Tourism students reach new heights in Queenstown

3 September 2009

The world’s future tourism leaders took to the ski slopes today (17 June) as part of their Queenstown-based adventure tourism diploma. Seventeen young students matched business with pleasure by getting a first-hand introduction to the snow industry from premier ski provider NZSki Ltd as well as a snowboard lesson at Coronet Peak.

The snowboard lesson was part of the practical component of the two-year diploma run by Queenstown Resort College (QRC). The diploma is the only one of its kind in Australasia.

Taught by experienced industry practitioners, the diploma develops successful future adventure tourism managers by blending business management and leadership skills with practical work experience and adventure education.

Since the students started their diploma three months ago, they have already completed behind-the-scenes visits to several iconic Queenstown adventure tourism businesses. As part of their adventure education they have also gone skydiving, jet-boat riding, and canyon swinging and spent 10 days on an outdoor Explorer Programme.

All of their studies so far which include subjects like emergency care, risk management, accounting and trip organisation, are preparing the students for six months of fully paid industry training in an adventure tourism business.

NZSki CEO James Coddington is happy with the new programme.

“Having an Adventure Tourism Management course in Queenstown is a real asset to the industry and the community,” he says.

Following the snowboard lesson, the students returned to class to write a four-page report, including mountain safety and specific industry training courses.

Nineteen-year old Emma Dixon from Australia, says she saw the course advertised on the Destination Queenstown website and decided to apply.

“I love Queenstown and the course is perfect for me,” she said. “It’s outdoors, a great balance of practical and theory and you get to do amazing things like we did today!”

Maddie Meagher, 19, says “Queenstown’s such a cool place – if you’re going to study Adventure Tourism anywhere then it should be in the Adventure Capital of the World!”

Giles Cooper, 19, was recommended the course by a school career’s adviser. “I can’t say enough good things about Queenstown and the course – it’s awesome!”

Twenty-year old Simone Malec says the adventure tourism course is “unreal” and she still can’t believe how happy she is studying in Queenstown. “It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it!” she jokes.

The students will go on to develop advanced knowledge of topics such as management and leadership, tourism law, cross-cultural communications, sustainability, accounting, marketing, first aid and risk management, alongside a 6-month paid tourism internship, allowing them to make a positive impact in their chosen area of the industry.

Dr John Cossens, Queenstown Resort College’s Head of Tourism says the students have been “smiling non-stop”.

“They’ve gelled really well as a group and are having the time of their lives.”

Graduates of QRC’s Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management can continue on to a Bachelor Degree at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in British Columbia, Canada's leading specialist in adventure tourism education and training.

For more information about the Diploma of Adventure Tourism Management visit

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