GTTP Kenya: Shift In The Tourism Industry

GTTP Kenya have released their latest quarterly newsletter: Shift In The Tourism Industry, with an introduction from the Country Director of GTTP East Africa: Joseph Okelo.

Find out about how according to Dominic Wanjiru “a resilient tourism sector would be guided by sustainability, safety (health/security, responsibility, and innovation.”

Also inside this edition you can read about the musings of a volunteer, the impact of COVID-19 on children’s education in Kenya, and a review of the GTTP Kenya program overall.

Read the newsletter here.

‘Safe Travels’: Global Protocols & Stamp for the New Normal

The WTTC have published new global protocols & stamp for the new normal:

‘WTTC alongside our Members, governments, health experts and other industry associations are working together to achieve effective recovery protocols by developing meaningful action plans that optimise sector-wide recovery efforts.

Part of our protocols include providing the public & private sectors with the insights & toolkits for interaction & implementation to ensure that people are and feel safe however WTTC, our members and the sector can not guarantee 100% safety. It is paramount to have common rules. Ultimately, we envision a future of travel which is safe, secure, seamless and provides an authentic and meaningful experience to the traveller across the journey; one which supports the livelihoods of millions and contributes to sustainable economic growth. 

The protocols align the private sector behind common standards to ensure the safety of its workforce and travellers as the sector shifts to a new normal.

Please note that while the protocols take into account current WHO and CDC guidelines, they are living documents which we will update as new information becomes available about COVID-19′.

Click here to view the full set of protocols!

Inside Track. Tourism Education from India

Namaste! From India.
Dr. Sanjay Mehta 
I, Dr. Sanjay Mehta, feel proud as the Director of GTTP India to communicate to you with this newsletter. GTTP is an alliance between the Travel and Tourism Industry and the Education sector. I as an educationist by heart and profession could very well understand the need for this curriculum to be introduced in our country so that our students could connect with others globally. 

Today, I feel elated to present the third virtual edition of this newsletter from GTTP India. 

The journey of GTTP India has been exciting, but also challenging. It has given us days to feel proud about, as well as sleepless nights. “Passport to the World” was launched in 2016 as a pilot project in our country with just 52 students. We offered this curriculum with a strong desire to reach out to the majority of students, but our tiresome journey began when the Government could not financially support the project. We decided to continue our endeavor and established a self-reliant and self-sustainable model. This became an excellent example of a Private-Public Partnership. The educational institutions and a few local partners welcomed our efforts and desire with open hands and pockets. With this honest, continuous and consistent effort, today we have participation from 15 schools and 2 universities with a registration of 523 students in our GTTP India family.

The Travel and Tourism industry is the fastest growing service industry in the world. In a country like India, which has diversity in landforms and attractions, the tourism sector has a lot to contribute. It is noted by people in the industry that there is always a shortage of trained personnel in our sector. We surveyed our school to find out how many students were interested in taking up roles in the travel and tourism industry and how many would get systematically trained for it. As expected, we found that students were not clear about what they would study, what could be their learning outcomes and how would they’d be absorbed in the industry. Thus, we decided to take this curriculum to various schools and colleges so that students could get oriented with this career perspective. During our pilot project, we got the satisfaction of preparing young aspirants to choose a career in this ever-demanding industry. 

We are very keen on training our teachers and we are blessed that we have our colleague directors who have spared their valuable time with us. We were encouraging our trained teachers to conduct the classes, organize various field trips and practical training. They visited the Travel and Tourism fairs along with all the GTTP registered students and so on. GTTP India hosted various competitions at a national level to keep the curricular spirits high. 

We have seen a progressive rise of GTTP India. Our students participated in the Research competition in Nice, France. Once our students started participating in the conference, it motivated many others to join and participate with full zeal and enthusiasm. 

Before the onset of the pandemic, we had prepared our Digital recording studio in a school’s campus. This studio was inaugurated by Mr. Flavio and has been a blessing in disguise during this phase. 

The year 2020 has shown us a different facet of life with the pandemic. Countries had to go into lockdown in major parts of the world. International as well as domestic travel was curtailed. We are still passing through the phase where travel has started but for social purposes only. Leisure and holiday travel has still not picked up. 

