The Cultural Acumen Tourism Training programme is a project established and managed at the University of Otago by Professor Neil Carr, Dr. Craig Lee, Dr. Wiebke Finkler, and Dr. Ismail Shaheer. Funded by the Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence, the project provides a platform for small and medium tourism operators in New Zealand to increase their cultural awareness and improve business preparedness to serve visitors.

The project specifically focuses on providing cultural understandings related to visitors to New Zealand from Southeast Asia, North Asia, and Latin America. There is potential for the growth enjoyed by these markets to continue once the pandemic has passed. The training programme will equip front line staff, managers, marketing and sales staff working in tourism and hospitality, including hotels, restaurants, attractions and transport with cultural awareness to enhance the visitor experience. 

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Participants can also test their knowledge and obtain a certification through the training programme. A website, which will serve as the face of the programme, is currently under development and series of workshops is planned in various cities in New Zealand. These workshops will include discussion around topics such as communication, eating and cooking, Muslim visitors, pets and animals, and clothing.

Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to contact Dr. Ismail Shaheer ismail.shaheer@otago.ac.nz

As part of our Te Hononga ­ā­ Kiwa programme with the University of Waikato, this workshop will be adapted to specifically address the Southeast Asia market.

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