China · 22 Days · 44 Moments · June 2017

Greetings from China!

24 June 2017

Based on the lecture today, what did you learn about destination marketing on the East vs. Western parts of China? We discussed during the lecture that inbound tourism has increased in more developed areas, particularly the east part of China. Due to advantages, such as transportation, marketing, capital, human resources, and technology, the area is more desired by travelers due to these tourism resources. Although the West is flourished with rich culture and beautiful natural scenery, it is more rural, less populated, and underdeveloped. The Belt and Road Policy has benefited the western area since the 1990s, but an increase in tourism can help solve the problems of minorities more efficiently. To solve the issue, I believe innovation through technology, development of DMOs, and education can help develop the West. However, graduates on the East of China are not as interested to move to the West to pursue a career or help the destination become more marketable.
What are the brand images of all five cities we have visited so far? The brand image of Beijing is centered around the World Heritage Sites. They include the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden city. I also think about how populated the city is and the immense amount of traffic. As for Xi'an, the image is a collective mix of modern and tradition architecture. I think about the bike ride on the city wall that divides the city's historical elements and architecture from outside development in modern technology. Hangzhou is imaged as hidden serene escapes in the bustle of a high rise city. I picture the Gondola ride along the water town of Wuzhen, a scenic area outside from Hangzhou. The brand image for Suzhou is a Chinese garden, much like the one we had visited and enjoyed over small cups of tea with our colleagues. Finally, Shanghai's brand image encompasses a more western metropolitan center, with views like the Bund, Oriental Pearl Tower, and the Shanghai Tower.

23 June 2017

What is the responsibility of tourism to the local culture in the Chinese context? (CC) Throughout our study abroad trip, we discovered many different tourism products that influence a destination economically, socially, or educationally. Of these tourism products, one that strongly impacted my experience were the attractions. They included historical sites like the Great Wall of China, the Terra Cotta Museum, and the Temple of Heaven. There were many other World Heritage Sites that I also found spectacular! The responsibility of tourism is to preserve and protect these historical elements of China. Not only do they attract tourists from around the world and help cities thrive economically, the rich history is an important influence in Chinese culture. With modern day development and innovations, traditional elements and practices of China must not be overlooked.
On your last day in China, discuss your food/snack decisions and how you felt after you ate that particular food (CC) Since it is our last day in China, you would think that one would finish off the trip with a final Chinese meal. Unfortunately, my cravings wanted to do the opposite. After a pleasant morning of sleeping in, I headed to Pizza Hut for lunch with a few girls and it was so fulfilling! Compared to the Pizza Hut in Beijing, this one was very tasteful as it had more cheese! Afterwards, we headed back to Yu Garden to finish up some last minute shopping. There, we snacked on this very unique ice-cream cup that was layered with peach tea and dried ice, giving off the effect of smoke! Being an ice-cream enthusiast, I was very thrilled to experience something so different and fun😆 Although the pizza from earlier made me nostalgic about home, the ice-cream made me think about the yummy foods/snacks we won't have coming home. I hope these ideas can be shared or innovated in the US