Thus, the tourism industry is suffering. I, along with my coordinators, Dr. ManishaVyas and Dr. RuchikaAgrawal have taken up a study to find out methods for the revival of this industry and our abstract has been accepted in an international journal. We are happy that the subjects of this research were students who have studied tourism and the majority of them were GTTP students.  We have got very good and practical responses from students who could think out of the box for revival. Another research project was conducted by me and Dr. ManishaVyas on the adaptability of teachers in the new teaching methodology and we presented the research in a National Conference on Challenges to future education in the context of the present scenario. 

As a tradition, we used to organize a Convocation ceremony of all the students enrolled in GTTP in March. This year, as we could not gather a crowd of more than 50, we organized a virtual convocation. I am indebted to Ms. Anne Lotter and Ms. Claire Steiner who joined us for the ceremony. 

Hero Story

This month’s Hero Stories focus on two of our GTTP students, Dishita & Dev.

At 13 years oldMs. Dishita Singh, who recently joined the GTTP course, has learned the language of machine that is Coding during these days of lockdown. She was a part of the research group led by Codeovate. She has made her first programme in the form of a website on ’TRAVEL- TOURISM ‘. It provides guidelines to tourists about various places of interest, people and some interesting facts. Click here to view her work.

Dev Makwana, the winner of the research competition and attendee of the Nice Conference, is preparing for his full-time master’s programme in travel and tourism. He is preparing to enter the most premium colleges in India. 

Now let’s hear from Anne:

Thank you Dr. Sanjay. Your energy and enthusiasm to create a dynamic training programme for GTTP is infectious!  Building a digital recording studio to train teachers across India is inspirational and combining this with your industry engagement at a local level is a winning formula.  I look forward to watching GTTP India go from strength to strength. 

Inside Track. Tourism Education News from Brazil

Olá from Brazil! A country where tourism is full of opportunities.
Dr. Mariana Aldrigui

I was invited to join GTTP 12 years ago, as a teacher trainer for an educational program developed throughout the country. When this program ended, I was invited to coordinate GTTP actions in Brazil, which was and still is an honour. As a university researcher, my focus is Tourism Development and Tourism Education

Back in 2012 I decided to present GTTP’s Passport to the World to all my 1st year students, who are normally eager to understand this whole new universe. Most of them have never heard about the possibilities related to technology and tourism… when, in 2019, Passport to the World was upgraded to an online course, it became a double opportunity – engage more students and develop their English skills (as, you may remember, Brazilians speak Portuguese).

As the academic year in Brazil runs from March to December, this will be an online year for most students who are now deeply concerned with their career opportunities. Teachers are doing their best and have not only used the regular content, but also included virtual visits to international destinations, heritage sites, museums, galleries, and many other options related to tourism careers

Also, some experts from different tourism areas have been talking to our students using the virtual conference apps that we are now all used to – sharing their views on how tourism will recover from the negative impacts of Covid. 

What amazes me the most? Every single one of them is optimistic.They not only believe in a sustainable recovery but also have encouraged students to understand tourist motivations by analyzing social media posts as well as sharing statistics from reliable sources such as WTTC, IATA and Skift.

As for the students, it has been a tough year – they are concerned with their future possibilities and anxious to understand what tourism will be. And that is why we, at GTTP Brazil, are trying to share a lot of good international examples and inspire them to look for creative alternatives, hoping for a better and sustainable future for all.

Hero Story

Larissa Pantalena and Mayara Correa were the two students chosen to  represent Brazil at the GTTP Students & Teachers conference in Nice, 2019. They came back totally energized and inspired by what they learned. They will be speaking to all new students this year, inviting them to join the program and sharing their experiences. We have asked them to summarize their experiences, adding the challenge of dealing with Covid-19:

Larissa Pantalena, 18 years old “Covid-19 has practically stopped all tourism in the world. I feel this is a moment where we, as students, should learn how to be patient and persevering, searching online for creative initiatives and examples to inspire us. I always remember how fantastic the conference was, and how much knowledge there was in the same room – a sample of this amazing world! Chatting with my friends from GTTP, each one in a different country, made me understand a lot about how we are equals, despite the cultural differences. I hope this pandemic will be over soon, so more people get to travel again and learn a lot” 

Mayara Correa, 19 years old “Winning the GTTP Case Study competition in 2019 made me realize that travelling and learning is not impossible, even for people with background similar to mine. I am really concerned about the tourism market for this young generation – it all has stopped! – and I am anxious to see the world back to a “normal” state and understand how my career will develop. Being in Nice was an extraordinary experience that I will carry with me forever, as it made me believe not only in my choices, but in me as a capable human being!” 

