SEA CAPE and the Department of Tourism at the University of Otago, are developing a training programme to increase cultural awareness of small and medium tourism operators (SMEs) so that they can be better prepared to receive visitors from the South East Asia region. The programme focuses on the role of cultural understanding and training in creating better visitor experiences and growing tourism business (including raising market awareness).
End-users for the cultural tourism training programme include front line staff, managers and sales & marketing staff working in tourism and hospitality. This includes hotels, restaurants, attractions and transport. The training programme consists of a series of short videos focused on South East Asia, Latin America and North Asia integrated with downloadable PDFs and cultural quizzes. The videos highlight New Zealand’s changing visitor markets, benefits of cultural understanding, business case studies featuring real-world businesses insights, cultural insights from cross-cultural experts, and visitor needs insights focused on the Asia-Pacific region. As part of initial testing of the programme we have held evaluation events with over 30 SME business and relevant tourism stakeholders in Dunedin, Queenstown, Wanaka, Wellington, Auckland and Rotorua between August and October this year. These evaluations were encouraging. The cultural training content and video-format was perceived as highly relevant and SMEs expressed a strong demand for authentic tourism relevant cultural training.
Industry and tourism stakeholders provided valuable feedback for further programme refinement in preparation for further web development and nationwide launch of the programme in mid 2020.