Tourism Research Paper Ideas For Teachers

Kim in Xian, China having fun!

Teaching Traveling: Are you a teacher who wants to travel for free or very little money? Massachusetts teacher, Kim Young, has a GIANT list of amazing resources for you! Kim, tell us more about your background.

Kim: Traveling has often felt more natural to me than staying at home, and my first international experience was studying abroad in France in 5th grade. Teaching World History in Weston, Massachusetts for last twelve years has allowed me to infuse my passion for traveling into my curriculum through designing lesson plans to expand my students’ global competence. While I have organized student travel and exchange programs in the past, I travel primarily through grant-funded opportunities designed for teachers. Most recently I spent three months in the Palestinian Territories as part of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program.

Interacting with school children in the Lake Volta region of Ghana.

TT: Amazing! Tell us more about which programs helped you see the world, affordably.

K: Here is a list of different programs I’ve participated in for interested teachers (with most descriptions taken from the program websites):

Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program – Read more about my experience in the Palestinian Territories at this website. This three-six month program bases participants at university-level schools of education. Participants take courses, lead master classes and seminars, visit local schools, collaborate with each other online and in person, and complete an inquiry project of their own design. This program is open to both U.S. and international teachers.

Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminars – Early in my career, a Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminar to Mexico and Peru changed my teaching about the European conquest of the Americas. The program provides short-term summer study and travel seminars abroad for K-12 U.S. educators in the social sciences and humanities for the purpose of improving their understanding and knowledge of the peoples and cultures of other countries. Locations vary year to year.

Detail of a temple at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad (GPA) – One of these group projects allowed me to spend four weeks in Jordan learning about culture, volunteering, and learning Arabic. This program provides short-term summer grants to support overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies for teachers, students, and faculty engaged in a common endeavor. Projects may include short-term seminars, curriculum development, group research or study, or advanced intensive language programs. GPAs are normally sponsored by universities or resource centers and have varying goals and eligibility requirements. GPAs can be hard to locate, but are often announced in the IFLE newsletter.

Teacher for Global Classrooms (TGC) – This program gave me an amazing teaching immersion experience in Chennai, India. Formerly the ILEP program, this is a yearlong professional development opportunity for elementary, middle and high school teachers to become leaders in global education. It includes an 8-week online course, capstone project, symposium, and 2-3 week international field experience. International teachers should apply to the Teaching Excellence and Achievement (TEA) program.

Earth Expeditions – Through this program I got to study Buddhism and Conservation in Thailand with educators from different disciplines. The program consists of seven-credit online-based learning courses (April-December), which include a two-week international field experience. Sponsored by University of Miami of Ohio, this program supports interdisciplinary global learning opportunities in Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Can be done as individual courses or part of a Master’s degree program.

Kim at Machu Picchu in Peru.

Global Competence Certificate – In addition to amazing coursework, this program immersed me in the history and culture of the Afro-Ecuadorian community through a study abroad experience. This is a 15-month online graduate level certificate program administered by Teachers College Columbia University, World Savvy, and Asia Society. The program focuses on various aspects of teaching and learning as related to global competence and includes a two-week summer international field experience.

Turkish Cultural Foundation Study Tour – This program helped me to improve my teaching of the Ottoman Empire through the use of primary sources and hands-on artifacts. It is a program for middle and high school teachers combining in-person teacher professional workshops and a two-week field experience in Turkey. It is administered by the Turkish Cultural Foundation and the World Affairs Councils of America. Seek our your local WACA for application information.

Korea Society Fellowships – This program greatly improved the presence of Korea in my World History curriculum. Spring, summer, and fall programs are offered of varying lengths and eligibility. The Korea Society aims to further develop the teaching of Korea in K-12 schools across the U.S, thereby enhancing the overall curricula. The Fellowships provide a unique opportunity for participants to develop a critical and engaging eye into modern day Korea while maintaining proper perspective on the nation’s rich history.

Visiting a Buddhist Temple in Bangkok, Thailand.

Primary Source – I traveled to Ghana and along China’s Silk Road with this amazing organization. Primary Source study tours are designed to deepen educators’ knowledge of the world so that they are better able to enhance cultural understanding in their classrooms and communities. Participants travel with other educators who share a passion for world history and cultural exchange.

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes and Seminars – Through this program, I spent four weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico. Each year, NEH offers tuition-free opportunities for school, college, and university educators to study a variety of humanities topics. Stipends of $1,200-$3,900 help cover expenses for these one- to five-week programs. Both domestic and international opportunities have been offered in the past, but international funding for future programs is questionable.

Teaching a professional development workshop to Social Studies teachers in Chennai, India on 21st Century Learning.

While I haven’t participated in the following programs, they are ones I’ve heard of (again, most descriptions taken from program websites):

Fund for Teachers – Fund for Teachers enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the globe that will have the greatest impact on their practice, the academic lives of their students and on their school communities.

