Thursday, 15 March 2018

Tourism and Hospitality Management visit to Cyprus ✈

March 2018

This is an account of our visit to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Cyprus. In early March the BA (Hons) International Tourism Management and BA (Hons) International Hospitality Management first year students from the University of Central Lancashire visited this multi-faceted country which is looking to further diversify its visitor economy; traditionally Cyprus has offered sun, sea and sand holidays but it appears to be moving away from that model – making a fascinating case-study. In addition, UCLan has close ties with the island; through UCLan Cyprus, we are one of the few UK universities to have a campus in the EU. 

Here is an overview of the 2018 fieldtrip written by Dr David Jarratt who led it.

                                                                                                                 The students in Larnaca, Cyprus

Day 1: Tuesday 6 March

We left Preston by coach in the morning and flew from Liverpool to Larnaca, Cyprus. Our apartment hotel was located right on the front in Larnaca, a stone's throw from the sea. We arrived in the evening, but there was enough time to settle in and for the students to enjoy Cypriot hospitality and the variety of restaurants that are open all year round in Larnaca; most students explored the local cuisine throughout the week.

                                                                                                                   View from the hotel in Larnaca

Day 2: Wednesday 7 March

                                      Students at the UCLan Cyprus Campus

As with every morning, we all met at a local restaurant for a full breakfast. Then we left for the UCLan Cyprus Campus where the Tourism and Hospitality students met us, guided us around the Campus, gave a presentation about the island and then offered us a light lunch. We also met our UCLan UK students who have chosen to spend their second year studying at our Cyprus Campus – an option for our International Tourism Management and International Hospitality Management students.

For more information on this experience, see this blog: 'Spending your 2nd year in Cyprus: ‘The best thing we have ever done!’' 

Before departing, we also had a tour of the brand-new accommodation at the campus which is high quality, excellent value and has a pool!

We departed the Campus at 2pm and drove to Christoudias winery at Kato Drys, up in the beautiful hills of Cyprus. Here we had a tour and talk about how wine and shoushoukkos are made. We then experienced wine tasting (6 varieties) along with some bread, local cheese and shoushoukkos. Here we discussed how Cyprus is diversifying and attracting gastro-tourists. The hospitality students were in their element. 

                                                                                                                                                Christoudias Winery

                                                                                                                Learning how to make wine...


Day 3: Thursday 8 March 

We spent this day in the Limassol area. We started by visiting the impressive ancient ruins of Kourion which overlook the sea. The highlights included the large forum and the (partially reconstructed) amphitheatre. Some parts of the site dated back to Ancient Greece and the Romans. Here I referred to interpretation with the students and Phil Stone discussed blended authenticity. We then moved on to another site of Heritage Tourism – Kolossi Castle, home to the order of Knights of St John. 

                                                                                                                               Kourion - ruined...

Later we also briefly visited the remains of a Neolithic settlement Choirokoi – UNESCO world heritage site.  These heritage case studies allowed students to compare differences in interpretation and to consider the diverse markets that Cyprus can attract.

                                         Choirokoi – Phil, Jean and some of our students at this World Heritage Site
We also visited the city Limassol that offered the interesting comparison of the new marina, full of luxury flats and yachts, with backstreets of the old town. We discussed the role of tourism in the development of the city and the potential of its famous Carnival in terms of the visitor economy and place branding.

Day 4: Friday 9 March 

                                                                                                                        Tour in the UN Buffer Zone

Today we visited Nicosia, which uniquely has a UN buffer zone dividing it. We walked through the southern part of the city, through the buffer zone and into the Turkish north.

Surprisingly perhaps, the buffer zone has become a tourist attraction, as a site of difficult heritage. We were lucky enough to be guided by an expert in this area – Katerina Antoniou of UCLan Cyprus. She introduced us to charities working for peace in the buffer zone itself and offered a unique insight into the history, culture and issues facing this divided city. This day visit makes a fascinating case study of how the macro environment creates challenges and offers opportunities for the tourism industry. 

                                          Students awaiting lunch in the Northern part of Nicosia

Day 5: Saturday 10 March 

On the final day, we visited the abandoned city and once premier resort of the island, Famagusta. Sadly, the fate of this city was that it became trapped in the buffer zone after the invasion of 1974; in the process, some perished and 45 thousand residents had to grab their possessions and flee, never to return. We visited the border and a civic centre which offered a history of the city and a fantastic viewing platform. The students found this example of Dark Tourism to be fascinating and eerie in equal measure. We also drove along the road which follows the border, seeing various points of interest.    

        Famagusta viewing platform - an abandoned city and resort at the heart of Cyprus [Photo: Phil Stone]

On the way back, we called into the (now quiet) tourist resort of Ayia Napa, which proved to be an interesting example of seasonality that contrasted with some of the other places we visited on this trip. This also allowed the students a photo opportunity at the famous Nissi Beach. 

                                                                                                                    Nissi Beach [Photo: Phil Stone]

We flew back at night and arrived back in Preston around 1pm Sunday morning. The trip not only achieved its educational objectives, clearly engaging the students and offering real world learning, but also brought everyone together. We'd do it again in a heartbeat!! 

In 2017/18 our Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management students enjoyed residential visits to Cambodia, China, Iceland and Scotland as well as a variety of day trips. Usually financially supported by UCLan, leaving a reduced charge for the student and offering excellent value for money and great educational experiences. 

For an overview of our trips last year, please see our blog post: 'THE Year That Was'

David Jarratt can be contacted through his Twitter handle: @davidjarrat1