On March 5th, 2023, DISTED College welcomed 36 Master’s students and three esteemed lecturers, Dr. Rami Isaac, Dr. Jelena Farkic, and Mr. Simone Moretti, from The Netherlands. These scholars, representing a diverse array of nations, including the Czech Republic, Romania, Aruba, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, India, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Tunisia, Mexico, and the Netherlands, embarked on a study tour for the Destination Marketing and Tourism programme. 


Their visit aimed to conduct fieldwork for the Masters in Tourism Destination Management Final Year Project, exploring Penang as one of their research destinations. Guided by Dr. Rami Isaac, their research encompasses Georgetown (cultural heritage and urban tourism), Gurney Drive (medical, shopping, and new development), Batu Ferringhi (resort developments and the tourism belt), Penang Hill, and the Habitat and National Park (ecotourism and natural heritage). They seek to analyse and forecast Penang’s future through observations, interviews, and data collection. 

Their projects entail forecasting stakeholder and destination developments, assessing key impacts on Penang’s tourism, and employing horizon-scanning techniques to anticipate global drivers of change affecting the region. This hands-on approach underscores the experiential learning ethos of their Master’s programme. 


During their visit, Prof. Dr. Vikneswaran Nair delivered a presentation on “The Paradox of Tourism Growth in Post-COVID Penang: Insights from Southern Asia to the Bahamas.” He discussed the historical trajectory, present challenges, and future prospects of Penang’s tourism industry by benchmarking his work in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, emphasising sustainability and ecotourism. Before adjourning, a student cohort shared preliminary research findings, showcasing a nuanced understanding of Penang’s tourism landscape that could potentially rival that of locals. 

This study tour, enriches the academic experience of DISTED College students and lecturers and contributes valuable insights to the local tourism industry, fostering mutual learning and benefit for both the institution and the visitors.