Excursion: AIDAsol and Sweden, October 2021

Tourism Development Studies

Just arrived in Stralsund to study the Master in Tourism Development Strategies (TDS), our group of 20 international students was surprised with exciting news: in 3 weeks, we are setting out for Sweden on board of the AIDAsol! As mankind was still fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, we could feel its impacts on our first excursion in two aspects: First, we started our adventure with the goal to observe and analyze cruise tourism in times of pandemic. We benefited from the fact that our group included cruise tourism newcomers and experts, enabling us to shed light on this topic from different perspectives. Secondly, we were unfortunately not able to visit any companies on our trip, but we didn't let that get us down. On the excursion itself, we had several great opportunities to network with the AIDA crew. Following the excursion, we got to know different companies based in Sweden via numerous online and face-to-face meetings.


TDS master's students are ready to board AIDAsol in Warnemünde
Can lecturers look happier?
TDS master's group: Welcome Drink at arrival on board

After an introduction to cruise tourism and the planned destinations (Visby, Stockholm and Gothenburg), we finally set off for Warnemünde on October 9th. Upon arrival, we already noticed the first effects of the pandemic: after taking a PCR test, a 90-minutes waiting period on the cabin followed for all of us. Fortunately, things got more interesting afterwards: After a short safety briefing, we enjoyed a guided tour of the ship by our fellow student and personal AIDA expert Kai. In the evening, we were warmly welcomed by a meet & greet session with the Hotel Director and F&B Manager.


We spent the following days having meals collectively and enjoying the prime-time program, growing together as a group. Moreover, we were soaking up the sun that the Baltic Sea spoiled us with. Another regular activity was reflecting on our impressions on board and discussing the research question. On October 13th, a speed-dating session with the F&B Director, Finance & Admin Manager, Entertainment Manager and Guest Commerce Manager gave us a deeper insight into processes, restrictions and hierarchies on board. The range of information we received was immense: we talked about management of food waste, training of the crew, theming on board, revenues per person, show experiences, handling of rerouting etc.

Speed-dating session with different Managers of AIDAsol
Enjoying the sun and the time together on deck
Reflection round and group discussion on research topic

Re-routing during cruise and new destinations

Speaking of rerouting: the weather thwarted our plans, making it impossible to reach Visby and Gothenburg by ship. The alternative destinations were Gdansk and Copenhagen, which we were all very pleased about. Although we could only go ashore with excursions conducted by AIDA as a result of the pandemic, we were able to admire many beautiful corners of Gdansk, Stockholm and Copenhagen. The cities thrilled us with their lively maritime flair, historic centers, colorful architecture, and green surroundings. Due to sustainability aspects and the desire for movement, we explored the most important landmarks on foot or by bike. These impressions definitely increased our desire to discover more of the beautiful cities located on the Baltic Sea!


After 7 days on board of AIDAsol and 3 city trips, we returned to Stralsund via Hamburg with valuable knowledge on cruise tourism and the Baltic Sea region. While some of us could certainly have stayed on the ship for weeks, others were glad to have solid ground under their feet again. But: it was an exciting experience for all of us!

Looking back, we concluded that the cruise tourism industry had to adapt many processes to the pandemic. Furthermore, we identified that our partner AIDA Cruises is increasingly focusing on different target groups.


tourism master group - creating memories in front of the Neptune Fontaine, Gdansk
Nyhavn (new harbour), Copenhagen
Stop at Nordiska Museet on Djurgârden Island, Stockholm
Sightseeing along the Radaune Canal in Gdansk
TDS students in front of Castle Amalienborg - home of the Queen and Danish royal family in Copenhagen
Maritime architecture in Gdansk

In the upcoming weeks, we caught up with our company visits.
Edna Ozuna, former TDS graduate, was the first to introduce her field of work to us: she is project coordinator of the JOHANNA project, which specializes in developing training programs for tour guides and cruise coordinators in the Baltic Sea region. She highlighted which skills and abilities are demanded in these roles nowadays and how the program works on stimulating them.

Next, Christian Holz, Country Manager DACH, introduced the company Potentialpark Stockholm to us. This Swedish market research institute creates connections between talents and companies looking for employees. Christian provided important input on how we can better recognize our talents and thus prepare optimally for career entry. On November 11th, Malin Hagberg-Andersson visited us at the university. She works at the Tourism Department of Karlskrona Municipality and could therefore share valuable information about the role of a DMO.


Two weeks later, we met Nils John, Business Development & Country Manager Germany, from VisitSweden. He informed us about Sweden’s development as a tourist destination, explained different target groups and gave insights into sustainability campaigns. Last but not least, Iris Müller, Head of Marketing at the GNTB in Stockholm, presented the work of the company and its recovery strategies after the pandemic.

Career orientation - meeting with Potentialpark Stockholm for TDS master students
Meeting with JOHANNA project, held by a TDS Alumni
tourism master students get practicial insights from "VisitSweden"
Karlskrona Municipality, Tourism Department shares experiences and expertise with TDS master students

In these difficult times, we are very happy we had the opportunity to conduct a field trip and are grateful for the networking opportunities that both parts of the field trip provided!


TDS master’s student

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Exkursionen sind ein fester Bestandteil unseres Master-Studiengangs Tourism Development Strategies. Die Philosophie dahinter ist eine stetige und nachhaltige Verzahnung von Theorie und Praxis. Aber nicht nur eine Verbesserung der Fachkompetenz und Angebote zur Förderung des Netzwerkes unserer Studierenden werden mit einer Studienreise angestrebt, ebenso ist es eine Erweiterung des eigenen Horizontes, da oftmals Begegnungen mit ganz anderen Kulturkreisen erlebt werden.


Die stetige Interaktion mit etwa 20 Studierenden über einen Zeitraum von 10 Tagen fördert die Teamfähigkeit aller Teilnehmer. Weiterhin werden kommunikative, soziale Kompetenzen und nicht zuletzt die eigene Persönlichkeit gestärkt.

Erfahren Sie hier mehr über den Master-Studiengang Tourism Development Strategies an der Hochschule Stralsund.