Now let’s hear from Anne:

I remember meeting these two students at Nice airport and suggested we share a taxi to the hotel.  They were full of excitement and optimism, both for their time in Nice and their future careers in travel and tourism.  I hope their stories will inspire future  students to join GTTP, take part in the research competition and for the lucky competition winners, to experience something special as Mayara and Larissa did in Nice. 

Young people represent the future of travel, let’s encourage, support, and guide them

by , Head, Social Responsibility, Amadeus IT Group

Betti and Zsófi are Hungarian sisters with a passion for travel. At the latest edition of the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership (GTTP) annual competition in Nice, France, they shared how this passion came about and what the GTTP means to them.

“We were always interested in travel and tourism, so this was a big opportunity for us. We started learning about travelling and tourism last year. It was a better field than we thought, so we decided to work in tourism after high school.”

This is where the GTTP helps. The program educates secondary and vocational school students about careers in travel and tourism in more than 5,600 schools around the world. To date, more than two million students like Betti and Zsófi have participated in GTTP programs.

Bettina Beáta Horváth and Zsófia Horváth presenting their research findings. The girls are from Sebestyen Tinodi Secondary Grammar School, Sárvár, Hungary.

“We are very lucky because our school can help us achieve our dream. Travel and tourism is very popular in our country and a lot of students can get a summer job in this industry.”

At this year’s edition of the GTTP, held in the Amadeus Executive Briefing Centre, international students and teachers submitted their entries to the annual research competition. The topic was “Bleisure” travel, a category that describes travellers who take business trips and add a leisure activity before returning home.

Representatives from Brazil, Hong Kong, China, Hungary, France, Jamaica, Ireland, India, Russia, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania showcased their research findings and met students and teachers from other GTTP-member countries.

“Travel is a very interesting career field, and you can meet new people and even help them if they need it. We think, with this competition we showed people in our school that tourism is a great profession. We hope that after seeing our presentation more and more students decide to work in this industry,” the sisters said.

GTTP research competitions encourage the development of skills students will need in their careers. Students are also required to explore and reflect on topics concerning the future development of the travel and tourism industry, like sustainability and technology.

Text republished with kind permission from the Amadeus Blog.

A Retrospective: Looking Back On Our 20th Anniversary Celebrations – Part 2

In 2016, the Global Travel Tourism Partnership notched up 20 years of success in teaching more than 2 million high school and tertiary students about travel, tourism and hospitality careers as well as sustainability issues.

In Part 2 of our retrospective, we feature activities and events held from July to December 2016 to mark our 20th Anniversary.

If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.


In Tanzania, members of GTTP Club from Aaron Harris Second School, celebrated the GTTP’s 20th Anniversary by visiting the Tourism Sector Fair in Dar es salaam on 4th July 2016. The intention of this visit was to learn the academic requirements for joining Tourism Training Institutions and labour opportunities in the Tourism sector. The GTTP Director of Tanzania is Halima Mohamed Mamuya.


The Sziget Festival – one of the largest music and cultural festivals in Europe – is held every August in northern Budapest, Hungary.  As part of the GTTP 20th Anniversary celebrations, GTTP Hungary invited students to enter a competition to win tickets to the event.

Two pairs of students won and both pairs prepared a video of their time at the amazing festival. Pictured here are Luca Nagy and Enikő Löbl from an excerpt of their video. (Luca was also one of the Hungarian winners of the Research Award for 2016).

Dr. Attila Horvath serves as the Director of GTTP Hungary.


