This course introduces the concept of tourist experience as an individual and socio-cultural process by relying on the case of Rovaniemi and its Christmas brand. The theoretical part of the course offers insights into the experience economy and Christmas as an organizational phenomenon. In addition to lectures, the course follows a case study approach to identify and evaluate the relationship between the Rovaniemi Christmas brand values and the service offered by local tourism companies. Particular attention will be given to the role of storytelling, gastronomy and Arctic nature in the creation of Christmas experiences. The course is based on a balanced combination of lectures, business cases and workshops.
Why experience economy? One of the fastest growing sectors of the global economy is related to the production and consumption of experiences. This is particularly relevant in tourism and hospitality. Today’s travellers are not just buying services but they have become experience producers and consumers. This new demand for meaningful experiences requires tourism companies and destinations to develop a distinct value-added provision for their services. This is a task that requires managers who have the ability to identify and manage elements that influence the experiences of travellers.
Why Christmas? Christmas is annually celebrated around the world, even in countries which do not have a Christian tradition. Christmas usually involves family gatherings and gift giving. Christmas spending represents around a third of the annual retail turnover in many Western economies. Moreover, Christmas is also a tourism experienced sold all year around. There are several tourism destination which are based on the Christmas theme. Rovaniemi, which has been acknowledged as the official residence of Santa Claus, is one of these places. The number of Christmas theme parks and alike activities will continue to increase in the future.
This course is designed for students who are interested in the production and consumption of tourism experiences. It is recommended for undergraduate students of tourism, hospitality and business studies. Previous studies in experience economy and service marketing are helpful but not required.
Credits: 5 ECTS
Course format and teaching methods
Lectures, course literature and blended learning elements (blogging) as well as visits to tourism companies. Small group assignments in class and at home are designed to make connections between theoretical concepts and the case studies.
By drawing upon the case of Christmas, participants will develop knowledge and skills necessary for supporting the creation of tourism experiences. Upon successful completion of the Christmas Experience Academy the student should be able to:
- recognize the organizational characteristics of Christmas as an economic and socio-cultural phenomenon
- understand the production and consumption of tourism experiences
- recognize the role nature and gastronomy in relation to tourism experiences
- understand how the theories and models related to the experience economy can be used to develop commercial tourism experiences
Means and criteria of assessment
Preliminary assignment (before joining the summer school) and instructions for creating the e-portfolio (e.g. creating a blog). During each day students work on group assignments but each student works on the development of his/her own e-portfolio (e.g. blog). The assessment criteria: Pass/fail: The assessment is based on active participation, group work and presentations, and own e-portfolio.
Sunday 11 August 2019: Arrival · “pre-party” in Hostel Café Koti
Monday 12 August 2019: Introduction to Christmas and Performing Christmas
Focus on indoor activities · Companies involved: Santa Park and VisitRovaniemi
Lecturers: José-Carlos García-Rosell and Philip Hancock
Santa Park elves’ trainers
Get-together and city tour in the evening hosted by VisitRovaniemi
Tuesday 13 August 2019: Experience Economy
Focus on accommodation and hospitality · Companies involved: Hostel Café Koti and Arctic Light Hotel
Lecturers: Minni Haanpää and Teija Tekoniemi-Selkälä
Wednesday 14 August 2019: Nordic Natural Phenomena as Tourism Experiences
Focus on outdoor activities (nature, norther lights, photography and video) Companies involved: Beyond Arctic and Arktikum
Lecturer: Gunnar Þór Jóhannesson
Thursday 15 August 2019: Gastronomy as Tourism Experience
Focus on food and locality · Companies involved: Roka Kitchen & Winebar and Choco Deli
Lecturers: Katrín Anna Lund and Laufey Haraldsdóttir
Eat- and walk – tour with José-Carlos García-Rosell, Minni Haanpää and Maria Hakkarainen
Friday 16 August 2019: Reflections and conclusions
Facilitated by José-Carlos García-Rosell, Minni Haanpää and Teija Tekoniemi-Selkälä
Companies involved: Santa Park
and ArcticTreeHouse Hotel
Farewell dinner in restaurant RAKAS
Please note! The programme is preliminary and may be subjected to changes. All learning activities take place at the premises of the companies involved in the programme.