GWSB graduate students in tourism administration are recommending that officials in Cusco, Peru – once the capital of Incan civilization — harness the region’s tourism potential by turning the city into a globally recognized culinary destination.
The 15 students, all candidates for master of tourism administration degrees, traveled to Peru as part of a tourism consulting practicum course taught by Kristin Lamoureux, director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies.
After spending four weeks in Washington, D.C., learning how to be tourism consultants, students in the practicum travel overseas to investigate opportunities and strategies on behalf of a local client.
For the Peru practicum, the client was the Chamber of Tourism in Cusco, the nonprofit organization Tourism Cares, and the municipality of Cusco. Also on the trip were 11 graduate students from the Elliott School of International Affairs, who conducted surveys as part of their study of international research methods. The business students also worked local students from the University of San Ignacio de Loyola.
In Cusco, the students focused on cultural and culinary tourism, developing recommendations for turning Cusco into a “City of Gastronomy” as recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). They also suggested ways to improve the local San Pedro market to better benefit vendors, including by teaming up with local universities to improve the vendors’ English-language skills; improving sanitary conditions for food preparation and sales; getting tips from Cusco’s sister city of Madison, Wisc.; and visiting other markets in Latin America.
“It’s one of the few places where you can still go to an authentic market,” said Lamoureux. “It’s the right kind of tourism – it has direct economic impact to the people.”
As for the culinary aspect, Lamoureux said the students came up with ideas such as working with the Food Network to highlight the diverse cuisine of Peru and, in particular, of Cusco – where the food reflects elements of both the Andes and the Amazon Basin.
Lamoureux said the program not only provided valuable recommendations for Cusco-area officials and stakeholders – the vice mayor is planning to follow up the “City of Gastronomy” application suggestion – but gave her students an important opportunity to test themselves outside the classroom (but still with faculty guidance).
After such a trip, she said, students tend to realize if they are cut out for a career in international tourism consulting.
“It’s where you see what you do well and what you’re not comfortable with, and test yourself as a tourism expert,” she said.
(The students’ trip was also featured in GWToday.)
Posted by gwsb on July 17, 2012 | Filed under: GWSB News.