In Ireland, the GTTP Student Research competition is now featured in Tourism Insight, an education program that provides valuable tourism insights to transition year students and other learners, informing them of career options within the tourism industry.

The new initiative was developed by the Irish Hospitality Institute in collaboration with the Institute of Technology Tralee with the support of Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation.

The initiative was formally launched nationwide 29th September 2016 by the Minister of State for Tourism, Patrick O’Donovan.

Pictured are:

  • Joe Dolan, President IHF
  • Mary Rose Stafford, Institute of Technology Tralee, Minister of State for Tourism
  • Patrick O’Donovan T.D
  • Natasha Kinsella, FIHI, (Programme Co-Founder) Regional Skills Manager Dublin and GTTP Ireland Director
  • John Mulcahy, Failte Ireland


On October 1st, 2016, GTTP Brazil organized a half-day conference celebrating the International Day of Tourism held on Sept 27th.  Alberto Martins, the President of GTTP Brazil, spoke to an audience of 45 students about Tourism and the need for talented young people to join the industry.

There were also presentations on the GTTP and Passport to the World, and then students were invited to share their impressions with colleagues and teachers.

The Director of GTTP Brazil is Mariana Aldrigui.


Each year the GTTP holds a competition for the best school research project. In honor of the 20th Anniversary, “Heritage Tourism” was chosen as the research topic for 2016.

Twenty high school and tertiary students from 10 countries were selected as the 2016 Student Research Competition winners out of some 2,000 entries. The students presented their research findings at the GTTP’s annual student/teacher conference Nice, France. Each country was represented by two student research partners from schools which use GTTP’s Passport to the World travel and tourism educational curriculum.

The winning pupils discussed how Heritage Tourism can attract more visitors and enhance the tourist experience in their respective countries. The students also explained their views on the role of sustainability and technology in supporting heritage tourism development.

The countries represented this year by the students and their accompanying teachers included: Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Hungary, Jamaica, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, and Tanzania.

Our one and a half year journey in China

By Sally Faith Omollo and Eilleen Namaindi Wamalwa, GTTP Kenya students

Our journey to China began in 2014, when GTTP Kenya broke to us the awesome news that we would be beneficiaries of a four year full scholarship program at the Tourism College of Zhejiang China. It took some time to gather all the required documents and follow up the required procedures, but finally, on the 8th of March 2015, we set off to China.

It was quite an emotional moment, leaving behind our families, friends and loved ones in order to pursue our dreams in the tourism industry, but it was worth it because we would come back home, better and more productive people to the society.


The first thing we had to do in order to settle well in China, make friends and communicate with the Chinese people was to learn the Chinese language. We spent our first semester in the elementary Chinese class, learning the basic communication words, and the basic characters. This was so much fun, because the teachers provided a very friendly learning environment, and the students were also very friendly to us.



One thing that has made our stay in China very interesting is the fact that we have been able to interact well with both Chinese and foreign students, and have been able to make very good friends with them. Our Chinese friends have been very helpful in that they always create time to help us practice our Chinese. The other foreign friends have also been helpful because whenever we meet, we share different things about our countries, and in this way, we acquire a vast range of knowledge concerning the different cultural practices in different countries. At times, we also cook and share the different types of foods and snacks from our countries



Apart from studies, the school has also been very efficient in ensuring that we take part in other co-curricular activities such as school trips, sports and attending traditional Chinese culture performances. We find this very exciting because we love exploring and experiencing different things. The co-curricular activities are also important since they make your mind think outside the classroom environment and it is what got us the opportunity to be here in China.


Every semester, we attend at least 2 field trips, organized by the school, in which we visit different historical places, both within and outside Hangzhou. The first ever field trip we took part in was in one of the best parks in Hangzhou. We have also had a chance to visit some famous places in China such as the Thousand Island lake, (Qiandao Hu), The grand Canal of China, the famous green tea museum, the traditional Chinese villages, the bird park…..etc.

A quick snap with Korean students outside the entrance of one of the best parks in Hangzhou – our first field trip in China.

One of our most memorable trips was when we visited a famous building that is an exact copy of the Tianamen square in Beijing.