22 June 2017

What types of recommendations could you make to destination stakeholders to manage tourist behavior? (DM) Positive tourist behavior is very important to preserve sensitive cultural and historical elements, in respect to art, sanctuaries, and artifacts. That way, all visitors can enjoy the true nature of the elements. When we visited the History of Shanghai Museum in the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, I was shocked to see multiple people going beyond the boundaries to take photos. Modeled elements of the museum were being touched, sat on, or played with. It was shocking and also a little infuriating to see that kind of behavior. In order to control this form of tourist behavior, I would recommend higher security and fines against any form of rule breaking or damage. Having security guards within the facility would be helpful. For international visitors, I also believe there should important signs in prohibited areas in multiple languages. That way many people can understand the rules.
What was the significance of the "ping pong" diplomacy? (CC) In 1971, a simple game of table tennis marked a new chapter in the relations of the American and Chinese people, thawing a diplomatic freeze that had existed for over 20 years! Glenn Cowan, a member of the U.S. ping pong team, had missed his bus to practice. He was then offered a ride by Zhuang Zedong (3 time world champion) on the Chinese team bus. Although it was deemed a crime in China to speak to a foreigner, they conversed with an interpreter, and established a good relationship. Zedong gave the American a silk how by way of a present, and invited the American team to play a friendly championship in China. In return, Cowan gave Zedong a Beetles tshirt. The actions built a strong bond, as later, the Americans were invited back to China for an all expense trip. While Nixon also became the first president to travel to the mainland! The small gesture of gift giving established a powerful relationship between the countries.
Discuss the historical relationship between Suzhou and Shanghai in terms of commerce, education, or other context (CC) After learning about the history of Shanghai from Jeff and the museum at the Oriental Pearl, the relationship with Suzhou contributed towards a more developed culture in terms of commerce. In the Qing dynasty, the ban on maritime trade and intercourse with foreign countries was gradually lifted, enabling Shanghai's geographical advantage in controlling the Huangpu River. This allowed an increase in trade (international and domestic), where the cotton textile industry and large junk transportation became Shanghai's main business. Shanghai become known as "Small Suzhou" and a famous city in the Southeast of China. In history, Suzhou use to be the city of lights and nightlife but with the import of modern civilization, Shanghai leapt to the position as an international metropolis and a cultural center of modern China.

21 June 2017

Shanghai Day #1: First impression of Shanghai as a destination (DM) As we drove into the city of Shanghai, my first impression was the architecture, as skyscrapers and intricately designed buildings lined the city. The art and lighting that decorated the walls were also eye-catching, reminding me of a time I had visited Tokyo. But this city seemed less congested and the flow of traffic was more smooth. Although by the time we headed to dinner, it took us much longer than our estimated travel time. I look forward to the attractions that lay ahead during our stay, as our first stop at the Oriental Pearl TV Tower was an amazing experience! There are a variety of mega attractions to explore as tourists (the pearl tower, Disneyland, the Shanghai Tower, Shanghai World Financial center, etc.) and the atmosphere gives of the "hustle and bustle" vibes like in New York. What I look forward to the most is the Bund! I've seen photos online but I can't wait to experience the view at night!

19 June 2017

During your "time on your own" today, discuss what you have seen which can characterize Suzhou as a tourism destination (DM) We can characterize a tourism destination based on the attractions, cultural/historic sites, cuisines, and many other activities it may provide. During our alone time, we had the freedom to explore a few shops along a canal in Suzhou. They included small boutique stores, food stalls, coffee shops, and even a pet cafe (my personal favorite haha)! These local shops provide tourists to purchase souvenirs while discovering new/exciting cuisines. The atmosphere itself brings you back to an earlier time in Suzhou, from the architecture and lack of modern day facilities. One can experience such beauty through activities such as serene boat rides along the canal. Outside from that particular area in Suzhou, touusit may also enjoy other cultural sites like the Pagoda on tiger hill! Unfortunately, we were not able to climb it due to the weather.
Choose an art/craft which you have seen throughout our time in China & describe how you felt about it (CC) Today in Suzhou we had the opportunity to visit an embroidery museum to learn about the process of the craft, and view a selection of beautiful pieces. I was very impressed with the level of detail and patience that went into creating the finished products. They were unbelievable, especially the two sided pieces, one of which had two different colors (the cat embroidery). I have strong respect for the women who delicately craft the pieces, as a final product could take up to 2-3 years! One of the ladies in the workshop was selected at the age of 15 by the government to practice the art of silk embroideries. It's interesting how young they begin for training and it made me wonder if this was what they really wanted to do. Out of the entire country in China, we learned that only 12 individuals (particularly women) are titled as masters in silk embroideries!
Talk about if you are experiencing overload or fatique and how you might overcome this in your remaining days in China (CC). It has been an amazing opportunity to be a part of UCF's first study abroad program in China. Our days are filled with many activities and plenty of food to enjoy, although at this point, fatigue has started to kick in. It has been a little overwhelming balancing business ( personal responsibilities and school) with pleasure. It is hard to fully embrace the culture and experiences, without the feeling that I am here for school and other obligations in the back of my mind. However, with our remaining days in China, I aim to keep a clear mind on my goals for traveling to the country. And to simply remind myself that if there is an experience or feeling that I miss, it will not be my last time in China. I hope to return to discover more about the beauty in simplicity through art and cuisine, to enhance my ideas for innovation in the hospitality industry.
What is the impact of tourism? (DM) During our time in China, we have experienced the impacts of tourism through social, economic, personal, and educational forms. As we have discovered, one of our favorite activities (besides coffee runs) is shopping! Souvenir shops are available at every museum and attraction we visit. In addition to the street markets filled with foods and other vendors. Economically, this allows areas to flourish financially, as small local businesses are being supported through tourism activities. As for personal, we learned that tourism can impact individuals. For ex. Nikki was inspired to go back to school for her Bachelors degree after meeting us! Without our visit, she may not had considered doing it. Educationally, tourism has impacted the development of hospitality programs at universities. Schools like Zhejiang Uni. are even building an exchange program with UCF to further opportunities. Without tourism, innovation in the educational system would lack.

