ECN376 has begun.

PBL course ECN376: “Marketing and Branding in Tourism” has begun.

From June 28th to August 9th, 2013, the PBL course “Marketing and Branding in Tourism,” which is jointly run with San Francisco State University (SFSU), was offered. Eight global business-major AIU students and six SFSU students who majored in marketing, tourism management, etc. attended the course.

The course, which started with the SFSU session, allowed the students to learn about various methods that can be used effectively in marketing, branding and tourism (especially such social media as Facebook, Twitter, other mobile SNS applications, etc.) and also engaged them in the actual exercise of creating websites.

During the field trip, the students visited tourism resources in San Francisco and the adjacent areas (i.e., professional baseball field, museum, national park management office, Napa winery, etc.) to listen to their marketing and branding strategies and performed “benchmarking” in preparation for the projects in Akita.

Visit to Kenzo Winery in Napa Valley

Visit to Kenzo Winery in Napa Valley

Touring the baseball stadium of the San Jose Giants, a minor league team

Touring the baseball stadium of the San Jose Giants, a minor league team

After the three-week-long study session in San Francisco, the students traveled to Akita in mid-July, paid a courtesy visit to Deputy Governor Masamichi Hashiguchi of Akita Prefecture at the prefectural government office and listened to a lecture by the prefectural staff on Akita’s tourism-related policies, to kick off the Akita portion of the course. The students then learned about the tourism industry, the historical, social and cultural features of Akita Prefecture, visited tourism resources near Akita City (Tsuchizaki Port float festival, Kanto festival, Kakunodate, Lake Tazawa, brewery, historical and cultural spots in Akita City, etc.), and performed analysis on Akita Prefecture’s strategies to promote tourism.

Courtesy visit to Deputy Governor Masamichi Hashiguchi of Akita Prefecture at the prefectural government office

Courtesy visit to Deputy Governor Masamichi Hashiguchi of Akita Prefecture at the prefectural government office

Lecture by the prefectural staff on Akita’s tourism-related policies

Lecture by the prefectural staff on Akita’s tourism-related policies

Tour of Kodama Jozo, Co., Ltd., a brewery in Katagami City

Tour of Kodama Jozo, Co., Ltd., a brewery in Katagami City

Observing the Kanto Festival

Observing the Kanto Festival

After spending three weeks each in San Francisco and Akita for the course of study, the students held a briefing session on the results of their study on August 8th, where their findings reported that, to increase the number of tourists to Akita Prefecture, proactive and effective dissemination of information through the web-based social media would be instrumental, for which the students developed an application software and introduced it to the audience.

Briefing session by the students

Briefing session by the students

With the student participants

With the student participants

By continuously offering the PBL courses in conjunction with overseas partner universities, Akita International University will aim to develop persons who have acquired abilities that are essential to become effective leaders in global society, i.e., negotiation/coordination and analytical skills, adaptability, cooperativeness, etc.