Two students and a teacher from Ottawa’s St. Francis Xavier High School had the unique opportunity to build connections and share ideas with other tourism students, educators, and industry professionals from around the world at the 2022 Global Travel and Tourism Partnership (GTTP) conference.
Held this year in London, UK, thanks to hosts IHG Hotels, the conference brought together teams of students from ten countries to present their research on Responsible Tourism Post COVID, as well as explore what tourism can offer once they graduate.
Jacquelene Arevalo and Caitlyn Anderson, along with their teacher Brandy Kozowy, were selected to represent Canada at the event. The group participates in the Canadian Academy of Travel and Tourism program offered by Tourism HR Canada. The Canadian member of the GTTP, it offers resources and activities for secondary students to learn about tourism, its impact on communities and the economy, and the educational and employment opportunities available in the industry.
The students presented on farm-to-table concepts in top local restaurants, exploring how the pandemic impacted food costs, accessibility to foods, and labour shortages. They interviewed over a dozen farmers, chefs, industry associations representatives, and government officials to learn how restaurants are building a revitalized, sustainable agri-food tourism industry and offered solutions to build visibility and demand for these initiatives.
They were in turn able to learn about responsible tourism concepts in other countries, and then participate in a careers day, hearing from six international tourism leaders about their professional journeys, exploring new online learning options, and networking with global brands such as IHG Hotels, Marriott International, The Travel Corporation (TTC), and Amadeus. They were also treated to a behind-the-scenes tours of host hotel the Holiday Inn Whitechapel and a gala evening hosted by the Montcalm East, one of Marriott’s Autograph collection hotels.
“First and foremost, I want to thank GTTP and CATT for this amazing opportunity to find students who are very passionate about tourism like me,” stated Jacquelene. “I am so excited about this opportunity to talk about tourism in Canada. I am so delighted to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience to visit a country I have never been to before and share what tourism is like in Canada. I am so passionate about tourism and I’m so excited to feed my want to travel and share and learn.”
Teammate Caitlyn shared that this was “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am excited to see where the CATT/GTTP journey will take me.” She added that, “I love to travel and meet people from all over the world. The opportunities that meeting new people will give me promise new experiences and options for my future that I could have never dreamed of otherwise. I am extremely excited to broaden my knowledge of such a fascinating program and I cannot wait to get started!”
Anne Lotter, Executive Director at GTTP, said, “I was so encouraged by the passion and enthusiasm shown by our students and speakers. The teams had the opportunity to learn about the breadth and diversity of the sector. Skills students learn when presenting at a conference—including effective communication, time management, team working and problem solving—will be relevant throughout their careers. The annual Student Research Conference is an opportunity for students from different parts of the world to meet and exchange ideas, offering valuable cultural exchanges.”
The Canadian Academy of Travel and Tourism (CATT) is proud to be a longtime member of the GTTP, a leading charitable organization bringing travel and tourism education to nearly 700,000 students annually in secondary, tertiary, and vocational schools. It funds and shapes educational programs so students can build relevant skills for the workplace and offers hands-on work experience and internships. GTTP recognizes outstanding talent and achievement through competitions and awards such as this Student Research Conference.
The CATT program is actively redeveloping its suite of resources to integrate seamlessly into schools across the country, and continues to offer access to GTTP’s learning portal. For more information on how to join the program, visit this webpage or email firstname.lastname@example.org.