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.