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REF NO.: 159
SUBJECT: Memorial University and Irish Loop Development Board boost tourism industry with new online tools
DATE: May 14,2009
Memorial’s Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT), in partnership with the Irish Loop Development Board (ILDB), have created a set of online tools that will contribute to a high-quality experience for visitors of the Irish Loop region. The project partners were on hand at the Southern Avalon Tourism Conference on May 13 to provide a demonstration of the technology.
The project, funded by the Inukshuk Learning Plan Fund, involved the development of an interactive online training module for tourism operators in the region, and a virtual tour that features communities, attractions and points of interest along the route. Existing resources, including best practices for business owners, and community and historical information, will be incorporated into the online tools.
“The Irish Loop Development Board is very pleased to partner with DELT on this exciting project to meet the needs of the region’s emerging tourism sector,” said Harold Mullowney, president of the ILDB. “The Irish Loop is home to some of the most exciting and wonderful tourism resources in the province, and we want to strengthen those by providing the region’s tourism operators with access to training and development opportunities.”
To lead the project, the ILDB conducted a needs assessment of business operators and the tourism sector, and created materials to help professionalize the industry and foster economic development. DELT then provided the instructional design and multimedia expertise needed to modify the material for an online learning environment.
Joan Butler, senior instructional designer and project lead for DELT, has a background in community development and was delighted to lend her expertise to the initiative.
“Being very familiar with the Irish Loop region and the needs of their tourism industry, it was a natural fit for me to assist in strengthening their resources and creating opportunities for the people and communities involved,” she said.
The recent enhancement of high-speed internet access within the Irish Loop region represents an emergence of a significant technology to this rural area of the province. This collaborative project is the first opportunity for business owners there to contribute to professional and skills development online.
“We were thrilled to be a part of this venture and extend our expertise to benefit the people, communities and tourism businesses in this rural and vibrant region of the province,” said Ann Marie Vaughan, director of DELT. “The success of this initiative illustrates that the use of learning technologies can be applied to contribute to regional economic development of the province in non-traditional ways.”
The development of online learning materials for the Irish Loop region’s tourism industry remains consistent with regional priorities in relation to overall tourism and human resources development. The support of Inukshuk and the partnership between DELT and the ILDB continues to represent a unique collaboration between higher education institutions, regions and other supports.
These innovative tools will be accessible to tourism operators, visitor information officers and others involved in the industry to provide anywhere, anytime access to skills development, regional information, and other resources.
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