After that, we proceeded on to visiting the famous home for Chinese stars (a Chinese version of Hollywood) where we watched different breath taking performances, and learnt so much more about the Chinese culture, as well as the Chinese people. We also had a chance of witnessing a horse race, that was related to an ancient Chinese story.

During our first months in China, we also took part in a government-organised field trip, in which we visited ancient streets of Hangzhou, and witnessed the performance of the Beijing Opera. This was a very exciting experience since we got the chance to gain some knowledge on the ancient people’s way of life as well as witness some of the ancient performances that are highly valued in China.

We also visited the Chinese hospitals, and were taken through some medical procedures of Chinese medical treatment, such as acupuncture. After that, we were given free Chinese medicine, which we carried back to school. The medicine was so useful, especially for curing colds.

Since our country Kenya is well known for its sporty nature, we took up the task of flying our country’s flag higher by indulging in sports. We have taken part in different types of sports, both within and outside school.  The sports activities outside school have been the most exciting since we get to meet and interact with other people from other countries. There are moments when we have even met students from Tanzania, a country neighbouring Kenya.

The most common forms of sports we have taken part in include: marathon, short races, skipping rope, tug of war and basketball. In all the sports, we have always brought out the best in us.  The best activity was a marathon race organised by yunqi where we came back home with medals.




One of the most exciting co-curricular activities we took part in was the cooking competition. This was a competition organised by the school. Participants were in groups of twos, in which we were required to cook a special type of meal from our home town.  The judges were top chefs from the school’s culinary department. We presented the special Swahili style Kenyan food, that comprised fried Kenyan rice, chicken stew, and some freshly blended mango juice, and that took us all the way to the second best position. We were then awarded certificates and some money as a token of appreciation for the good work and the delicious food we made.



Since each new day always brings something new to us, we always spend our free time by doing something different each time. One of the things we spend our free time doing include: finishing up assignments, cleaning and organising the room, attending Chinese shows, going to the theatre for movies, attending shows organized by the school that teach us more about Chinese culture, going to church to worship, since we are Christians, visiting unique places walking on the beautiful streets at Hangzhou, while admiring how beautiful the city is, both during the day and at night, and spending time with our friends.


GTTP, in collaboration with the school, have always made an effort to secure for us internship positions at some of the top most 5 star hotels during the winter and summer holidays. So far, we have worked  as interns in three different international five star hotels. We had our first and the most amazing summer internship experience at The Dragon Hotel, Hangzhou. While at The Dragon, we managed to work in different departments such as front office, foods and beverages, sales and marketing, house keeping department and the human resource department. The most amazing part of it all is that during the whole 2 month internship period, we were residing at one of the guest rooms in the hotel.

While at Dragons, we acquired so much knowledge concerning the different departments, from the staff workmanship, to the management.This knowledge has been of help during our hotel management classes since we can relate to what is being taught. During the last two weeks, we were also given a chance to lead an English training program for staff members at the hotel. It felt awesome to share our English knowledge with others and help them improve their spoken English.

Our second summer, vacation was at an exclusive hotel, called Hangzhou, Linan, Tuankou Radon Hotspring Hotel. The most unique feature of this hotel is that it is a hot spring hotel, and the hot springs are all natural. We were honored to work at the executive lounge of the hotel, where in most instances, we handled the VIP guests. One thing that made our stay in this hotel interesting was the exclusive attitude of the guests and  staff members towards us. The other interesting thing about Tuankou Hotel was the fact that there were very many foreigners working as staff, so that created a home environment, and made us feel at home. During the low seasons, the hotel could give us the chance to enjoy some of the guest facilities such as the water park, the hot springs and the swimming pools.

Our first winter vacation internship was at the Zhejiang Tourism Grand Hotel This was a whole new experience since we were handling cabin crew members of different flights and travelling guests. While at this prestigious hotel, we worked at one department, which is the foods and beverages department. Most of our shifts were the early morning shifts, from 6.00 am to 2.00 pm. It was a great working with very hard working and inspiring staff members for 1 and a half months, and before we knew it, winter vacation was over, and we had to come back to school.