18 June 2017

From our three university visits so far, identify some instances in which you experienced or observed the effects of long-term orientation (CC). My favorite experiences thus far in our trip has been the university visits,with an exception of the Great Wall of China (haha). I love interacting with other cultures and learning about the educational system in other countries. I really connected with the students at XISU and even exchanged WeChat ids and Instagram accounts to stay in touch.Immediately upon returning to the hotel, my inbox was filled with lovely messages from the girls! I've also observed the effects of long term orientation during our visit at Zhejiang University. I noticed that our professors and hosts exchanged business cards to continue staying in touch, as it was proposed earlier that the school has been working together to create an exchange program with UCF! It displayed the importance of relationship building in Chinese cultural for continued innovation and growth.
What were some intangible tourism products that enhanced your experience at WuZhen? During our experience at WuZhen, there were several intangible tourism products that enhanced my experience. One vivid product was the alley filled with shops and museums after the shadow puppet show. Weaving through the narrow walk-way reminded me of Pontocho St. a popular alley in Kyoto that was located along the Kamogawa River. I would walk the path to get to work everyday! The bustling crowd of people, sounds of shop owners calling you in to buy things, along with the cultural elements like the museums, made me feel nostalgic and discover the beauty of small hidden treasures. Another moment was the gondola ride on the canal. It was simply refreshing to embrace the natural surroundings and architecture, while enjoying small conversations and laughs with my new friends. Although I cannot physically take these experiences with me, the feelings created through these memories will always be cherished.

17 June 2017

What is your opinion of smart hotels based on the presentation today? (DM) The presentation by Amir Ye on data-based innovation in the hotel industry was very impressive! There is so much value in smart hotel data including refinement of hotel management, synchronization to room elements ( air conditioning, water usage, locks, etc.), and delivery of guest requests. All of which is collected as guest preferences to create more personalized experiences. I find this so interesting as we can determine different behaviors like whether a guest is a night owl or early bird, their temperature preferences, or how long they stay in their room. This innovation will be extremely helpful in growth of high end hotels throughout China. A luxury experience is one that creates a "mystique", meaning every element of the stay is flawless throughout its service. The collected information will help enhance customer service, creating personalized connections and relationships, thus developing loyalty.
Regarding power distance as one of Hofstede's cultural dimensions, please give some examples of this cultural protocol based on our meeting with Zhejiang University (CC). We learned through Hofstede's cultural dimensions that power distance is the degree to which less powerful members of society accept that power is distributed unequally. Simply, people understand "their place" in the system. When we visited Zhejiang University, this cultural protocol was apparent during our photo session. It is not or place to stand or face however we want during the photo. I noticed that the higher ups ( the dean or professors) were always placed directly front and center, sometimes in chairs. Another example would be during the break after the smart hotel presentation. Although we knew there were snacks and drinks, we did not "dive in" or get up until our host had suggested we go. It was done out of respect, as it is important follow the host who is in control and guidance of our visit.