Japan-US Teacher Exchange Program for ESD – A fully-funded opportunity to travel to Japan to learn about ESD efforts and strengthen ESD curricula in both countries. ESD is “a vision of education that seeks to balance human and economic well-being with cultural traditions and respect for the earth’s natural resources,” according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Educators’ Study Tour to Japan – Sponsored by the Japan Society, the Educators’ Study Tour to Japan offers educators nationwide the opportunity to travel to Japan for three weeks to experience Japan first hand and bring their experiences back to the class?room. The program is open to middle and high school classroom teachers, librarians and school administrators (principals, as?sistant principals and department chairs only).

National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellows – This opportunity is designed to give current K-12 classroom teachers and informal educators from the 50 U.S. states, Canada, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico the opportunity to extend Grosvenor’s legacy of excellence in geographic education. Through the program, exemplary educators are recognized for their commitment to geographic education and are given the opportunity to be actively engaged in finding new ways to bring geographic awareness to their classrooms or informal learning environments through a field-based experience.

Keizai Koho Center Teacher Fellowship – The Keizai Koho Center (Japan Institute for Social and Economic Affairs) in cooperation with the National Association of Japan-America Societies (NAJAS) sponsors a ten-day Fellowship to Japan in the summer for educators in the U.S. and Canada. The Fellowship allows teachers to learn first hand about contemporary Japanese society and enhance their classroom teaching of global perspectives.

Trying on Mayan wedding clothing.

Goethe-Institut Transatlantic Outreach Program – Since 2002, TOP has sought to find the best and most qualified social studies educators and give them the opportunity to experience Modern Germany in the most dramatic way possible: in person.

National Consortium for Teaching about Asia –After completing a NCTA seminar, alumni are eligible to participate in study tours. Here is an example study tour, and this is the newest summer field study in East Asia.

Earthwatch Education Fellowship – Fellowships are available for teachers who are passionate about teaching and interested in conservation, environmental sustainability, and lifelong learning.

The Laurasian Institution – Various programs in China and Japan for students and teachers.

Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) – Founded in 2007, Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has sent over 1300 teachers abroad on adventurous travel programs. GEEO’s trips are 7 to 21 days in length and are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. In addition to amazing tour leaders, many of the programs are accompanied by university faculty that are experts on the destination. GEEO also provides teachers educational materials and the structure to help them bring their experiences into the classroom. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and university educators, administrators, retired educators, as well as educators’ guests.

US-China Education Council (USCEC) – Traveling, teaching, and study opportunities in China.

Joseph J. Malone Fellowship in Arab and Islamic Studies – Since 1984, the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations has provided American professionals in academia, government, and business unparalleled educational experiences in the Arab world. The Fellowship projects its participants into the dynamics of Arab-U.S. relations and provides first-hand exposure to the region’s considerable cultural, economic, political, and social diversity pursuant to increased knowledge and understanding.

Global Learning Fellows – Global Learning Fellows are comprised of Awards for Teaching Excellence recipients, who are nominated by their NEA State Affiliate. In order for an educator to be considered for the program, the State Affiliate should complete this nomination.

Gilder Lehrman Summer Seminars for Teachers – One-week academically rigorous seminars in American History. While most opportunities are domestic, seminars are occasionally offered in international locations.

Visiting a peer taught AIDS education class in Togo.

TT: This is so useful. Tell us more about how you find travel opportunities.

K: I mostly find travel opportunities through subscriptions to various listservs. I recommend teachers sign up for the following listservs and newsletters – Program for Teaching East Asia (TEA), Global Studies Outreach at Harvard, International and Foreign Language Education, Global Opportunities for Teachers, Middle East Outreach Council, Five College Center for East Asian Studies, Boston University African Studies Outreach Center.

TT: Love this! Do you have any last tips about funding travel?

K: One more possible source of funding is the National Council for Social Studies James M. Becker Award for Global Understanding. Supported by the Longview Foundation, this award comes with a $2,000 cash award.

Here are some additional specific grants (related to what I’ve posted above) that I’ve heard about recently: Fulbright-Hays GPA – Brazil, Primary Source – Spain and Morocco: Co-existence, Competition, and Culture, Stone Center for Latin American Studies – Teaching Cuban Culture and Society: A Summer K-12 Teacher Institute in Cuba. There are SO many great options, so look around, apply, and go see the world!

TT: Thanks so much, Kim! What a treasure-trove of resources. Readers, what questions or comments do you have for this expert Teacher Traveler?

