IIM Launches New Bachelor’s Degree Program in International and Domestic Tourism
In 2021, important changes will take place at RANEPA IIM’s Multidisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree Program in Hospitality: the new cohort of students will be offered four programs instead of three. The new program is titled “International and Domestic Tourism”. Irina Goncharova, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Hospitality at RANEPA IIM tells the Academy website about the prospects of the program graduates.
– Irina Viktorovna, could you tell us why it was decided to supplement the Multidisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree Program in Hospitality with a program in tourism?
– The reason we are launching the International and Domestic Tourism program is that the industry is in dire need of reformatting for the economy of the future right now, after a one-year-long pandemic. The specialists who can plan and develop new territories are in demand today. Domestic tourism must become the basis for improving the quality of people’s lives, organizing recreation and leisure activities. In addition, this sector can revive the economy of almost any region. According to the head of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rostourism) Zarina Doguzova, “tourism can become the new oil for the Russian economy.”
The 2035 Tourism Development Strategy was approved in 2019. Its aim is to develop domestic and inbound tourism in Russia by creating a high-quality and competitive tourist product, as well as increasing the availability of tourist services, leisure and recreation for the Russian citizens. To this end, strategy sessions are held, grants are allocated, and accelerators for tourism start-ups are launched. Picture this: 524.8 billion rubles of budget funds will be allocated nationwide by 2030 for the development of tourist product.
At the same time, there are almost no specialists in the market today who would be capable of receiving the funds allocated to the national project development and turning them into actual working and commercially viable ventures. As an industry, tourism in Russia still relies heavily on subsidies and cashback services. Unfortunately, no one in our country has been training specialists in planning and development of tourist products within a particular territory. Effectively, the Golden Ring has been Russia’s only tourist product for the last 50 years or so.
In the International and Domestic Tourism program, we will train specialists with a wide range of competences for developing master plans for territories, creating new attractive tourist products, increasing their accessibility and improving the management of regional tourism administrations. Our graduates will be able to find an item of interest in a particular area, develop a product, raise funds to support it – like improving roads, for one – and encourage tourists to travel.
– Where will International and Domestic Tourism graduates be able to work?
– Let us assume that in four years the traditional model of tourism, which involves tour operators and travel agents, will change dramatically. The so-called “seamless tourism”, i.e. an experience of organizing one’s individual travel, is already quite popular today. Tourists want to stay in control of their time, avoid dependence on other group members, and to be able to change plans at any time.
Consequently, the first thing tourists will need is digital services, an attractive and understandable brand for the territory, information coverage including various types of tourist services, and an events calendar of the area. There will also be a demand for specialists who can create a new product in “experience tourism” – a tailor-made tour that can elicit one-of-a-kind emotions in the tourists. So our graduates will be able to work, for example, as brand managers of a tourist territory or tailor-made tour directors.
Real tourism will be closely linked to virtual projects. New professions will emerge – for example, an augmented reality territory designer who develops different layers of augmented reality for a particular territory. Thanks to this kind of specialists, we will be able to see what Nevsky Prospekt in St. Petersburg looked like in the 1720ies, in Gogol’s times, or in 1917. By the way, “A Moscow That Never Existed” augmented reality tours appeared several years ago and are still hugely popular.
Graduates who prefer a more measured and somewhat less creative life can find employment in analytical centers such as Ernst & Young, KPMG, or Deloitte. Analytical centers usually have departments specializing in tourism research: they study areas where new tourist attraction could appear, how tourist traffic flows, how these locations can be reached, and whether more investment is needed.
As for today, I can say that without even launching the new program, we are already getting requests from departments related to the organization of tourist activities in various areas, and even from museum facilities. Museums often lose visitors because they fail to identify their target audience and fail to convey information to the chosen target audience in the right manner. This is another area where our alumni could come in handy.
– How will the internship program work?
– Internships in the Multidisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree Program in Hospitality continue throughout the four years of study. In their first year, our students complete an internship in restaurants, as food and beverage related services are an important part of the industry. All the more so since gastro tourism, where people travel to try unique and extraordinary dishes, represents a fast-growing sector of the tourist industry. It is important that all our students, regardless of their major, get an inside view of how the kitchen works and how business processes are built.
In their second year, students in the International and Domestic Tourism program will be able to visit and participate in businesses directly related to tourism. The internships will be held at tourism administrations, museums, exhibition facilities and mansion estates. They will look at the specifics of a tourist product and how it is promoted, which projects are highly successful and which ones can do with further improvement.
Internships in the third year will focus on creating specific products. We already have agreements to assign the students to various territories, for which they will be developing tourist projects. Children will be able to participate in grant competitions and at the same time learn how to properly present their projects and raise implementation funding. One example of such work is our students taking part in developing the concept of Solba Park for Nikolo-Solbinskiy Convent this winter. It was an incredibly interesting experience, and I am proud of our guys who were among the winners, coming in second in the competition.
– How do you assess the prospects for tourism development in Russia?
– I think the prospects for Russian tourism are very good. We have regions with incredibly beautiful nature, cultural and historical sites. There are many beautiful places that few people have ever heard of. My colleagues and I now take great pleasure in visiting small towns with interesting tours. And most importantly, the people living there are true enthusiasts. They are extremely fond of their towns and have a lot of amazing stories to tell. In fact, we have so many beautiful, unusual, wonderful things! Our graduates will definitely have something to do and work with.
RANEPA IIM’s Multidisciplinary Bachelor’s Degree Program in Hospitality consists of 4 specializations: Restaurant Business, Hotel Business, International and Domestic Tourism, and Event Management. During their first and second year, the students immerse themselves in a professional environment and try out different fields to get an overview of the industry as a whole, and after the second year, they focus on the disciplines corresponding as closely as possible to their chosen profile. Thus, they consciously decide which field of the hospitality industry is the closest to them and where they would like to pursue a career.