16 June 2017

Please discuss the ways in which you've seen ancient and modern China merge together (CC) The balance of traditional and modern China is maintained through its individuals, as everyday practices in architecture and design, beliefs, and historical sites are well preserved. When visiting the city walls, you notice the beauty of traditional Chinese buildings are kept inside the walls. They are lower, have traditional Chinese designs (templed style roofs), and commonly use colors like red, green, blue, and yellow. Outside the walls are modern buildings of high skyscrapers. As for beliefs, practices like traditional Chinese medicine is still used today in the modern world to help provide treatment. When we visited historical sites like the Lama Temple (Beijing) or Sixth Harmony (Hangzhou), they are strongly preserved although modern china is consistently growing around the sacred landmarks. China continues to stay rich within their culture without interruption of modern development.
Reflect on your experience on destination marketing best practices that you have experienced so far (DM) During our travels so far, I noticed that some of the destinations we had visited use very strong marketing tactics to engage guests interactions in buying. These were particularly done in support for local businesses. For example, when we were in Beijing, we had the wonderful opportunity to visit Mr. Zhang's home to listen to his story and career as an artist. The personal experience was followed by a tour of his artwork which was also for sale. This similar marketing process was shown during our tour at the tea valley. As we were in the private dining room, we learned about the benefits of tea, how it is served, and even received a sampling. This was also followed with the opportunity to purchase (with deals). This practice benefits both the tourists and destination, as the tourists receive an experience and the destination receives monetary benefits.

15 June 2017

Hangzhou Day 2: In what ways have you experienced technology across the tourism products in China so far? (DM) Through the attractions we have visited in China so far, there have been different forms of technology used to enhance the customer experience. Two products I had noticed include augmented reality and the use of projections. During the Terra Cotta Museum they had a 360 degree movie about the history, although I wish it was more updated and had stronger projections. It was a little difficult to view. Additionally, the museum also sold really neat augmented reality postcards! After downloading an app, you can view the images in 3D form, tagged with an audio storyline. Other forms of technology include holograms which I noticed during the cuisine museum in Hangzhou. Murals were brought to life with reflections of moving images, similar to the experience from magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion ride with the ghosts! The effects make it feel more realistic.
Hangzhou Day 2: Name 2-3 Chinese social beliefs (i.e. "superstitions") that Bing lectured about this morning (CC). Several of the social beliefs that Bing had explained are entailed in forms of dining etiquette and gift giving. First, he discussed that when you are eating, you should never stick your chopsticks in your bowl vertically. Viewed as disrespectful, it is believed to represent in-scents placed on memorial grounds. As for gifts, you should never give anyone a clock as a present, notably seniors. It implies the rush in timing of age or that death is upon them. It was also mentioned that anything bundled in fours or with the number four is extremely bad luck. The number four, if pronounced with the incorrect tone, sounds like death. It should be avoided at all cost! Through observations, I noticed that the hotels we have stayed at do not have rooms on the fourth floor.

