Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tourism Field Trip to Vancouver - Post Reflection

As part of my EVNT 2500 class, our faculty went on a Field Trip to Vancouver. During our stay in Vancouver, we went on many adventures such as Vancouver Place, Rogers Arena, Grouse Mountain and our first dinner as a group at La Bodega. All of these places were learning experiences or an experience of a different culture. Furthermore, during these excursions, our group learned many useful tips on how the real world operates in a job setting in the tourism field.

Industry Meeting
 Tourism Vancouver was a very intriguing place to visit during our time in Vancouver. The presentation was very well organized and our tour guide, Susan Graham, seemed to enjoy her job.  Tourism Vancouver was looking ahead to what conferences they were hosting in Vancouver. For instance, she showed us a schedule of events for the future. It was interesting to note that they planned ahead all the way until 2022.  The presentation touched on how much competition they had with the rest of North America and the world. In addition, Tourism Vancouver was very organized. They understood their limits of the number of large events they could handle as a city. A very interesting fact that they mentioned was that 2011 was a very busy year for Tourism Vancouver. This was due to many conferences that may have avoided Vancouver in 2010 but were happy to return after the Winter Olympics.

Venue Tour
  My favorite venue tour of our field trip was our tour at Rogers Arena. We entered into a room filled with Canucks pictures and Canucks facts from their existence. Despite my knowledge of the majority of their achievements and milestones already, it was still great to read them again.
 When I was a kid, it was a dream of mine to work at a sports venue in a professional league. Our tour guides were very professional. They knew their duties well and were able to confidently answer any questions that my classmates or I had. Unfortunately, during our tour, the Canucks players had just gotten into the arena and were preparing for their game the next day. Therefore, we were unable to see the Canucks’ dressing room. However, we were able to see another dressing room instead. This locker room was also the Vancouver Grizzlies locker room when they played in the NBA from 1995 to 2001. As a huge basketball fan, I found this really cool.  Unfortunately, the tour seemed too short for me. I would have really liked it if we could have seen the Jim Robson Broadcast booth. After years of listening to the Canucks’ broadcasts on the radio, I would have appreciated a chance to see the broadcast room. Despite all that, this tour was very important to me considering I am a currently an event volunteer at the Interior Savings Centre.

My favourite activity during our field trip was going to Grouse Mountain to go ziplining, because it is something I had never done before and was very interested in trying it. We took the Sea Bus to Lonsdale Quay and then a bus to Grouse Mountain. I really enjoyed the Sea Bus because I had never been on it before and I always wanted to see what it was like. When we got to Grouse Mountain, we took the gondola up to the top. This was also a good experience as we got to see the city of Vancouver from another perspective. I found it interesting how it was a nice day in the city, but it was snowing quite hard at the top.
Ziplining was one of my many highlights of our trip to Vancouver. Our instructors were very knowledgeable and well trained on what to do when we were on the course and made me feel safe.  I was nervous at first and was thankful that the instructors were able to help me relax. More importantly, the instructors were very cautious and demonstrated safety first throughout our lesson. Ziplining is a fast paced activity where you are harnessed in and hooked up to a line that takes you down at a speed that rivals a roller coaster in my opinion. There were three small courses that we got to go down on. After the Ziplining, our instructor arranged for me to ride on a snow mobile down to the lodge. This was very professional of them as it was a good hike to the lodge and would have been very hard for me as the mountain was super icy for me.

Culinary Experience
Our first group dinner was at La Bodega. I really enjoyed the restaurant because it gave us a variety of different foods for us to nibble on. I would have like to order a main courses instead of sharing appetizers because while some people eat fast, I like to take more time when eating. My favorite food was the chicken wings. In fact, they were so good that I wish they served more. For instance, when they served the chicken wings, they went really fast because everyone likes them. In contrast, there were less people interested in the salad. In other words, it felt like we had too much. Aside from the food, the servers were really good as we got our drinks in a timely matter. Another highlight from La Bodega was when we were walking towards the restaurant, Kalvin and I walked into Krzysztof Orman. Krzysztof was another Sport Event Management student that Kalvin and I got to know really well last year. Krzysztof was invited to dinner with us and it was great to catch up with him, as I hadn’t seen him in a very long time. He is now working in Vancouver in the industry, so that was very encouraging for me.

Personal Reflection
I thought the value of the trip was exceptional. Because we walked to the majority of our events, we were able to feel comfortable with the city and familiarize ourselves with the major streets. I thought we had a very good mix of professional meetings, fun activities and free time. Fly Over Canada was a really good thing to experience because it reminded us how fortunate we are to live in such an amazing country.  Most importantly, the field trip was a good chance to see what jobs that are open to us after we finish our degree or diploma. Previously, I was not aware of the large assortment of jobs available in the Tourism field and how much effort goes on behind the scenes.
Also, I found this a very good bonding experience with my classmates. Most of us are quite busy during the semester as we try to balance our school life and our work life. It is often very hard to get together outside of school to hangout and get to know one another. Therefore, it was really nice to hangout with classmates that I usually wouldn’t get a chance to if we were at school in Kamloops.

 For future trips, I would suggest looking into going to Seattle or Whistler. I would recommend Seattle because it’s a different culture and we would be able to do a lot of similar things on a bigger scale. For instance, it would be very interesting if we got to tour an NFL stadium because Vancouver will never be in a position to have its own NFL team. Unfortunately, this might be a tough trip to pull off if there are a number of international students in the class. I would also suggest Whistler because I think it would be cool to see what tourism looks like on a smaller scale. If the field trip remains in Vancouver, I would want the class to take in a Whitecaps game. A Whitecaps game is the best value for your money for a sports event in Vancouver. I would be interested to know what types of challenges the Whitecaps marketing staff face while involved in a sport where the best players in the world are playing in other continents.

         I appreciated staying at the Four Seasons Hotel.  It was good to see the high standards that are set by the Four Seasons as it helps to prepare us for what it will take when we get a job in the industry.  The collection of experiences has helped me to better understand the scope of the Tourism industry and where I feel I do and don’t belong.