Killybegs graduates cruising to success

Graduates from the LYIT School of Tourism at Killybegs are helping to make cruise ship stops a success for Donegal.

Graduates from the LYIT School of Tourism at Killybegs are helping to make cruise ship stops a success for Donegal.

A group of academic staff from LYIT School of Tourism was invited to visit the Amadea, a German Cruise Liner owned by Phoenix Reisen, during its recent stopover in Killybegs. The visit coincides with an exciting new semester of courses on offer at the School which has refreshed all programmes this year including its flagship tourism programme, Destination Tourism with Marketing.

On boarding the ship, the group were met by a familiar sight in the form of Ann McHugh and Moya McHugh, both graduates of the tourism programmes who are now working with the Killybegs Cruise Welcome Committee.

The guided tour not only included the public areas such as the cabins, restaurants, bars and leisure facilities, but also a look behind the scenes, which included a detailed tour of the central kitchen. It gave the staff the additional understanding of the industry which is usually only seen from a guest’s perspective.

The Amadea began its voyage from Bremerhaven, northwest Germany, home to a University of Applied Sciences which offers a Cruise Tourism Management programme. Students from the School of Tourism in Killybegs have studied in Bremerhaven as part of the Erasmus Study Abroad project.

Explains Ciarán ó hAnnracháin, Head of Department: “Building networks and collaborating with other European colleges is an important facet of higher education, and we are continuing to do this in order for students to expand their search for employment, both at home and abroad. This approach helps to ensure that they are prepared for a wide variety of careers in a diverse and growing industry.”

On the quayside, the LYIT staff ran into three graduates who are now working as qualified tour guides. They were waiting to welcome disembarking German tourists and give them information for bus tours to Glencolmcille, Glenveagh and Donegal Town. The guides, along with the coach drivers and all involved, provide an excellent service to the increasing number of cruise lines choosing Killybegs as a stop.

“It brings it home why it is important for quality tourism education and training in South West Donegal.” Ciarán observes,.“Meeting the graduates on the ship and then seeing more of our students in action greeting the German tourists was really gratifying.”

The visit provided significant information on careers in cruise tourism, but also highlighted the importance of tourism for employment in the region.

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