14 June 2017

Hangzhou day 1: Compare the cuisines of Beijing and Xian (i.e. style, cooking methods, proteins, vegetables, etc) (CC). There are a few differences and similarities with the cuisines we've experienced in Beijing and Xi'an in terms of style and types of food. I noticed that a lot of our food in Beijing was stir fried, with a combination of many meats and vegetables. Rice was a compliment to our dishes, but many of the platters were packed with proteins and delicious greens. Surprisingly, I've enjoyed the vegetables more than any other dishes we've had. In Xi'an we had more wheat based products. The items were steamed and some stir-fried. Dishes such as noodles, rice, dumplings, and steamed buns were served more of than in Beijing. For similarities, the cuisine were all served in the same manner and environment. It was community style, round-table arrangements, with exception to the course meal at the theatre in Xi'an. Also, tea was always served with our meals🍵
Hangzhou Day 1: In contrast with Beijing and Xian, what is your first impression of Hangzhou (DM)? When we first arrived to Hangzhou, I was really impressed with how modern the city looked! It kind of reminded me of Brickell, a financial district in Miami. Everything from the architecture, technology, and use of space were built unlike traditional cities we had visited. The buildings were very tall with features such as glass instead of wood or brick. They seemed newly built and well maintained in terms of cleanliness around the surrounding properties. The streets are much more wide, giving off the sensation that the population is smaller and less packed with vehicles. The technology from the street lights, to the use in building designs, and promotional marketing, have all created the sense of modern advancements. However, I hope that Hangzhou will keep a mix of traditional Chinese style without the overpowering features of modernity.

13 June 2017

Day 4 Xian: What did you observe or learn during the cultural university exchange at XISU (CC)? I had the pleasure to meet Susan and Cathy, two sophomores from XISU studying hospitality management. We discussed our school schedules where I learned that we are given much more flexibility to create our classes. The students at XISU have ten classes during the week from 8 am-6 pm. As we talked about plans for the future, I noticed that they weren't too familiar with hotel brands outside from their city. Nor other opportunities available to further expand their professional career, for example the MIT programs through companies like Marriott and Four Seasons. I learned that the lack of information may be due to the idea that the girls really didn't want to study hospitality. Their wasn't much of a choice as they didn't get into their desired majors. I hope they find a passion for hospitality to further drive themselves to learn more about what the industry has to offer.
Day 4 Xian: Why is the Muslim street a "must see" attraction for both domestic and foreign visitors?(DM) The Muslim street is a must see attraction for domestic and foreign tourists, as it provides an experience rich with history and delight. The streets are filled with many vendors selling souvenirs and so much food! It provides foreigners the experience to immerse in different and creative types of snacks/cuisine, while viewing how they are made. While domestic tourists can purchase authentic products from their hometown. In addition to the food, there are a variety of souvenirs to purchase as gifts, although there is a lot of bargaining involved. Domestic tourists probably don't have to worry about that though (haha). Outside from the shopping and food, there is also a historic site to visit called the Great Mosque of Xi'an (Largest mosque in a china). Located in the Muslim quarter, the courtyard complex is a popular site for tourists to pray or simply enjoy the environment.

12 June 2017

Xi'an Day 3: what has been your most challenging cultural and/or food experience so far? What have you done, or what will you do to overcome these challenges? (CC) Before I left for the trip, I did not have many concerns about the food as I love to try everything! I feel like to fully immerse in a culture, you should be curious to discover new things, one of which is cuisine. Everything I have tried so far has been delicious and completely different from my first impression of Chinese food in the states. It is less greasy, more flavorful, and extremely healthy! My only challenge with the food has been digesting it. I was too quick to jump into trying everything, so now I take my time and eat more vegetables and less meat. I will continue to eat in that pattern until my stomach feels more controlled. Drinking a lot of water and eating fruit has helped as well. Once I overcome it, I will take more risks with the meat again I also hope to try very exotic street market cuisines!
Xi'an Day 3: Most memorable experience in Xi'an and what tourism products helped to create this experience (DM) My most memorable experience in Xi'an thus far is the terra-cotta warriors museum. I remember seeing photos and reading documentaries about the warriors, dreaming to one day visit and see it for myself. It was an absolutely surreal moment to finally experience the collection of terra-cotta sculptures! The first pit was composed with real figures (over 1,000) depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor in China. I was impressed with how detailed and well preserved the pieces were. And to see the process of rebuilding warriors with missing fragments, almost like a puzzle! The experience would not had been this memorable without the following tourism products: The museum and attraction itself, the tour with Sally organized with their company, and the array of souvenir shops where I have bought gifts to take home for friends and family❤️

