Thursday, February 20, 2020

Learning to manage adventure tourism : Master of Adventure Tourism Studies

Syllabus: Master of Adventure Tourism Studies

Learning to manage adventure tourism
Travelers these days are looking for meaningful experiences and Nepal offers just that. A home to diverse ethnicities, their culture, traditions and festivals, the country also boasts some of the world’s highest mountains (over 8,000m) that are perfect for adventure. There is no doubt that Nepal has a high potential as a tourist destination. To tap that potential, a good management as well as professionalism are needed in the tourism sector, especially in adventure and mountain tourism.

To address that need, Tribhuvan University has introduced Master of Adventure Tourism Studies (MATS) course from this year. MATS is offered at Nepal Mountain Academy – an independent, not-for-profit, mountain research and educational institution that runs under the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

“The course aims to generate manpower who would run the tourism industry with a special focus on adventure and mountain tourism in more sustainable, interactive and innovative way,” informs Romnath Gyawali, CEO and Campus Chief, Nepal Mountain Academy.

New course
The Academy has been running four-year (eight semesters) Bachelor of Mountaineering Studies (BMS) since 2018. But after realizing that BMS wouldn’t be sufficient enough to address the growing need of manpower in this sector, MATS was introduced.

The Nepal Mountain Academy formed a committee of experts in 2019 to develop a curriculum, where for each subject three to four experts “shared their expertise to make the subject relevant and contextual” as per Gyawali. After briefing the positive sides and relevance of the course in Nepal, TU approved it.

The Academy has begun the new course from the beginning of 2020 after finding six resource persons who are guiding and assessing the first batch of students. “The teachers are the ones who have acquired similar kinds of degree from foreign universities,” informs Gyawali.

Course structure

MATS is a two-year (four semester based) programme that has embedded adventure tourism management skills. It focuses on subjects such as Adventure Tourism Operations and Management, Global Mountains and Mountaineering, Destination Planning, Development and Management, Tourism Entrepreneurship, Mountaineering Management among others, as per Gyawali. While, Tourism Crisis and Disaster Management, Tourism Innovation, Pilgrimage Tourism and more are its elective subjects which students get to select in the third and fourth semesters.

The entire course is focused on practical approach, informs Gyawali. In the first semester the student are taken to adventure destinations of Nepal where they have to conduct research on the potential and management aspect of that very destination.

Similarly, in the third semester they are taken to the mountain ranges below 6,000 m where they are made to study and explore about the climbing techniques, zoology, geography, socio-cultural part, environmental perspective and much more.

All the reports that are made from these educational trips are assessed and evaluated where the “students are made to present, discuss, and share their findings in a seminar format”.

Students are evaluated based on their performances during internal assessment (40 per cent) and half-yearly examination (60 percent). In internal assessment, Gyawali informs attendance, paper presentations, group presentations, field-visit reports, and students’ performance are evaluated.

Scope and skill
“Till date, there aren’t experts in this field in the country who have studied such a course. Thus there is an immense opportunity for the graduates of MATS,” says Gyawali.

Currently, each administrative division of the nation is guided to explore and manage at least one tourist destination at its respective place, as per Gyawali. So, there isn’t enough manpower to manage such work. “Graduates of the course can work in this area too.”

Furthermore, the Nepal Mountain Academy is not creating manpower who would fit into a job, rather “we are creating manpower who would create jobs in the sector and also plan and research in an interactive way to mobilize international and national tourists in a smooth manner”.

That means the graduates of the course will have sound skill on operation and management of adventure tourism, E-tourism, financial management, tourism research, tourism marketing, logistics and supply chain management among many others. In addition, the graduates will also experience the real life adventure and mountaineering tasks.

This is a new course. Thus Gyawali advises students: “You should be willing to learn in an irregular format and should come with the determination to make reforms in this sector.”

Fee structure: Rs 4,00,000 ( for two years)

Eligibility criteria:
The students must pass GMAT test conducted by Faculty of Management (FOM), TU and need to have a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum CGPA of 2 or second division marks. They are enrolled upon passing the interview taken by the Nepal Mountain Academy.

source: The Himalayan Times, Thursday, February 6, 2020, Education Times