Living in China has been and still is an experience of a lifetime. We have made very good friends, who have turned out to be our families, and we really can’t imagine what it will be like leaving them behind when we finally go back home.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the entire GTTP fraternity and the management of Tourism College of Zhejiang for giving us this lifetime opportunity. We would also like to thank our teachers and friends who have made our stay in China awesome!




From Idea to Reality – Hungarian town adopts recommendations of GTTP travel and tourism students

Visitors come to Sárvár to visit its spa, castle, churches, arboretum, park and lake. The winning student research project from Hungary in 2014 determined that Sárvár would benefit from greater use of QR code* technology enabling visitors to read on their smartphones or tablets about the town’s attractions they visit.  The recommendations of the five students who created the project have now been implemented by the tourist town, a fantastic example of how Global Travel and Tourism Partnership pupils can make a positive impact on our society. Here we showcase how the students pursued their concept and convinced the town to adopt their ideas.


How do you take a GTTP competition school project and have it adopted as a citywide series of QR guides for visitors?

Here is an image of five 2014 GTTP students. Two of them are “holding” a QR code, the kind you see pretty much everywhere. A little over a year later you can see 55 of their QR codes all over their hometown of Sárvár, Hungary, where the first book in the country was printed.

The first question here is: how much information about Sárvár, population of about 16,000, can you store on a QR code that is a few centimeters square?

One of the vlog brothers of YouTube fame, Hank Green, calculated you could put “All of Wikipedia on one QR code.” The only problem is that the QR code would have to be 17 kilometers x 17 kilometers square. Actually, that would be just the beginning problem. The next one is where would you put your Smart phone and its QR code scanner? (Hint: the Moon). After that it gets complicated. It’s a funny video.

The five Hungarian students at the Tinódi Sebestyén Grammar School, which specializes in tourism studies, were more realistic. They had entered the 2014 GTTP Research Competition. The topic that year was “Technology and Sustainable Tourism.” They had read about QR codes and they decided the technology could be used to provide information easily and quickly to visitors. Take out your Smartphone or tablet that contains a QR code-reading app, then point it at the black and white square QR code located next to the fountain or castle in front of you. Listen to the click. See the information on your device’s screen.

Yes, some secure versions of a QR code can hold, for example, the contents of a person’s passport. However what caught the team’s attention, as they reported later, was that “the QR code helps Smartphone users find web contents quickly. This application immediately takes you to the given page without browsing.”

They could build online pages that tell visitors about the things they are looking at as they explore this attractive and interesting town. There is no limit to how much information they could put on web pages. There was no need to build a 17km x 17 km QR code – nor to print out tourist leaflets, a key contribution for the sustainability aspect of their project

They could create what they called “The Sárvár QR Code Tour.” Technically, “generating a QR code is very easy,” the team noted. There are many online services that create those little black and white QR squares that link the phone owner to a web page and its content.

The team was smart about how they developed their project. They created questionnaires for residents to find out how interested and receptive they were to little QR squares appearing on surfaces around town.

For information and advice they went to town officials involved in tourist information and to businesses that already used QR codes — and also explained the benefits of their project. They built support for their Code Tour concept. Once they got the official approval to go ahead, they worked with the local tourism destination management (TDM) organization to implement the idea.

Today if you visit Sárvár 55 QR codes will guide you from the Tourinform (tourist information) office to the tour map the team created, then to the Arboretum everyone visits; Násdasdy Castle; the Museum; the town’s main square; its renovated Town Hall; the World War I memorial; the Church of Saint László, the Spa with its mineral waters, the Rowing Lake.

Along the way the Tour takes advantage of QR code’s simplicity and provides information about less obviously interesting places. These are places that help define the character of a town. For example, a building where a famous poet, Géza Gárdonyi, worked as a kindergarten teacher; a blue building whose history includes being used as a hunting lodge and later a nunnery.

It’s nice when your hometown likes your idea and adopts it so people can use and enjoy it. The original student team was made up of Alexandra Agócs, Zsófia Kupi, Bettina Laczó, Lilliána Laczó and Anna Löke. Their teacher was Viktor Vígh. You can read how they created the Code Tour project by going to, then clicking on “Students.” Then click on “Research Award”, and next on “Research Award Winners 2014,” then scroll down to “Hungary.”