11 June 2017

Day 7 Xi'an: What are some characteristics of Chinese hospitality (DM) Chinese hospitality is well represented from the moment we step place into a new establishment, whether it is a restaurant, hotel, or other facility. We are warmly greeted at the front door with smiles and small bows. As we are being served, I noticed that our table is always prepared ahead of time and later arranged with many dishes to satisfy our empty stomachs. There is no shame in leaving our dishes unfinished, as we had learned that it is a compliment! Gift giving and sharing has also been an apparent characteristic of Chinese hospitality. For example, Nikki would bring water bottles (out of pocket) understanding we were students and she wanted to make sure we stayed hydrated. We were also spoiled with delicious flour cakes from Simmi and apples from Dr. Wei's father! These small forms of hospitality has made the trip much more memorable and something to cherish when I return back to the states.

10 June 2017

Day 7 Xi'an In what ways did we honor our hosts (give face) today? Also you can comment on the lovely meal;) (CC) Upon our arrival to the resort hotel, we greeted the manager and hosts with warm smiles and a hand shake to show our gratitude for the invitation . We were led inside to a beautiful dining room, set with delicate dishes! Not only were they lovely to look at, but all the dishes were so delicious. I tried almost everything they had prepared for us! We honored our hosts by giving toasts for the wonderful hospitality and compliments on the amazingly, crafted food. We ate as much as we could, leaving a few dishes unfinished, showing how much it was enjoyed and that it was plenty for our group. This is a dining experience I will never forget, as the food was some of the best I have ever ate. Beautifully prepared and tasted as amazing as it looked. Upon our departure, we all showed our appreciation by giving thanks through gestures like handshakes and waves as the bus left.
Day 6 Beijing Provide some evidence of "collectivism" you have seen so far in China. There are several forms of collectivism that I have noticed in China, particularly during our dining experiences. All our dishes are placed on a rotating disks, eliminating the sense of rush or individualism. It shows us that we must be patient and caring for others, as rotating the disk too fast may prevent someone else from grabbing what they want. Additionally, the round table seating creates an environment to socialize! It is a place to gather and eat together, while creating fond memories. Also, I really appreciate the sense of togetherness throughout our travels, displayed through the kind hospitality from our tour guide, Nikki! Whenever we departed as a group, Nikki always made sure that everyone was together. We didn't leave anyone and she stayed mindful of everyone's needs. She even bought a train ticket to make sure we made it on the train safely and as a whole group.
Day 6 Beijing What have they well and what could be improved for Western tourists in terms of destination marketing and management? (DM) From the moment we arrived in Beijing, they have done a great job with communication and transportation. A lot of the signs we see are in English, making it simple to navigate throughout public facilities. The transportation, particularly the subway, is also convenient and accessible for tourists. The maps and intercom on the subway are all translated into English! If there are a few things that could be approved, they would be easier accessibility for people with disabilities and consistent translations in common facilities. For example, when we arrived at the train station for Xian, everything was written in Mandarin. We really couldn't understand how to read the schedule, nor navigate without Dr. Wei leading. With English translations, it would be easier for tourists to become more active in exploring other forms of transportation.

8 June 2017

How have your interactions with your fellow group members influenced your experience so far (i.e co-creation) (DM). The selection of students for the study abroad program is very unique. I've learned throughout our interactions the amount of diversity in the form of lifestyle, ethnicity, and age within our group. To name a few, we have some students with disabilities, others who are international, different gender groups, and a range of travel experiences. This variety within our group has influenced how I view destination management for tourists. Through observations and interactions, you notice the different challenges that impact the group in forms of accessibility, language, and adaptation to cultural differences in food, transportation, natural environment (air quality) and more. It opens my mind on how one can improve areas to make the experience less challenging for foreigners. Particularly, how can we provide easier accessibility for people with disabilities?

