Use of Natural Resources in Tourism -opintojaksolla ideoitiin uutta suomalaisesta luonnosta

Use of Natural Resources in Tourism -kurssilla käsittelimme luonnonvarojen kestävää käyttöä matkailun osana. Sivuamme kaikilla kursseillamme aihetta, mutta oli mukavaa kerrankin perehtyä siihen syvemmin. Kurssin aihepiiri onkin erittäin ajankohtainen ja tärkeä. Eräällä luennollamme vieraili myös Oras Tynkkynen (SITRA), joka kertoi muun muassa  lentomatkailun ympäristöhaasteista ja ilmastonmuutoksesta. Mielenkiintoisesta vierailusta jäi paljon pohdittavaa!

Kurssin inspiroivana tehtävänä oli luoda uudelle NorthernLUX -yritykselle päiväohjelmapaketti vapaalla ja rennolla tyylillä mielikuvitusta käyttäen. NorthernLUX yhdistää luksusmatkailun luonnon kauneuteen, puhtauteen sekä hiljaisuuteen hyödyntäen tunnelmallisuutta ja tarinallisuutta.

Inspiraationa syksyinen suoluonto

Kurssitehtävän teemaksi ryhmämme valitsi syksyisen mökkiretken, ympäristöksi suomaiseman sekä aktiviteetiksi luontovalokuvauksen. Tehtävänantona oli kuvailla yksityiskohtaisesti ja tarinallisesti ohjelmakokonaisuutta sekä tuoda ilmi tunnelmia sen aikana. Luonnon rouheuden ja ylellisyyden yhdistäminen oli ajatuksena kiinnostava ja sai meidät pohtimaan luontomatkailua uudesta näkökulmasta. Eihän mökkeilyn ja ulkoilun aina pidä olla vaatimatonta ja yksinkertaista!

Kuva: Pixabay
Kuva: Pixabay

Halusimme tuoda ylellisyyttä esiin tarjoamalla asiakkaille henkilökohtaista palvelua oppaan viedessä asiakkaat valokuvausretkelle ja kokin valmistaessa ateriat mökissä ja suoympäristössä. Kattauksissa käytetään kauniita astioita ja luonnonmateriaaleja, ruoka on kotimaista luomua. Ideoimamme mökki on myöskin teemaan sopivasti ylellinen, tunnelmallinen ja saumattomasti luonnon yhteydessä.

Mielestämme suo ympäristönä on aliarvostettu. Suon mystistä ja ainutlaatuista tunnelmaa, sekä erityistä luontoa voisi käyttää useammin matkailun vetonaulana. Suo on monille tuntemattomampi osa suomalaista luontoa, vaikka sen osuus maamme pinta-alasta onkin merkittävä. Itsekin opimme uutta suoluonnosta ja sen mahdollisuuksista matkailun osana.

Kuva: Pixabay
Kuva: Pixabay

Kurssi oli mielestämme yksi parhaista tähän mennessä, sillä saimme käyttää luovuutta ja mielikuvitusta oppien samalla tärkeästä aiheesta, ympäristöä kunnioittavasta ja kestävästä matkailusta.

Teksti: Toisen vuoden matkailun opiskelijat Kaisa Vapaala, Kira Luonsinen ja Elina Toivanen

Designing digital routes and the importance of testing

It is a cool and crispy morning in December. The sky is grey and dripping as our hardworking students make their way to Kirjurinluto in a happy mood. They are on their way to test their route produced as a course assignment in collaboration with DigiLuonto Satakunta project.

SAMK often provides different and interesting alternative projects for the students to work on. On the course Tourism Product and Experience Design, second year students of International Tourism Management were given an assignment to work on in collaboration with DigiLuonto and the Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas Geopark to produce themed routes for the region.

Throughout the whole project all groups had a chance to implement their creativity while doing their routes. That was a truly great opportunity! We not only got skills in creating, testing and bringing our ideas in life, but also had a lot of fun working in the assignment together!

At the end of the Autumn, we were told to test the route before finalizing the details. This proved crucial! Before the product can be published to consumers it must be tested in order to assess potential defects and improvements before it is released for commercial use.

Our themed route

Different student groups had been assigned with different interactive, themed trails to work on during this semester. These themes included aviation history, wellbeing, outdoors action and geology.  

Our group was in charge of creating a wellbeing route in Jämijärvi region. While doing this task, we managed to come up with a lot of creative activities which can be done throughout the route, for instance guided meditation, physical exercise like yoga in the forest, and creating art in nature such as drawing mandalas on the sand. The main concept is to connect yourself with the nature, get some relaxation from the big and noisy towns and generally have a great time.

The whole process was creative and fun! We went to Jämijärvi and wandered through the forests in order to catch the inspiration which could lead to thinking up new ideas. Although it was a long process, we didn’t feel bored – vice versa, we were encouraged doing this assignment, which we considered to be a very positive attitude.

