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Haggis, Irn Bru and Bad Homburg - a winning combination

the success of two Glasgow Metropolitan College students was toasted in neat Irn Bru in Bad Homburg, Germany, on Tuesday night. As winners of the UK 2006 Aldo Papone Award for excellence in travel and tourism education, HND students Harriet Tole and Linzi MacIntosh presented their winning cultural tourism case study to an international audience at a conference organised by the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership.

Their interactive Scottish Culture Presentation, which offers a taste of haggis and Irn Bru, also introduced the audience to the delights of Scottish country dancing and the poetry of Robert Burns.

The assembled travel and tourism lecturers and students from around the world, including Brazil, Jamaica, South Africa and Hong Kong, learned about Scottish symbols, festivals and castles in the 45-minute presentation which looks at traditions, locations and ancestral tourism.

"Focusing on ancestral tourism and clan history is important because this is what draws so many North American tourists to Scotland," says Linzi.

"We make use of photographs of places like Edinburgh Castle and Loch Ness because for many they are iconic images of Scotland and they allow us to talk about events like the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Highland Games, which are seen as part of Scotland's mystique."

Schools and colleges throughout the UK were given the challenge of developing a travel and tourism case study based on cultural tourism.

Glasgow Metropolitan travel and tourism lecturer Lin Wilkinson, says:

"Although you can have almost a year to prepare your entry, Linzi and Harriet put theirs together in two months, which is a great achievement."

"Going to Bad Homburg was an added bonus, an experience, and a fantastic opportunity for students from around the world to swop ideas. It's about cross-cultural exchange and citizenship, about developing and sharing transferable skills in what is, after all, a global industry."

The annual award is given by the Springboard Charitable Trust which promotes careers in travel and tourism and supports teachers and students in the delivery of the industry-related qualifications.

"What appealed to the judges about Harriet and Linzi's case study was the way they had gone about representing the true culture of Scotland in an innovative and entertaining way," says John Humphreys, Springboard's development director.

The presentation goes through the letters of Scotland (S = Scottish culture, C = castles, and so on), tying this into a calendar of events ranging from January's Burns Supper to December's Hogmanay. The T in "tradition" stands for, among other things, traditional music: traditional in the widest sense as the presentation includes The Proclaimers' "Five Hundred Miles" alongside Runrig's "Loch Lomond", as well as a more sedate Skye Boat Song.

This musical interlude also allows the haggis-fed audience to nibble on some shortbread and whisky tablet in order to gain the necessary sugar rush for the final flourish - a wee bit of country dance.

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