For half a decade now, University of Ghana Business School (UGBS) has offered its final year marketing students the chance to practically put the things they learn in the lecture halls to the test through the Destination Marketing and Exhibition.
Also known as Destination Legon, the programme is to further enhance students’ understanding of marketing through destination marketing and promotion. Over the years the project has explored different ways by which students can market tourist destinations and attractions.
Last year’s event for instance looked at re-purchase, where students were to think through how they could resell the destinations or attractions to people. In an ever-dynamic world of marketing, where needs and demands are created, students were tasked to conceptualize a way of making sure the tourist would visit and visit again. So the challenge last year was how to encourage revisits and repurchase after the first purchase.
The fifth edition this year will focus on the use technology to market destinations and attractions.
In an interview with www.voyagesafriq.com lecturer at UGBS and co-convener of Destination Legon, Dr. Kobby Mensah said this year’s edition would require students to think through their projects scientifically and technologically, using digital innovations to market and sell destinations to prospective tourists.
“This particular year, we are focusing on digital tourism; we’re saying that the space of digitization is big now, we have a lot of industries and sectors applying technology, we have Fintechs, that is, Financial Technologies becoming one of the disruptive innovations within the financial space. Of course in tourism also, there is a huge part that technology is playing in the tourism space.
“So in tourism marketing we’re saying that we’ve got to find a way of introducing technology into the marketing of the tourism products and services and therefore this year’s focus is on digital tourism and we are actually looking forward to do is to see how we can apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies into marketing tourist attractions and destinations. What we are looking forward to do is very innovative and creative products and services within that space.” he reiterate
Destination Legon seeks to ensure that students have the required skills to apply it when they go into the world of work and also understand the concept of branding and relate it to tourism in marketing. And with the focus on digital tourism this year, Dr. Kobby avers that everyone can look forward to the unleashing of creativity from participating students.
He said: “One of the significant things that you will find, that my students are working on is about virtual tour guide so you expect to have an app on your phone and then wherever you go within a particular radius that app can actually tell you the significant tourist attraction in that space, they can give you the history and everything that you expect from that particular area.”
He added that, “Not only my students, but we also expect students from archeology, they have fantastic findings and also we’re looking at how we can actually embed technology into the archeological space.’’
Dr. Kobby said the long-term goal of Destination Legon is to grow it to become the platform which critical skillset can be developed and to identify and discover young talents within the tourism space.
Whereas the programme is yet to realize this potential, Dr. Kobby believes it is at the moment the “baby” ITB, World Travel Market, Indaba and the Magical Kenya Travel Expo of tourism and travel trade shows. Destination Legon 2018 comes off on the 27thApril at the University of Ghana Business School.