Adventure tourism course for Polytech

The Otago Polytechnic's Central Campus will soon be one of a handful of places around the world offering a management degree majoring in adventure tourism.

The adventure tourism management major for its bachelor of applied management degree will be the only qualification of its type in the southern hemisphere, polytech chief executive Phil Ker said yesterday.

"Otago Polytechnic, and in particular the Central Campus, has a strong association with adventure tourism in the region, and it made sense to launch this programme in the heart of New Zealand's adventure tourism region.

"Our history with the industry means we can call on some of the most experienced tutors and instructors to help deliver the programme.''

Mr Ker said as the industry matured, the polytech had identified a greater need for skilled and knowledgeable graduates who understood the unique requirements of the industry.

The programme will be delivered by CrossLearningNZ, which has teamed up with the polytech to provide a pathway for students into the adventure tourism management major.

CrossLearning NZ founder and managing director John Cossens, of Wanaka, said he had been involved in developing the qualification, which was "a couple of years in the making to get to this point''.

"I think it's a fantastic idea and probably long overdue, considering the importance of adventure tourism to this country.

"And Central Otago is the home of adventure tourism so it's the ideal base for this, and what could be better than a home-grown degree?''

Dr Cossens said there was a similar qualification in the northern hemisphere, in the United Kingdom and in Canada, but nothing in the southern hemisphere.

"This fits neatly under the applied management degree. To go through that pathway you have a whole lot of tourism and business papers and now you'll be able to specialise in adventure tourism.''

Risk management and the new health and safety regulations would be among the topics covered in the new qualification, he said. Initially, the major would be delivered online. It would appeal to school leavers and to those already working in the adventure tourism industry, because of its flexibility.

"They'll be able to fit it around work, family and lifestyle.''

Up until now, there had been no options for students who wanted to carry on and do a degree majoring in adventure tourism.

The programme will begin at the start of next year. Students will be able to access the programme through various avenues, including Capable NZ.

The adventure tourism management major will also be offered as a graduate diploma qualification.

lynda.van.kempen@odt.co.nz

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