Recreation & Tourism Field School to Costa Rica

Recreation & Tourism Field School to Costa Rica
(VIU Heart of Gold Project)

Program Overview
Field School Dates: May 1 - May 20, 2018


This study tour focuses on VIU’s ‘Heart of Gold’ Community Empowerment Project in rural Costa Rica, and provides hands-on/real-world experience with agro- and eco-tourism as sources of economic diversification for small-scale farming communities. In follow up to the prerequisite TRMT 391a course, application of models of community based planning, sustainable livelihoods development, and critical issues in tourism development will be explored in the field.

This study tour provides students with opportunities to (a) apply the skills and knowledge they have gained within the VIU Recreation and Tourism Program in a real-world setting and (b) help enhance and further the Heart of Gold Project’s goals. Students will also engage in participant observation and may be engaged in  other qualitative research at the ‘Heart of Gold’ Project’s primary study site in the Los Santos Region during the 10 day ‘Sky to Sea’ Eco-tourism Trekking Tour (created and delivered by the project’s partner organization the ‘Farm and Agro-tourism Association of Los Santos’ (FAALS). Students will also explore issues related to diversifying small-scale farming economies, eco- and agro-tourism development, and livelihood sustainability in the field.

Desired Learning Outcomes
At the completion of the study tour, learners will be able to:
• Outline and fully explain how well their pre-study tour motivations for participating in the study and their and learning intentions were met during the study tour
• Apply models of community development to the ‘Heart of Gold’ Project and the FAALS cooperative.
• From a critical analysis perspective, evaluate and assess volunteer tourism as experienced during the study tour.
• Employ their professional skills and study tour learning to help further the goals of the Heart of Gold Project through the design and implementation of a ‘major project task’  identified by the FAALS governance body (e.g., further development of marketing and promotion for the Sea-to-Sky Eco-tour; further development of organic coffee marketing strategies).