Due to COVID-19, the traditional introductory excursion for the first-year students of the Bachelor’s program in Tourism & Hospitality Management to an Austrian tourism destination was carried out on a voluntary basis this year. In compliance with all safety and hygiene regulations, around 45 students spent exciting days in Schladming from September 22-25, 2021.
Already on the way to Schladming, a stopover in Liezen was on the agenda. Owner and TM graduate Christian Riedrich welcomed us in his Subway outlet “SUB320” in Liezen. Besides a warm welcome and culinary delicacies he gave an insight into his interesting career and the management of his company.
Wednesday began with an exciting lecture by Sabrina Nagl, Marketing Manager of Schladming-Dachstein Tourismusmarketing GmbH on the tourism structures of the region and the work of a destination management organization. Afterwards, an excursion to the Planai, Schladming’s local mountain, awaited the students. Together with Markus Zeiringer, Head of Marketing of Planai-Hochwurzen-Bahnen GmbH, and Bettina Vettori, Project Manager for Hopsiland, they took the cable car up to 1,800 m above sea level to the Schafalm. There, the students were given an insight into the product development, conception, implementation and further development of the summer family offer “Hopsiland”, a presentation on the marketing of Planai-Hochwurzen-Bahnen-GmbH and inputs on the event location Schafalm from Event Manager Mario Egger. After lunch with local delicacies on the sun terrace of the Schafalm, the afternoon was all about inclusion. Thomas Gruber, Deputy Sports Director of Special Olympics Austria, gave the students an understanding of the impressive success story of Special Olympics with a great deal of passion and enthusiasm and also demonstrated the relevance of major sporting events for tourism.
On Thursday, the group set off early for a visit to the Dachstein UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a 10-minute ascent to an altitude of almost 3,000 meters above sea level, the students were greeted by Ernst Schnepfleitner, Operations Manager of the Dachstein Gletscherbahnen, who provided many interesting information on the gondola and operating facilities on the Dachstein. Exciting behind the scenes insights and visits to the attractions on the mountain, such as the suspension bridge, skywalk, ice palace and staircase to nowhere provided for great memories and the necessary adrenaline kick.
The group had lunch at the Mandlberggut in Radstadt. In the innovative family business with coffee house, store and distillery, homemade breads and juices were served. During the subsequent tasting, the students were introduced to the company and the distilling process. Back at the accommodation, the JUFA Schladming, a more intensive examination of the hotel industry and the concept of JUFA hotels was on the agenda.
Saturday morning was used for an excursion to the Hochwurzen to get to know the concept of the summer sports offer mountain go-karting. Afterwards the guests returned to Vienna enriched by many impressions.