Students develop Vaasa as an international tourist destination

Julkaistu 2014-05-12 08:13:17 EEST.

The 5th annual international seminar Creative Product Concept Development was held in VAMK 22.-25.4.2014. The seminar was part of VAMK’s co-operation with Hogeschool Utrecht within the tourism degree program.

This spring the co-operation was integrated to VAMK’s Development of Tourism Products and Experiences - 2nd year tourism course. The Dutch students study Leisure and Event marketing. The objective for the joint courses was to develop a model of co-operation based on the previous experience with University College of Northern Denmark and Hogeschool Utrecht.

- This time the aim was to develop Vaasa as an international tourist destination based on the task given to us by Vaasa Tourism Ltd. Destination Management Company, tells Peter Smeds, Head of Degree Programme.

The projects were implemented in close co-operation with Vaasa Tourism Ltd.  This year creativity training-tools were used to boost the project work with the case.

- The implementation gave the participants a possibility of collective learning in an international environment through co-creation of tourism product concepts with several co-operation partners, says Peter Smeds.


12 VAMK and 18 Hogeschool Utrecht students participated in the seminar. The Head of the Degree Programme Peter Smeds in the middle.

Expert lecturers, team work and top solutions

The students were already in the beginning of the seminar divided into six teams, all teams consisting of a mixture of Finnish and Dutch students. All teams were given the topic and their task was to come up with different solutions.

On the first seminar day students got to know more about creativity management and Vaasa as tourist destination. They also took a trip to Quarken archipelago in Björkö and later that night had dinner and sauna together.

The second seminar day started off with lectures on the themes supporting the assignment. The lectures were followed concerning for example event management and experience design and communication. VAMK teachers Peter Smeds, Thomas Sabel, Heidi Hellström and Satu Lautamäki gave expert lectures during the week. Also Erkki Laakso from Vaasa Tourism Ltd. and Elisabeth Keller and Jeroen Rooijakkers from Hogeschool Utrecht gave lectures.

On the third and the last day of the seminar each group presented their solution to the evaluation panel that gave feed-back regarding the solution. The top solution was made and awarded with a small prize.

A very positive feed-back

The work in internationally mixed groups was appreciated by both Finnish and Dutch students. Many of the VAMK students felt that they could improve their English skills during the seminar.

- Students also learned that you need to be flexible in a cross-cultural team, says Smeds.

Students found that it was interesting with the cross-cultural co-creation of product concepts to find a solution to the given problem.

- The seminar gave an added value for their learning process, based on the really positive learning diaries that all the participating VAMK students returned after the week, comments Peter Smeds.