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GTTP Research Competition & Award


  • Why A Competition?
    Each year the GTTP holds a competition for the best school research project. Research topics are selected by GTTP Country Directors. Working in teams, the students develop their research skills, analytical skills, and communications skills, all of which are essential for a successful career in Travel & Tourism.
  • How The Competition Works.
    Each member country selects a winning team for the GTTP Research Award in their country. The winning school sends two students and their teacher to an international conference at Sophia Antipolis near Nice, France. At this meeting the winning teams present their research findings and meet students and teachers from all GTTP-member countries. They also will have the opportunity to meet the GTTP Global Partner Advisory Board members.These competitions require students to research a tourism-related topic by first using library materials and the Internet. This phase is then followed by the students interviewing people who have information relevant to the topic. The third phase is analyzing the information gathered and creating a written report or “case study,” which includes a teacher’s guide. The case study can be used by students and teachers everywhere. The fourth phase is the development of a presentation, based on their case study, that each team will deliver to an audience composed of the other winning teams and their teachers.
  • History Of The Competition
    An endowment established in honor of Aldo Papone, former president of American Express Travel Related Services Company, helps fund the competition. Mr. Papone was a strong believer in tourism education and student creativity. When he retired, a fund was established in his name to support excellence and innovation in tourism education. The GTTP’s share of the fund is used to support the research competition.
  • The topic for 2018 is “Innovation in Tourism.” Information on this topic will be published in February 2018.

Previous Research Topics
The topic for 2017 was “Bleisure” Travel. This is a category of travel that describes travelers who are able to able to take business trips and add a day or two for leisure activities before returning home.The topic for 2016 was ”Heritage Tourism”; in 2015 it was “Sustainable Adventure Tourism,” and in 2014 it was “Technology and Sustainability.”

The 2017 Research Competition Topic: Bleisure Travel

The word has been created by taking the letter “B” in “Business Travel” and combining it with “leisure” to create the word “Bleisure.”

In addition to “bleisure” there are other equally awkward combination names: “bizcation,” “workcation,” or “bleasure” which combines “business” with “pleasure, but they all mean the same thing: adding one, two or three extra days of fun and relaxation to a business trip.

A Lot Of People Take Bleisure Trips

In 2016 The Carlson WagonLit Travel company analyzed 7.3 million flights taken by 1.9 million business travelers in 2015 plus flights taken in other years. Their research showed that 20 percent of business travellers take bleisure trips and that these account for 7 percent of all business trips. (We show you later where you can find this and other reports.)

Example Of A Bleisure Trip

You are going halfway around the world from Campinas, Brazil, to a business meeting in Eger, Hungary. It is a long, very expensive trip and you are unlikely to return anytime soon to Eger, which is a very nice town. Your meeting is two hours away by train from a World Heritage Site you have always wanted to visit; the day after your meeting there is an exhibition opening of (take your pick) rare orchids/old master paintings/old automobiles that you would really like to see. Or perhaps you want to take a one-day cooking course to learn about Hungarian cuisine; or go kayaking on this wonderful little river. That extra day or two you add to your trip is “bleisure,” and maybe your family or friends would like to join you.

Exploring World Of Bleisure In Your Community

Here are some of the things you can research when exploring what Bleisure means for your communities, and what it could mean in the future.

“The large number of trips involving bleisure show there is a lot of scope here for travel management companies, local travel companies and communities in how they market themselves to the business traveller.”

“Do hotels in your area offer different rates to encourage people to stay on – so they arrive as a business traveller but leave as a holiday maker?”

“Is the hotel suitable for holiday makers — or do TMCs (Travel Management Companies) need to think about hotels that are convenient for business travellers but also leisure?”

“If the business traveller wants to go off and explore local areas, what about transport options? For instance, what if they arrive for a meeting in Paris but want to travel to another area of France for a holiday and have their family join them?”

“Is there a demographic difference in the types of people who take bleisure trips? A young business traveller who has to go somewhere on business would likely want a very different leisure experience compared to an older traveller.”

“And then there is that whole universe of travel apps to help visitors navigate city transportation, attractions, events, and lodging. Does your community appear in them, or do you need to create one just for your town? And how would bleisure travelers find it and add it to their smart phone or tablet?”

—- Examples provided by Claire Steiner, director, GTTP – United Kingdom

Before You Begin Your Research

Be sure to read the article on How to Write a good Case Study in the Guidelines for the Research Award.

Initial Information Sources

Here are two links to sources of information to start you on your own research. There are many more.

Combining Business and Leisure Trips: a Quantitative Look at the Bleisure Phenomenon. Carlson WagonLit Travel 2016
Go to Scroll down and find “News and Media” and click on it. Scroll down until you find “Combining Business and Leisure Trips: July 2016.” Click on it and download the report.

The Rise of the ‘Bleasure’ Traveller, by Sheridan Rhodes, Micenet Magazine, an online publication of BTP (Business & Tourism Publishing)
Input to your browser: The Rise of the ‘Bleasure’ Traveller + MICE, and then click on the article.

NOTE TO STUDENTS: Do not borrow images from the Internet unless the website states clearly that you may use the images. Taking images without permission is called “copyright infringement” and can result in expensive financial penalties. GTTP will remove images from case studies if it believes there may be a copyright problem.

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