‘Our Programme Turns Tourism Lovers into Professionals’
Professor Valery Gordin, Head of the Faculty of Economics and Management at HSE St Petersburg, presents the Master’s Programme The Experience Economy: Hospitality and Tourism Management. He is academic supervisor of the course which comes under the Events Management and Cultural Tourism field of study at HSE St Petersburg. Teaching is in Russian and English.
— Valery, your programme trains tourism specialists. How much demand will there be for them in the current crisis in the tourism market?
— Let’s divide the question in two. Firstly, who are we training? Our graduates are not tourism specialists in the usual sense of the word. They are more intermediaries between cultural organizations and travel companies. Secondly, the crisis on the tourism market is for travel abroad. But tourism coming into the country on the rise. The number of tourists coming here from China and the Far East is growing fast. And all the prerequisites for developing internal tourism are in place.
— What competencies does this kind of middleman or woman need to move between the spheres of culture and tourism?
— They need to have good analytical skills to be able to follow the market and identify the demands of different segments, to determine which tourism products are the most viable. At the same time, they also need to really know their way around cultural heritage and the creative industries and understand how they interact with the tourism market and how new cultural tourism products are created. They need good communication skills, to know the ways of intercultural communication and how to promote various cultural products.
— How do students acquire the vital communication skills?
— This happens best when students take part in various sociological and specialist surveys. As interviewers they learn how to talk to all different kinds of people and how to choose the right way to express themselves to create an impression and enable dialogue. These things are all important for professional growth and to establish social contact.
— There’s an English exam to get on to your Master’s programme. Why do students need to know English?
— You have to understand that as well as culture and tourism, education is also global. Most of the courses students will take are taught in English and the lecturers are both Russian and from abroad. Essays and coursework require huge amounts of reading in English. And the students often have to conduct interviews in English for the surveys they are involved in.
So English is the second working language on our programme.
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