ITHAS 2016: Planning Tourism Development in Emerging Markets

Enthousiastic students of the faculty presenting their ITHAS certificates.
Enthousiastic students of the faculty presenting their ITHAS certificates.


The International Tourism and Hospitality Academy at Sea (ITHAS) took place in 2016 for the eleventh time.

A week-long sea-bound case study of destination management, an international encounter with academic insights, intercultural communication and new bonds of friendship across lots of borders, hard work and great enjoyment: this is ITHAS, the International Tourism and Hospitality Academy at Sea, which was founded in 2005 and held in 2016 for the eleventh time.

ITHAS 2016 was once again hosted by the Faculty of Economics & Business of the University of Zagreb (Croatia). Nevenka Cavlek, our “Queen of ITHAS” planned and organised every detail with absolute perfection, and the cruise was run and generously sponsored by I.D. Riva Tours GmbH (Munich). This year’s route took 89 participants (73 students and 16 teaching staff) to different sites of tourism interest on the Croatian Coast. “Planning tourism development in emerging markets” was the overall topic of the case study module.

A real intercultural adventure
The participating universities were the Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, Croatia; Munich University of Applied Sciences, Department of Tourism, Germany; the University of Haifa, Israel and the Brock University, St. Catharines, Canada. The students were an international mix, all studying in bachelor or master courses of tourism management. Moreover, six delightful Omani participants, employee of the Ministry of Tourism in Oman contributed new insights through their eagerness to discuss and share experience. The academic level was high and the whole ITHAS week was a real intercultural adventure.

The Department of Tourism of the Munich University of Applied Sciences was represented by 25 students and Profs. Patricia East, Burkhard von Freyberg and Ralph Berchtenbreiter. The logistical planning and the smooth running of the itinerary were once again a demonstration of professionalism and operational perfection: the credit goes to Prof. Nevenka Cavlek and the tour operator I.D. Riva Tours.

Starting from Trogir, three old-timer motor-sailing boats took us along the coast to Maslinica (Island of Šolta), Komi?a (Island of Vis), Ubli (Island of Lastovo), Lastovo (Island of Lastovo), NP Mljet, Vela Luka (Island of Kor?ula), Hvar (Island of Hvar), Island Palmi?ana and back to Trogir. The boats were floating hotels with full board, excellent catering, and delightful service, and the ITHAS activities took place both on and off shore.

A high academic level
Lectures and discussions with the guest lecturers on board filled the sailing hours:

  • Professor Jafar Jafari, University of Wisconsin-Stout, USA, lectured on “Sociocultural Traits for Successful Careers in Emerging Tourism Markets”
  • Professor Charles Arcodia, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia, together with Margarida Abreu-Novais from Griffith University, Australia lectured on „The role of events in tourism development in emerging destinations”
  • Professor David Fennell, Brock University, Canada, lectured on „Establishing ecotourism operations in emerging destinations“
  • Professor Larry Dwyer, University of New South Wales, Australia, lectured on “Planning Tourism Development: new ways of thinking for emerging destinations”
  • Professor Yoel Mansfeld and Professor Eli Avraham, University of Haifa, Israel, lectured on „From exclusion to inclusion: the challenge of community centred tourism planning & development”
  • Professor Burkhard von Freyberg and Professor Ralph Berchtenbreiter, Munich University of Applied Sciences, lectured on „Planning Tourism and Hospitality Developments - an offline and digital approach”
  • and last but by no means least, the students from each university gave creative presentations of their home universities and countries plus background information about specific tourism developments - in addition to making active and positive contributions to every aspect of the entire programme.

A varied onshore programme
The onshore programme included visits to historic sites, hikes in national parks, a boot excursion to a unique blue cave, and meetings with representatives of local tourism institutions and other stakeholders. The input from these excursions was rounded up in an afternoon workshop under the guidance of the lecturers to analyse and reflect on the destinations visited and the management insights gained.

The evenings were filled with discussions among students and staff, team building rehearsals for the final evening, and free time to go out and have fun together until the early hours of the morning. We have come home with new friends and deeper understanding of different aspects of tourism promotion and of working internationally. Thank you to everyone who made this week such a success.