7 June 2017

2. Please describe your journey up the Great Wall (CC). Our journey to the Great Wall of China began with a scenic drive through a meandering road surrounded with beautiful, lush mountains. As we arrived to the entrance of the Great Wall, we started the climb on the North side which apparently would lead to one of the highest points of the wall. The climb was a very exhausting hike, as areas on the wall were very steep, involved a lot of stairs, and it was packed with many other tourists. As we climbed,I really appreciated the railings that they had built in to make the hike easier,although I was still exhausted on my way up. I was really intrigued with the beauty behind the wall, and to be able to climb such a monumental piece.From the stones to the architectural style, every little detail was amazing to discover and it made my hike much more meaningful. I didn't make it to the highest point, but as I moved further up, the view was absolutely stunning! I will never forget the moment.
Identify some tourism products today, what/how can they create a memorable experience? (DM) The tourism products in destination management may include attractions/site seeing areas, the food, people, activities, cultural festivities, shopping and many more. From our experiences on Day 4, the tourism products we visited included The Great Wall of the China, the Summer Palace, the Jade museum, all the shopping venues and souvenir shops, along with the Chinese restaurants we had for lunch and dinner. In order to create a memorable experience,the product must make one feel special. This may be by providing an experience that completely "wows" a person, whether it's through the rich culture, activities it may provide, or scenic environment. For example, The Great Wall of China is not only a stunning series of fortifications, but it is a very historical piece and a world wonder!You can hike up the wall, enjoy a scenic view,while embracing the history behind the delicate and reserved piece.

6 June 2017

What did you learn today at BISU that made the biggest impression. Why did you learn this? (CC) At BISU we had the opportunity to learn about Chinese medicine and well-being by Dr. Lei. It was absolutely intriguing to hear about the history of TCM (Trad. Chinese Medicine), what it may be used for, how it is prepared, the different forms of diets, and theories behind the practice. The theory of maintaining balance through Ying and Yang was most fascinating to me, as oppositions are evenly matched to level out. For example, particular foods are delicately paired to create harmony in the form of good health. We learned all of this to open our minds to different cultural practices, which may then be applied to our lives for better health! It shows that there is not just one permanent or correct way of doing things. There are many paths of your choosing one can take to achieve the same results. For example, one may choose TCM as a more organic approach to illnesses vs western medicine.
From an educational perspective, what can be done to improve the marketing and management of a destination? (DM) A good education with vast opportunities plays an important role in establishing future leaders. In improving marketing and management of a destination (China), we can begin by building strong foundations for students that can help them expand their ideas and empower innovation. During or Q&A session with BISU students, we learned that their college curriculum is much different in terms of class selection, flexibility, and admittance. Providing more specialized courses (destination marketing as mentioned) instills new ideas for students. Also, rather than having a set schedule, flexibility in choosing courses can empower a student to focus on aspects they are most interested in. Learning about what you strongly desire can inspire/encourage individuals to be fully engaged. Thus, creating new and powerful ideas as future leaders to improve the hospitality sector in China.

