Stick to the brief

20th June 2008 at 01:00
The Higher paper was set for the third time this year and continues to improve, according to Kristine Sander, travel and tourism lecturer at Edinburgh's Stevenson College
The Higher paper was set for the third time this year and continues to improve, according to Kristine Sander, travel and tourism lecturer at Edinburgh's Stevenson College.

Questions are becoming shorter and easier to digest, a welcome development since much of Ms Sander's class comes from Eastern Europe. The flipside is that candidates tend to write everything they know, rather than tailoring answers to the more focused questions - so some struggled to finish.

Section A, covering marketing, included a question about helping imaginary company Grampian Genealogy tap into international markets. Ms Sander also puts students through an HNC unit on history, culture and genealogy, so this was an area in which they were well prepared, and had to resist throwing all that knowledge onto the page.

Ms Sander appreciated setters' sly humour in Question 4, in which candidates had to market a fictional Borders restaurant, the Port Sonsie Inn - a reference to Robert Burns's poem, To a Haggis.

Section B, on Scottish tourism, asked candidates to plan a six-day itinerary for a Spanish visitor, including an industrial heritage attraction such as a distillery, a castle or historical monument, a natural feature and a man-made attraction. Again, the temptation was to list all the places they knew rather than sticking to the brief.

International tourism was covered in Section C, including a blank world map on which Sweden, the River Nile and the Iguazu Falls (below) had to be identified, and candidates were asked to come up with an adventure holiday in a long-haul destination.

Ms Sander thinks the rigour of the Higher provides an excellent way into tourism, and hopes the low numbers of candidates across Scotland - 97 were due to sit the exam this year - do not endanger its future.

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