Tourism field trip to BelfastIn the second semester of International Tourism and Hospitality Management MSc, postgraduate students go on a residential five day trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland
The aim of this trip is to understand how tourism is contributing to the process of ‘normalisation’ as Belfast and Northern Ireland emerge from ‘The Troubles’ of the 1970-1990s. We study this in the context of City Marketing – how it is used, and how it's affecting the economic and social fabric of the city and the outside world’s perception of Belfast. Students also analyse how tourism and other economic sectors have helped to transform the city's shape.
We have two guest lectures, from Brendan Murtagh from Queens University on the role of tourism in the city and the intractable social problems that the city seems to face, and from Jenny Muir on the nature of space in Belfast that is often divided between communities based on their religion.
We have presentations by Belfast City Council on their Tourism Strategy and from the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau who show students around, and explain how Europe’s most technologically advanced visitor centre is managed.
We also visit the main attractions in Belfast and the region, taking in a bit of ‘Dark Tourism’ at the Crumlin Road Gaol with its gory Victorian history and where prisoners from both sides of the Troubles were held, and we tour the massive redevelopment of The Titanic Quarter with its iconic museum, docks and drawing rooms where Titanic was designed and built, and where Game of Thrones is now partially filmed.
Cities are clearly embedded in their regions, so students venture out The Giant's Causeway to experience to the World Heritage Site and its multi–million pound new visitor attraction. In the past students have also visited The Bushmill’s Distillery, one of the largest attractions in Northern Ireland (and now rather bizarrely owned by Mexicans!) and this year we intend to go to the City of Londonderry/Derry, a contested city with dual names to reflect the two communities, and see how it has been affected by being crowned City of Culture in 2014.
The trip is linked to the City Marketing module and students, after analysing the social and economic background and future of Belfast, develop their own City Marketing plan for it.
The field trip is an integral and compulsory part of your course and the costs are covered by your fees.