University students from Maine head to Cuba to learn about its travel industry

Posted: 29-Dec-16 11:28

In an unprecedented move and the first-of-its-kind excursion, two groups of students from the University of Southern Maine made way for Cuba yesterday with a mission to learn about the island’s healthcare industries and the nation’s booming tourism industry and see how it copes with the challenge of an increasing number of visitors and a limited hotel infrastructure.

University students from Maine head to Cuba to learn about its travel industry

Last Tuesday two groups of undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Southern Maine embarked on a singular journey to Cuba. One group was made up of tourism students with the aim of getting an up-close view on how the island handles its tourism challenges, while the other, made up of nursing students, will be exploring the nation’s healthcare industries.

As part of the educational experience, all students will experience life aboard the schooner Harvey Gamage, a well-equipped wooden boat, where they will eat most of their meals and sleep during their Cuban nights away.

While learning more about Cuba’s well-regarded healthcare system and its flourishing tourism industry, students will gather and share information as they take a look at how the easing of political tensions between Cuba and the U.S. has started to transform the island’s economy and benefit the tourism industry particularly.

Speaking on behalf of the travelling group, chair of USM’s Tourism and Hospitality department, Tracy Michaud-Stutzman explained how the trip to Cuba would enable students to draw inspiration from Cuba’s tourism industry and see how they could contribute to improving it by applying some of the tourist expertise of the U.S. coastal state of Maine, long-known as “Vacationland”. In Michaud-Stutzman’s words:

“We’ve been doing tourism pretty well for about 200 years in Maine. People look to us as a model for sustainability.”

In this way, Cuba would present a case study for the student group to analyse and look at ways the island could remain as attractive to tourists as ever without losing its isolated appeal, which is a big part of what makes the island such an interesting place to visit in the first place. In particular, they would be looking at how the island copes with the growing number of visitors without such increasing figures negatively impacting on the island’s intrinsic appeal – a struggle Maine is familiar with.

One of the students, Darius Iranpour, who is currently working on his master’s degree in Tourism and Hospitality praised the trip as a unique opportunity to see how Cuba prepares for a significant growth in its tourism industry. With a focus on how to increase tourism numbers in a sustainable way that benefits the community and advances its development, Iranpour said he would be concentrating in looking at how Cuba can expand and diversify its tourism offering without suffering from overdevelopment.

“What’s great about Cuba is it is at a starting point, basically zero. My angle is about sustainable development and the policies behind it.”

“[Cuba is] at such a point right now where it’s almost pristine, so what are they going to do to protect that and still be able to draw tourism to their country and keep it pristine – that’s an interesting challenge,”

When it comes to exploring Cuba’s healthcare system, nursing student Shawn Sullivan, said he would be soaking up as much as he could about how Cuba implements what’s heralded as low-cost delivery of high-quality universal care.

“They have very limited issues when it comes to health care, compared to a lot of industrialized nations such as ourselves have, so it’s going to be us learning from them, which is a total transfer of thought process,”

What they expect to gain from the trip beside getting a privileged upclose-view of Cuba’s health and tourism industries is to also make contacts and develop meaningful long-term relationships with the Cuban people.


Popular Holidays in cuba

OUR EXCLUSIVE DEALS AND LATEST OFFERS

Best Value

From £599 per person
villa pinares de mayari

Villa Pinares De Mayari

4.0 stars

Beautifully perched on the panoramic Mensura Hill, surrounded by striking greenery, this blessed and secluded natural...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £619 per person
villa mirador de mayabe

Villa Mirador De Mayabe

2.0 stars

This enchanting villa hotel is surrounded by exuberant tropical plants and is perfectly located in a high point towering...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
sercotel club cayo guillermo

Sercotel Club Cayo Guillermo

3.0 stars

The perfect haven for lovers of nature in its purest state, the Villa Cojimar hotel sits in an idyllic location amidst...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
club amigo atlantico guardalavaca

Club Amigo Atlantico Guardalavaca

3.0 stars

Get away to one of Cuba's best kept secrets for a dream holiday at Club Amigo Atlantico. Guardalavaca is known to host...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £679 per person
tryp cayo coco

Tryp Cayo Coco

4.0 stars

The perfect beach holiday awaits you the all-inclusive Tryp Cayo Coco hotel, where non-stop entertainment and utmost...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation
From £699 per person
memories holguin

Memories Holguin

4.0 stars

Enjoy a perfect beach setting while you unwind in the historic sands of the all-inclusive Memories Holguin. A short...

Included
  • Flight
  • Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Representation

More deals


Explore cuba your way

Tailor made cuba holidays

For those who prefer to travel at their own pace or to explore places not included in the brochure itineraries, we have years of experience at organising tailor-made holidays.

Create the perfect trip with the help of our specialists

Our expert tour consultants will be pleased to suggest ideas to complement your own and to organise the most appropiate programme to suit your interests, time and budget.

Call 0207 644 1600
to speak with our award-winning travel consultants.

If you would like a member of our team to contact you back, please click here Contact us