* What is a QR Code?

First came the now familiar “barcode” which uses a code based on lines of varying widths to represent data. The “QR Code” is a similar but more capable technology that uses complex patterns to represent data. It was developed in 1994 by Japan’s Denso Wave Company. The name comes from the abbreviation of an English term “ Quick Response” and was first used to track the location of industrial components quickly. An advantage of the QR code is that it can be scanned from any direction; the correct positioning of the code is not important.


The GTTP Helped Me To Find My Way in Life,
by Anastasia Kovinskaia, a GTTP 2013 Student Winner

Anastasia Kovinskaia graduated from Moscow School 1228 in 2015 and is a student at Moscow State University.  Below, Anastasia recounts her experiences with the GTTP.

Anastasia (right) and team partner Anna Kirillina


In 2013 I had the chance to participate in the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership Research Conference in Monaco where, as a winning national team, we had the honor to represent my country on an international level.

There were a lot of participants from different parts of the world: Great Britain, Hungary, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, South Africa and Brazil.

The GTTP 2013 Russia team explored how enthusiasts in Kolumna, a city about 100 km (60 miles) from Moscow, are working to restore and re-introduce “Kolumna Pastilla,” a popular Russian delicacy invented in Kolumna in the 1700s that almost faded away in the 1900s.


Pastilla combines apples, honey or sugar, sometimes egg whites, and nuts and fruits.

The topic of the competition and of the conference was Culinary Tourism. We had to write a case, and that was not as easy as it seemed because we had studied the subject of our project in all aspects, had analyzed information and had prepared our presentation (see photos about Kolumna and Pastilla). We were extremely happy and proud to become the winning team.

Our award was participation in the amazing annual GTTP student/teacher conference, which lasted just 5 days but was enough to change me a lot. I made a lot of friends and still keep in touch with them. We were able to share the love of our countries with each other.

On the last day we had a gala dinner where we were able to meet Global Partners from the world’s leading corporations and to learn about their ways to success. Global Partners gladly communicated with us, answering our questions and showing interest in our projects. It was really great that they were sincerely interested in helping us expand our horizons and develop new skills.

The GTTP conference allowed me to understand the cultural values ​​of different countries, and better understand mentality of other nations. This experience had a great influence on me because I was able to feel myself as part of the world. I understood that the interaction of different people and cultures is very important and necessary for our modern society. People should be tolerant with each other.

Every country, every nation has its own unique and unrepeatable history and it’s important that people from other countries respect it and wish to become closer. Travel and Tourism is an extremely effective way to achieve this goal, and governments have to interact and be in progress together, helping each other promote culture, ideals, and values and bring people together. And I understood that I wanted to contribute to it.

In meeting with Global Partners – successful and influential people, teachers and students from other countries, adopting their experience, discovering something new, I realized that it is possible to be a part of this system, and that is closely connected to my interest in politics and belief in its ability to use “soft power” and be a means of mutual understanding, so people could live in peace.

That was how my participation in the GTTP conference helped me make a choice of the next level of education and my professional career. So after graduating  I entered the Department of World Politics at Moscow State University.

The Monaco Conference helped me understand what I really want to achieve in life. I have been enriched by new knowledge and learnt a lot about cultural heritage of different nations. GTTP helped me to find my way in life and I am really thankful to organizers and sponsors for this awesome opportunity.

The Fun of Being a Judge at the GTTP Russia Student Competition, by Yulia Khivantseva, HR Manager, CWT Russia

Yulia Khivantseva, HR Manager, CWT Russia, at the GTTP Russia Student Research Competition to commemorate the GTTP’s 20th Anniversary

On Jan 26th this year, my boss, Natalia Morozova, General Manager for CWT Russia, forwarded me a letter with the subject “GTTP Russia 20th Anniversary event February 16 and 17” with her comment: “FYI, let’s talk later.”

