ETFI is involved as research partner in the TCF cooperation project

In the coming months, the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI), affiliated with NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, will perform research into the interaction between education, research and entrepreneurs in regard to the Toerisme Coöperaties Fryslân (TCF) project. This is the follow-up of the so-called Toerisme Alliantie Friesland (TAF), a project where ETFI was involved as well. The aim of the TCF is to introduce the greater societal tasks to students and to let them help entrepreneurs in the hospitality and tourism sector in Friesland to enlarge their innovative capacity by thinking of (new) company concepts. In practice, this might come down to, for example, introducing new tourism products in the existing market, writing of a marketing strategy in order to attract new guest groups or translating a website in German or in English. For students, this is the perfect opportunity to get acquainted with real projects, to work on their resumes as well as to get into contact with potential employers.

Collaborations between entrepreneurs and students

The world of today is volatile and insecure, which continuously hinders entrepreneurs in making their decisions towards responding to the changing demands of their guests. The question of entrepreneurs often sounds like:

To which trends and developments do I need to adapt to be/stay attractive to my guests of tomorrow?

With this and other questions, entrepreneurs are given the possibility to introduce those assignments to so-called field- and cooperation hubs, a space where students from the Friesland College and NHL Stenden think and work innovatively and creatively on solutions to prepare entrepreneurs in the Frisian hospitality and tourism sector not only for the changing demands of their customers, but also on the increasing number of guests that find their way to Friesland. Bewfore 2030, it is being said that the number of tourists to Friesland will double.

What is the task of ETFI?

In their research, ETFI will look at the expectations of various stakeholders such as, the steering group, programme management, teachers, researchers, entrepreneurs, students in relation to the collaborations that are being set up between entrepreneurs and students. This research can be regarded as a baseline assessment study. What are for example reasons for entrepreneurs to bring in an assignment in one of the field labs, what are expectations of entrepreneurs with regard to their collaboration with students or what are concrete end results that entrepreneurs expect in the phase of rounding off the assignment? We compare those results with the expectations of students. Here also, we for example measure to what extent the assignment connects with students’ knowledge that they have already obtained in education, what their expectations are in the collaborations between them and the entrepreneur(s) and which end results they expect in the assignment that they are carrying out. In a later stadium, we look at in what way the expectations of the various stakeholders that we obtained in the baseline assessment correlate with what the stakeholders think after the rounding off of the assignments in the impact assessment. This makes it possible to see what goes well and which possible improvements need to be made in those collaborations.