what to study. In this case, we suggest they should first decide what they want to do for a living in the future and after that decide where to study. When choosing where to study, the most important thing is to understand where you belong and what is your passion to learn.

Our study programme is studied fully in English. For us, it was a bit funny that so many visitors were scared to speak English. Maybe it is a common fault here in Pori, but we think that you should never be afraid of something that you possibly don’t know.

Even if you are making mistakes you will learn from them – and SAMK is a place where you will not be judged. It is important to do your best and to sometimes challenge yourself – even if it means that you need to speak English.

At the OpenSAMK fair you could see students in different study programs, learn different knowledge, get to know different interests and opinions on why you should choose their study programme. All the students made a great effort in presenting their study programme and had prepared entertaining activities for the visitors in order to show that it is interesting to study at SAMK.

Text: Aleksandra Dmitrijeva and Susanna Carenius, third year International Tourism Management students
Photos: Aleksandra Dmitrijeva

Food tourism offers experiences for all the senses

Traveling the world offers incredible experiences through interaction with locals, nature, and culture all over the world. It is widely accepted that food is one of the best ways to absorb the culture of the destination. When booking trips tourists are always considering food as an important factor in choosing the destination, making culinary tourism more popular than ever before.

But what makes food tourism so special? It is the tourists that are always looking for new experiences, something that gives them an insight of the local culture, but which tastes great, as well. The evolution of tourism has made tourists wanting more than just your typical holiday; they want to experience the destination with all of their senses. Destinations need to consider this aspect, because food might not be the main reason for a trip, but surely it is an essential element, and destinations which have a good reputation for offering fresh, quality products always spark the interest of tourists. Besides from getting a good meal, tourists can meet locals and hear all the great stories and tips about the location.

When traveling to Finland, tourists can discover the passion for cooking local, fresh food. Local Finnish food improves wellbeing and delights the senses. Root vegetables, meat casseroles, ripe berries and mushrooms or wild game and freshly caught fish provide health and authentic flavor. Considering that the forest is full of delicacies, just waiting to be picked, local restaurants provide authentic ingredients, developing new flavors and dishes. Here in Finland, nature is filled with superfoods!

During summer, the Finnish people enjoy cooking, smoking, or grilling their food outdoors, in the serenity of the forest, by the lake or open fire. It is the idyllic scenery to end a hard working week! Finland is a culinary delight for foreigners where they can serve fresh seafood delicacies throughout the year.

Food tourism businesses in Finland need a better service promotion in attracting international customers. For our course Well-being from Blue Spaces, we created a food route in Finland. I truly believe that experiencing a food-themed route like ours would make tourists understand why Finland has been ranked ”the happiest country in the world” four times in a row!

Text: Patricia Ratiu, third year International Tourism Management student
Pictures: Pixabay

Storytelling in tourism

The most memorable experiences are formed when you develop an emotional connection to the experience. That is why storifying is such an important thing in the tourism field. It is also much easier to remember things if there is a story attached to it.

But what is storifying? According to IGI Global, storifying is “the composition of a story from real or fictitious sources so as to create change in the listener’s, viewer’s or user’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviours in the desired manner”.

In other words, it means telling a story about a traditional dessert, for example, so that the one you are telling it to will get more interested about the food that you are telling the story about.

A story can be told about anything: it can be a real story that is based on history or to a real person, or a fictional story that has been made up just to get people interested. And the way the story is told can also vary. It can be told with a song, video, text, orally or any other way people can come up with.

It is much easier to get people interested if you have a story to tell. Take a look at this picture of a restaurant for example.

Photo: Pixabay

Charming, but nothing special, you might think. But what if I told you that this is the place where local members of the mafia used to meet? Countless gun fights and many tragic deaths took place in this same room that you are looking at right now. You would probably be much more interested then, right?

Of course, that story is not true, but wouldn’t it be cool if it was?

This was just one example of storifying, but you probably got the idea. You can also think about situations where you have heard a story about a building, food, lake, forest etc. Did you become interested with the subject more after hearing a story that was linked to it? And if you remember the story still, it shows that storifying is an effective technique.

Text: Roosa Rantanen, second year International Tourism Management student

Cavanagh, S. Why you must nail storytelling in tourism
Website of IGI Global

Wellness travel – a healthier holiday

When you think about holiday, about booking a trip, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? For most of the people nowadays, including me, it means that I will have some fun, visit places, make memories like photos and videos, and forget about work and stress that are present in my life. However, it is not always like that because many travelers come back from their holidays more tired than when they left, wishing for a new holiday.

Why this happens?

We have a misconception that we need to make the most out of our trips, like for example taking long tours that exhaust us, visiting all the places in a destination, and in general overwhelming ourselves by busy schedules, often forgetting about rest and relaxation.

I don’t need to mention the technology and social media platforms that takes a lot of our time even when we are on a holiday. It is very trendy nowadays to share every small thing that happens on our trips on Instagram or Facebook, and we forget that snapping our meals, taking 99 selfies or paying attention to our edits takes time and we end up participating in our activities less then we think, reducing our quality time by stalking the phone.


What can we do about it?

Many studies explain why vacations help us get rid of the stress and increase our sense of well-being. Of course, if we consider well-being when we book our holiday, the first step that we can do is to appreciate the vacation and its meaning.

It is definitely a great idea to visit many places and take many photos, but this can be made by keeping in mind that we just can’t be present in every point on the map. In conclusion, a good solution is to start by reducing the number of visits to those attractions that we are interested in. Getting enough sleep during our holiday is also important to recharge our batteries and planning a lazy day is a great idea.  If we are rested when we come back, it will help us to be motivated and perform better in our lives and work. Some people set their flights back on the day before their work starts and it’s always a good idea to put a gap between, like one day to settle in and catch up with the day-to-day routine. (Website of Life Hack, 2021)

A second step is to educate ourselves more on what wellness tourism means and how to get more from our holidays by paying more attention to well-being. Going on a trip doesn’t mean that we need to skip our gym sessions, or to eat and drink whatever we want without thinking on how it can affect us. Wellness retreats help travelers to nourish their bodies and mind, and boost the level of personal wellness.


Practicing yoga, taking Pilates classes or sport in any form will bring balance to our body and mind and will help us to get rid of the stress (website of Corporate Wellness magazine, 2019). Personally, I am planning my next holiday in a spa resort, where I can benefit from healthier food, massage and spa treatments and why not, a digital detox. Breaking unhealthy habits and meeting like-minded people, who have the same goal will improve our lifestyle and we can come back with a new mindset.

What is wellness tourism?

Wellness travel is a segment of the tourism industry that refers mainly to people who book their holidays in order to reduce their stress, relax and forget about day-to-day problems. Global Wellness Institute has an official definition for it: “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing”

The economy of wellness tourism grows by approximately 6.5% every year and reached $634 billion in 2017. The increasing interest of travelers in a better and healthier lifestyle made wellness tourism to double its growth compared to the entire tourism industry.

Picture: Wellness Corporate Magazine

Europeans present the highest interest in well-being, followed by the Asians and North Americans. Spa tourism is the leading sector representing 48% of the global wellness registering $300 billions in expenditure with over 450 million trips booked.

By 2022 it is estimated that wellness tourism will reach $919 billions in expenditure because hospitality and travel businesses try to develop new strategies daily in order to offer new services, products or experiences for the travelers. (Global Wellness Tourism Economy, 2018)

Text: Bogdan Enacica, second year International Tourism Management student


Global Wellness Tourism Economy. 2018.
Website of Corporate Wellness magazine. 2019.
Website of Health Line. 2020.
Website of Life Hack. 2021.