A Morpeth teenager was part of a team of Northumberland College students that recently went on a useful trip to Morocco.
Lucy Breeze, along with fellow students Rachael Cook, Amiee Lidstone, Nicola Robertson, Jessica Taylor and Stephanie Templeton, camped on the edge of the Sahara Desert for ten days.
The group, who are studying for the Higher National Certificate in travel and tourism management, visited local attractions to highlight an alternative, more sustainable approach to tourism with the aim of supporting a destination’s economy and community.
The region had been left flooded after an unusually wet winter. This had a detrimental effect on the area’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism activity.
Students interviewed local business entrepreneurs and also members of the community, who they found had traditionally farmed but are now working in tourism.
The trip was part of a project comparing the desert region to that of a rural destination in the UK, Northumberland. The project focused on issues such as planning of tourism projects and how tourism affects society and culture in host destinations.
One of the events they went to was the annual Festival de Nomades to see some Moroccan musicians in action. During this visit, they were interviewed by a Moroccan television station.
They also watched camel racing through the town of M’Hamid and participated in local traditions such as Henna Art and visiting a Kasbah to drink mint tea with a Moroccan elder.
Course leader Mark Rossi travelled with the group along with head of department Sheena Towns.
He said: “What better classroom could a student ever want than the Sahara Desert.
“Everywhere the students went, they were made to feel welcome and given ample opportunity to ask questions and discuss the 2020 Vision (Morocco’s sustainable tourism plan).
“The experiences of the students will last with them forever. They showed a great deal of enthusiasm and maturity and were true ambassadors for Northumberland.”
All research collected on the trip will now be used for the students’ final assignments towards their qualification.
For further information about courses and apprenticeships offered by Northumberland College, call 01670 841200, visit www.northumberland.ac.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org