A different kind of year in tourism gave SAMK EduTravel time for internal development
The year of 2020 in international tourism differed a lot from what people are used to. However, the restrictions gave SAMK EduTravel the space for developing their operations. For this reason, EduTravel is still in business, and has even better base for new challenges.
SAMK EduTravels’ student team in autumn 2020 consisted of International Tourism Development degree programs’ second and third year students. Mentors also in the picture (in front, left).
SAMK EduTravel is an incoming travel agency specialized in educational travel. Their purpose is to develop the growth of educational travel in Satakunta and West Coast of Finland, and to work as a learning environment for the students of SAMK's service business faculty. EduTravel operates as a sales intermediary and retailing partner between actors in Satakunta and international companies and organizations, who provide educational travel services to their customers.
– We have published our first annual report to show that despite the pandemic, we still exist, and to create more visibility of our operations to our stakeholders in and outside SAMK. We also wants to disclose what we have been doing during the pandemic and what we have in store for the future, says the executive manager of EduTravel, Maaria Berg.
Due to the travel restrictions Coronavirus brought, EduTravel only had one visitor group in 2020, arranged as an EduCamp in January. From March to August EduTravel was closed. They continued operations again in September by recruiting new students for internal development. In November, with West Coast Finland -project, EduTravel took part in Visit Finland's China Virtual Road Show, where Finnish tourism companies and destination representatives could meet Chinese tour operators. At the event, SAMK EduTravel marketed their co-operators' educational travel services as well as Satakunta as a destination.
Despite the restrictions, show must go on
During Corona, EduTravel has developed their service concept. This year, they will focus especially on strengthening co-operations with stakeholders in and outside SAMK.
– We will first take care of our own nest, meaning co-operation network and its products and services in Satakunta, in order to serve the co-operators and customers even better, and further to develop the profitability of our operations, tells Berg.
At servicescape EduTravel will figure out the potential of providing development services for their B2B co-operators in Satakunta, regarding productizing and marketing, and also guided day trips in Satakunta and the possibilities for virtual educamps, in addition to EduTravel's current international educamp and theme group related services.
At the moment, educational travels for visitors from abroad cannot be arranged, but there could be a need for guided day trips in Satakunta. EduTravel has started planning one-day-long trips for groups, that includes transportation, meals, and activities, which introduce Finnish culture, nature and experiences. Primary target group for these group trips is the international degree- and exchange students of SAMK.
In addition to this, there has been thought of the opportunities of arranging virtual educamps. Virtual traveling has become popular in China during the pandemic, and the demand for it came up in China Virtual Road Show too. The questions are, how to organize the culture exchange between Chinese and Finnish classes, and the visibility of the destination during a virtual visit. Different videos and 360-pictures could be excellent aids to achieve the latter.