5 June 2017

2. What are one or two cultural behaviors you have witnessed so far? (CC) Some of the main cultural behaviors I have witnessed are during our meals, particularly how the food is served and the dining etiquette. And of course, the different selection of dishes and cuisine! Unlike the U.S, I noticed that the desserts are served on the table with the entrees, followed by soup towards the end. Typically we eat soup as appetizers and save the sweets for last. It is quite refreshing, as the soup kind of flushes out everything you had just ate. I also noticed that they never use additional utensils outside from a chopstick and soup spoon. I appreciate the simplicity of the dishes, as the food is prepared in smaller sizes making it easy to enjoy and digest. Lastly, the rotator that the dishes are placed on is really significant. Not only is it for accessibility, but it teaches you patience and caring for others. You can't fight for whatever dish you want and must wait for others to finish.
Identify the Stakeholders. How did they work together? (DM) The stakeholders during our trip define Destination MGT, as their positions play a role in maintaining tourism and attractions in China. They all worked together to create the enriched experiences travel enthusiasts seek abroad. We met Nikki, a local from Beijing who led our entire itinerary! Her knowledge made our travel feel very personalized, as she connected us with other locals in historic locations. First was the 798 Art Zone filled with specialized shops from city artists. It was followed by a Rickshaw tour with Victor, another local who instilled visualizations of the period of the ROC with his rich story telling. He introduced us to Zhang, an artist living in the corridors of small woven streets who opened his home to introduce his life and artwork. I learned that strong business relationships amongst locals help create memorable experiences for tourist, thus enhancing the value of returning to the destinations.
How were today’s Chinese meals different from those you’ve had in the US? (CC) The main difference I noticed from today’s meals were the taste! The moment I took a bit into any dish we have experienced here, you can taste the natural sensations infused from the fine ingredients and technique they must use to form the dish. Everything tasted much more fresh! The steamed buns for example were perfect in consistency and texture and definitely not frozen prior to serving! It is a feeling that you cannot replicate in the United States. Also, some of the dishes that I have tried there feel packed with MSG and heavy oils. As a result, I feel very exhausted and bloated, whereas the dishes here made me feel lighter and slightly more energetic. Lastly, the scents from the food didn’t really stick to my clothes. Sometimes after leaving a Chinese restaurant at home, the smoke in the air would stick onto my clothes and I would end up changing outfits or even showering.
#2 Any cultural differences/similarities FSS3008 (PT 1) The main cultural differences I faced during my first day in the city was the cuisine and dining atmosphere. The day was started at the breakfast venue in the hotel, where we were surrounded with an array of different foods! Foods that I would never consider eating for breakfast. For example, they had sushi, steamed vegetables, noodle bowls, pork buns, and sweets like bread pudding. Everyone was super delicious though and fueled us for the rest of our journey! As we embarked to several destinations using the subway, a similarity I noticed was how the public metros operated like the ones in Washington D.C. and during my time in Japan. Convenient, easily accessible, and cost efficient! Everyone was very polite and calm when entering or exiting the train. (CONT'D IN PT 2)
#2 Any cultural differences/similarities FSS3008 (PT 2) As we left the subways, I noticed that there were a lot of underground shopping plazas. At Wafunjing, we stopped for a late lunch where small eateries were conveniently located outside the stop. I thought that was interesting! The level of service was another difference I noticed. In the restaurant, we dined at, the servers were not as attentive and we didn’t have to worry about tipping either.
#1 First impressions of China as a destination coming from airport (HFT4561) PT. 1 Upon arrival, my first impression was how easy it was to navigate through the airport as a foreigner. English was throughout the facility and we could quickly depart to the hotel with clear direction and no issues finding our luggage. Everyone was very approachable and willing to help, as there were a few moments of confusion in how to arrange a taxi. During our travel to the hotel, I was very appreciative and shocked that the highway signs were also translated in English! As a foreigner, the new destination felt very inviting, warm, and helpful because they had established English almost everywhere we visited today. (CONT'D in PT. 2)
#1 First impressions of China as a destination coming from airport HFT4561 PT 2 Because we arrived early, Mareya and I decided to do some sightseeing on our first day! We went to the Beijing Zoo, Lama Temple, and ended the day at Wafunjing Market for a late lunch. We decided to step out of our comfort zone and use the public metro. With much guidance from the concierge team, we felt confident to wander without the use of Wi-Fi and stick to the maps they provided us. Of course, our journey was filled with a few mishaps but it was a learning process. We had to talk to so many strangers and people-watch to find our way around. A few challenges included how to cross a walkway with so much traffic, purchasing train tickets, how to behave in a Buddhist temple, and getting lost in the subway. Overall, my biggest impression of China as a destination was the willingness and kindness of local people who we had approached for help. And how accessible it was to navigate throughout the city.

4 June 2017

Beijing we're ready for you! #dayone
4:33 AM View from my room in our hotel in Beijing. Why am I up so early? My body is having a hard time adjusting from our long journey. After a long 6 hour layover in Toronto and the 14 hour flight to China, we are finally here! We took a taxi to get to the hotel and completely passed out in the back seat. But I fought to stay awake.. I had my google maps opened to ensure our driver wasn't ripping us off! Haha #touristprobs 😓😄