Ketu ry

Experience of teacher involved in Azerbaijan project

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I had the pleasure of becoming involved in the project “Development of Sustainable Tourism and Support of Local Handicrafts in the Rural Azerbaijan” already in 2015, when I was teaching a group of Finnish and International business students a basic course in strategic marketing management.

We gave the students the task to create a strategic marketing plan for developing sustainable rural tourism in Azerbaijan. A rather challenging assignment since the students did not know much about the country. The project however went quite well and the marketing plans we made were well received by the project management team.

The “Azerbaijan Project” continued for me in 2017 when I was given the opportunity to go on Erasmus+ funded teacher exchange to the Azerbaijan Tourism and Management University in Baku.
Because of the project we decided that the topic of my lecturing would be sustainable tourism in general but with some focus on Azerbaijan.

The lecturing consisted of four 80 min lectures for four different groups of first and second year students. Each group consisted of 15-20 students from the English language program.
In addition to the lectures in sustainable tourism I also had an opportunity to take part in a seminar and workshop on sustainable rural tourism in Azerbaijan. I gave a lecture on marketing planning in general and how the theories can be applied to marketing sustainable rural tourism. After the lecture the participants, which mostly were students from the university, did some group works, were they could apply some of the theories.

In spite of some minor challenges with scheduling and other practical matters, I think that combining teacher exchange and this project was an interesting experiment and a great experience for me and it was hopefully beneficial for all stakeholders.

The concept is well worth developing further. However, careful and thorough planning, preparation and good communication between all the stakeholders is a prerequisite for best possible outcome.

Text: Jan Mitts, lecturer in Tourism, Kajaani University of Applied Sciences

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