Siirry sisältöön
Learning Tourism Business in Istanbul
Published : 12.12.2019

A group of Haaga-Helia’s second year tourism students went on a study trip to Istanbul on 4.-8.11.2019 during their first Travel Business Project of their studies. The project’s aim was to create a business itinerary for our group by contacting different tourism related companies and organizations and to arrange meetings and presentations. During our visit to Istanbul we visited Bilgi university and got to know more about their tourism related studies. We had a tour in the 5-star St. Regis hotel, and we went on a walking tour, which covered well known attractions in Istanbul like the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar.


We enjoyed the study trip immensely and we gained valuable information about different aspects of tourism and hospitality. We were amazed by the hospitality of the tourism students of Bilgi University. It was also pleasant to see how Turkish people value tourism. We also noted the Turkish way of trying to compromise and create alternative solutions to problems. This is something we could adopt to Finland as well. In Turkey things can be changed in an instant and everything can be negotiated.

When considering the possibilities of gaining experience and information we thought that Istanbul may not be the best option in Europe, at least when we are considering this from the student’s point of view. Some of us felt like we didn’t quite get everything we wanted from our company meetings. But it serves as one of our learning outcomes that if you want something to be the way you want it, you must actively work for it yourself. Being an active part of the process is important.


The first and foremost of our learning outcomes was just how important the quality of customer service is. You must be able to please your customer with more than just your tangible services. In Turkey many waiters and shop employees came and talked to the customers as soon as they entered the venue, they recommended products and gave advice what to choose. The way they did it was as if they personally knew the customer, unlike our neutral and maybe even a bit objective Finnish customer service.

You must be able to adapt to international customers. In many cases the cultural and behavioural differences between people may hinder the experience. Different cultures have different values and making simple mistakes may trouble the interaction. If we could go beyond our cultural habits and try to serve our customers in the ways, which are familiar to them, we could potentially improve the overall level of satisfaction of our international guests.

Sustainability has not been able to get its full grasp in Turkey. Plastic bags are still in heavy use and other more sustainable bags are yet to be an option when going to a store. When our group asked about how companies were trying to be more sustainable, we were often either misunderstood or they couldn’t really give us a fulfilling answer.

During our study trip we also were in contact with a local destination management company. They helped us in communicating with the local people who didn’t always understand English. A general opinion after the study trip was that whenever someone is creating a busy itinerary or a trip, which includes plenty of different contacts, companies or other activities, you should always be in contact with someone who is a local.