The importance of testing

During the testing phase, we were facing some inconveniences with the product, and the application itself. The content was provided prior to the testing, but some parts of it could not yet be found in the application. But one needs to keep in mind the application is still being developed!

Because of the pandemic, a member of the group could not participate in the testing in person. That did not stop the innovative and hardworking students! They video called him to help him participate in this activity as well.

It is definitely important to test your route or it might not function up to the standards required by the customer. There may also be unexpected bugs and missing features which are essential in making the experience. Testing also helps you realize what is working, what is not working, does something need to be aaded, is it easily accessible or usable?

The activities we had designed within the digital points of interest were fun and active. Here in this picture you can see our group doing physical exercises within the route we are testing:

After testing for a while, we realized there are still some technical difficulties within the application, but regardless it is almost ready to be released into commercial usage. The content still may be improved to make the app as user friendly as possible, but it is almost ready.

Text: Kalle Kaseva and Kristian Surmai, second year students of International Tourism Management
Photos: Kalle Kaseva, Kristian Surmai, Ella Sten, Sina Khabbazi

Study visit to Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas Geopark

Quiet chatter fills the bus that is heading from Pori to Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas Geopark. Onboard is the International Tourism Management class NTO19, who have just started their second year of studies at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. This study visit to the Geopark is part of their Tourism Product and Experience Design course.

Study visits to different kinds of companies and field-related events are very common in SAMK. For example, our class has visited the Sokos Hotel Vaakuna here in Pori and we also got the chance to visit Matka Nordic Travel Fair, which is organized annually in Helsinki. Study visits bring variation to normal schoolwork and give the students an opportunity to actually see and hear what it is like to work, for example, in a hotel. We also get to ask questions straight from the professionals and get experiences that we would never get in the classroom.

In SAMK we students get to participate in cooperating with the local entrepreneurs and businesses. It can be in the form of a guest lecturer, study visit or doing a project with them etc. Especially in tourism studies, this type of contact with the companies is important. This can help us to network already during our studies, gives us insights on what we could possibly do with our degree and valuable hands-on experience.  We get to work with real companies and give them our ideas and/or solutions. We get different kinds of ‘clients’ from different fields of tourism and a variety of assignments.

Assignment for the Geopark

This course assignment is for each team to design a themed trail in the Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas Geopark. We are supposed to use digital, experiential, and interactive content as part of the experience. The content could be anything from photos (old and new), videos, texts, audios, quizzes, games, stories (historical or fictional), etc. Only the sky and imagination is the limit here. These types of assignments are always fun because while they give us the frame it also gives us a lot of freedom to use our imagination and creativity. The different themes are aviation history, wellbeing, outdoors, and geology.

In order to accommodate the needs of the customer, we needed to know more about them so after a tasty lunch we gathered into a conference room to hear more about the themes and the park itself. First, we got to hear about the interesting aviation history that the area holds. It dates back all the way to the 1930s when Suomen Kuvalehti held a competition to find the best location for a new airfield and Soininharju Ridge won. For decades Jämijärvi was one of the pioneers of the Finnish aviation industry and even in the world.

After this Terttu Hermanson, Executive Manager of Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas Geopark, told us more about the park itself. Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas Geopark covers 5 000 km2 and reaches 10 municipalities. There are also 40 000 inhabitants living in the area. Within the perimeter, there are 52 geosites, 100 cultural sites and 39 natural sites. These sites range from rock formations to churches and bogs to farms.

UNESCO recognition

Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas Geopark is one of the 161 UNESCO Global Geoparks that can be found in 44 different countries. They are defined as ”single unified geological areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development” (Website of UNESCO, 2020)

This means that the park is ‘not only about the rocks’. They are promoting geotourism, preserving the area, teaching networking and co-operation and much more. Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas is the second Global Geopark in Finland and only got its designation a few months ago (July 2020). UNESCO recognition gives the park visibility and peer support.

DigiLuonto Satakunta is a project organized by Turku School of Economics and Tampere University. Its target areas are rural sectors in the Satakunta region. DigiLuonto aims to develop smart destinations. The goal of this project is to “increase accessibility, real-time interactivity and destination attractiveness for new target groups by digitally augmenting the existing tourism destination resources with enriched experience contents, activities, and open data.”

Let’s get to work!

After a short walk outside our class returned to the conference room and was set to work. Our first task was to come up with at least one idea for each given trail theme. This way no one had to start their assignment from a blank paper. When everyone had given their ideas and thoughts we split into four groups and started to develop the ideas further. After some time we presented our new ideas for the trails to our class and got some feedback and suggestions on how to continue with our plans. The last task we had on our trip was to write a group work plan and also present it.

After a full day our class returned to Pori full of new ideas and ready to set to work for the coming months. Some headed back home, while others headed to the initiation of the first year tourism students. But such is student life at SAMK: busy, eventful, and fun!

We will see what this semester, and the course, will bring us and we will definitely keep you updated.

Text: Milla Ruonala and Roosa Rantanen, second year students of International Tourism Management
Pictures: Roosa Rantanen