The subject was represented by a chain of emails that started from the one by Dr. Nancy Needham to GTTP Board Members (among whom was CWT Head of Responsible Business Françoise Grumberg) about the GTTP 20th anniversary event in Moscow. At this event run by GTTP Russia, students would be given a challenge and a limited amount of time to develop a viable business concept related to Heritage Tourism. She was looking for support from GTTP Industry Partner employees to serve as volunteer advisors to the students as they developed their ideas into a concept paper on the first day and to judge the teams and select the winners on the second.

As it often happens, Nancy’s e-mail found its way through corporate communication channels first to Anne Esling,  EMEA HR Head for CWT, then to Walter Ruggli, CWT Business Head for Switzerland and Eastern Europe, then to Natalia Morozova, CWT GM for Russia and ended up in my mail box.

I am HR head for CWT in Russia and at that moment I was swamped with end of year activities: performance appraisals, goals settings, compensation reviews.

Never had I thought the email that looked like more work than fun would develop into a wonderful experience of meeting great people and taking part in a great event.

Step one was to get some understanding of what was that required of us. I got in touch with Dr. Nina Kuznetsova, who represents GTTP in Russia, and learnt more about the Global and Travel Tourism Partnership, a multi-country educational program to introduce students to career opportunities in Travel & Tourism with half a million students in thirteen countries, supported and sponsored by leading international companies – Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Amadeus, American Express, Delta Airlines, dnata, Enterprise Holdings, Eurostar, The Hertz Corporation, Hogg Robinson Group, KDS, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Travelport

At the First Stage of the GTTP Research Competition students would work in teams of five under very tight deadlines in order to develop and present a solution for the tournament challenge related to Heritage Tourism. The challenge would be revealed on the first day of the competition (February 16th), and teamwork would start.  The students would develop their solutions (ideas and concept papers) during the rest of the day.  On the 2nd day (February 17th) teams would present their solutions to a panel of judges and their peers.

Nancy and Nina wanted some volunteer – experts from CWT for Day 1 and judges for Day 2.

I spoke with our CWT Russia Leadership Team about the event asked for volunteers. I presented it as a wonderful opportunity for our employees to go out there and share their knowledge and expertise – a great development opportunity, indeed.

Since Moscow was going through a bout of ‘flu some people who volunteered fell victims to the illness, but they were promptly replaced with others.

On Feb 16 our team of 10 people arrived at the event.  Olga Dolgova, Elena Solovieva, Alla Lapina, Natalia Nedashkovskaya, Anastasia Andreeva, Olga Fedorova – from CWT Travel Services,  Nadezhda Sizova from CWT M&E,  Yulia Agashina from CWT HR, and  Albina Golikova from CWT legal were right on time to share their expertise and knowledge with GPPT students.

We were met by Nina, who gave a warm welcome and briefing. It was also nice to get to know our fellow travelers from Travelport.

We split in teams of two and met up with students.

Personally there were three things that struck me as interesting: 1) real appreciation of local heritage places by all participants 2) not very clear understanding of challenges to put some projects into practice (I am saying it only because I am over 40 and not a dreamer any longer 🙂 ) and 3) difference in business acumen between school and university students.

Nadezhda Sizova, CWT Russia Sales Manager, advising student competition participants

Nadezhda Sizova, CWT Russia Sales Manager, said:

“I was invited as a Business Travel Expert to help students with projects, share my opinions and ideas. Before taking part in the event I was not sure why rich and successful people do teaching.

Now I can say that it was a wings-growing experience. Open, positive, talented kids are our future. There were a lot of great projects. The one I liked most – tour of Russia’s Caucasus for people with hearing difficulties.”

Anastasia Andreeva, CWT Russia Travel Services Outplant Superviser

Anastasia Andreeva, CWT Russia Travel Services Outplant Superviser shared:

“I understood the objective of the event as identification of young talent, and an attempt make young people think and act independently.

I totally loved the way it was organized, and of course I loved the kids.”

On day 2, three CWT reps joined the jury panel and spent the whole day reading through the briefs, observing live presentations.

We had a difficult time selecting the best three, as all were great.

All in all it was really positive experience for us. We loved every minute of it. By Feb 18th everyone in CWT Russia knew about the event.

And I am sure that for any future event Nina will have to do a casting among CWT volunteers.

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