Tourism and Travel students survey visitors to Nelson Airport

Tourism and Travel students survey visitors to Nelson Airport

NMIT Tourism and Travel students and Nelson Airport joined forces for nine days to conduct a passenger survey designed to help the airport with planning and development as well as fulfil work placement requirements needed to complete the Certificate in Travel and Tourism (Level 4).

Into the Lion's den with a shirt, surveys, pens and a clipboard

Each student signed up to a number of shifts at set times with the first shift beginning at the unfriendly time of 6.30am and the final shift ending at 6.30pm. The flexibility meant students could choose times and days that fit around classes and individual deadlines. They completed an initial induction, were given a uniform, printed surveys, pens and a clipboard.

What did the students learn from the *ahem* boring passenger survey?


"The survey helped to build my confidence up with having to just walk up to and start talking to so many different people from all different walks of life," said 26 year-old Sharona Stanton who completed the certificate in September.

"I think it just helped me with my communication skills generally," said Nathaniel Tapnio who surveyed hundreds of passengers over a four-day period.

Four main benefits stood out overall:

  • The opportunity to speak with a diverse range of travellers.
  • Plenty of situations to practise communication skills.
  • The chance to see first-hand how many people do travel and how big the tourism industry is currently and where it's headed in the future. 
  • A sure-fire way to build confidence.

"Tourism in Nelson is just growing and growing with so many visitors coming and going out. The airport is expanding more and more and is now having to build a new terminal [to manage] more visitors coming, and new airlines, so as a whole we are just growing," Sharona noted. 

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Image courtesy of Nelson Airport.

Why hands-on practical experience matters to industry

Without practical knowledge of an industry it would be all stats, figures and theory. While these are necessary and important aspects of study, a work placement offers you the chance to self-reflect and gain credible feedback from industry professionals.

To gain the Certificate in Tourism and Travel, students like Sharona and Nathaniel are required to complete 60 hours in work placement. Hands-on projects like these are invaluable in the real world – especially in tourism which is first and foremost about people and experiences.

How collaboration with NMIT helps industry professionals stay relevant

For Nelson Airport engagement and collaboration with the students at NMIT is very important.

"An airport has roles and functions that some of the students may not be aware of and where their new skills may take them. It also helps us widen our story locally where we have advocates that understand Nelson Airport's function in our community," Nelson Airport Sales and Marketing Manager Sally Russ confirmed.

Sally was particularly impressed with the level of engagement from each student. She noted their professionalism and friendly approach and how this managed to capture the attention of a wide range of people for the few minutes required, which isn't an easy task.

1592 surveys later – what were the results?

A total of 1592 passengers were surveyed during the period Friday 27 May to Saturday 4 June. They were asked 24 questions ranging from passenger profiles and purpose of travel to booking and checking-in methods, frequency of travel, choice of transport to the airport and feedback about the facilities at the airport.

In a nutshell, here are the results:

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Image courtesy of Nelson Airport.


Alt text to be replaced from CMS
Image courtesy of Nelson Airport.

Why spend your time as a student stuck in the classroom when you can mix it up? The majority of our programmes have some sort of work placement or industry engagement. Gain real world practical experience while you study toward your goals. 

For more information about the work placement opportunities available for your industry, take a look here.

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