News from Europe

Our blog starts with contributions about the first meeting and kick off in Brussels. In February we would like to present you articles about: cultural heritage of Sardinia, soft skills in tourism field, European mobility and quality, the importance of the employability of tourism in Europe, VET schools at EU Parliament. In March we present articles about: the European projects at the time of Covid-19, tourism in Portugal and the Covid-19 virus, technology and tourism, national tourism this year, hotels in Brussels during coronavirus. In April we talk about EU projects, tourism and WBL activities in Italy at time of Covid-19, an unusual day in hotel industry in Belgium, how will the hotel world change after Covid-19, education in times of pandemic as well as Covid-19 and tourism in Greece. In May we present articles about the European Commission’s guidelines on resuming travel and rebooting tourism in Europe, the second transnational meeting (online) organized by Proandi from Portugal as well as promotion of digital internships in the Covid-19 emergency. In June we talk about the EU strategy to restart tourism in Europe, rural and inland tourism, tourism and transport guidelines 2020 as well as VET training situation at Proandi in times of the Covid-19 pandemic. In July we write about the new tools for the European tourism and summer with COVID19 in Greece. In August we speak about the importance of national tourism this year, remote internship as well as post-summer return in Portugal.

The importance of national tourism this year

Author: MAD for Europe, Spain – August 2020

This summer has been very different for all the citizens of the world. The large number of COVID-19 cases in 2020 has been very high, which has meant a great loss in the economy of many countries.

This great loss is linked to the little international tourism there has been, especially in the months of July and August. Many people have been affected by cancellations of flights, hotels, border closures, etc. In Spain, for example, until August 1st, there has been a loss of 27 million tourists from other countries, according to the INE (National Institute of Statistics).

It has been something very negative, on the one hand, but positive on the other, since due to this national tourism has been promoted on a large scale in each country. By not being able to leave the countries of origin due to the closure of borders, citizens have been “forced” to stay in their country, which has been a great advantage and helped the tourist sectors.

In the case of Spain, rural tourism has benefited in the worst summer in history since, in the north and in the interior of the country, occupancy rates have doubled compared to last year during these summer months. Accommodation in rural houses has also been high.

Despite these data and the fact that some tourism sectors have not been able to survive this situation, we remain optimistic that little by little, tourism in each country will improve, first at the national level and then internationally.

REMOTE INTERNSHIP

Author: IED, Greece – August 2020

As we have already mentioned this summer turned out to be very different from the ones we knew so far, due to the pandemic situation that affected the whole planet.

Summer is the season most known for vacation. Nevertheless, summer is usually linked to internships too, since students can exploit their free time, gain experience and credits in their field of expertise but at the same time travel to new destinations and meet new people.

However, this sector has also been affected by COVID-19 and the need has risen for alternate solutions for the realization of internships this year. Possible options for employers were to cancel, postpone or realize internships virtually. As companies adjusted their summer internships to meet the new reality one difficult task was how to implement internships virtually that will benefit both hosts and interns.

The first step was to set realistic expectations. Not all sectors have the dynamic to adjust to a virtual environment. Certain companies that have already used remote interns before, by choice though, were better prepared and their feedback from their experience this year was positive. In order to make this effort successful, mentoring was used as long as effective communication between interns and management.

It is not a solution that can replace internships with physical presence since the benefits that occur from them outmatch virtual internships. Nevertheless, is a solution to keep in mind since many things have differentiated this year and no official evidence can point out the duration of this unprecedented circumstance and concerns directly project HOSTVET-Improvement of the management of local hosting VET organizations in touristic sector.

Post-summer vacation return in Portugal: what challenges await us and how to face them?

Author: Proandi, Portugal – August 2020

After the summer holidays, and in a time that continues shadowed by COVID-19, with 2 weeks to go before the start of new school year, what challenges do we face and how can our answer be? What balance can we make regarding to tourism?

Concerning tourism, Portugal had 1 million tourists in July. The number represents a decrease of 64% compared to the same month of 2019 (source: National Institute of Statistics). In this sector, it can be said that the Portuguese were largely responsible for the increase in the number of overnight stays and that they helped Portuguese tourism to rise gradually after almost three months of stopping. Unlike previous years, where Algarve was favorite for holidays, this year the Portuguese ventured to discover the northern interior and center of our country.

At this moment, it is necessary to start planning the next months of work. In relation to COVID-19 at the moment, in Portugal, the cases remain an average of 300 cases per day and less than 5 deaths per day. There are some worrying contagion spots and we don’t even know if a second wave of COVID-19 has already started. Nursing homes have generated a lot of concern in Portugal but on the other hand we have seen an increasing number of cases among young people.

In schools, new rules will be adopted at the opening of the new school year: five-minute breaks, classes starting early and ending later, dividing classes into shifts, students helping to disinfest rooms and canteens with takeway service are some of the solutions to reduce contagions among students.

Due to the general increase of cases in Portugal and in the rest of Europe, Portuguese government declared that as of September 15, Portugal will enter again in a state of contingency, where more measures will be known to try to prevent the increase in the number of cases as the new autumn season approaches.

What about Erasmus mobilities?

At this point, it is very difficult to plan mobilities, since the situation across Europe is very unstable – the number of cases has increased a lot and there is still a lot of fear of traveling and leaving the country of origin, even if all precautions and measures in the contingency plans are being followed. Since in many cases it is not possible to carry out digital mobilities, at any time we have to be aware that the mobilities can be canceled, mainly because there is still much fear on the part of young people and their parents to be away from home during the period of internship. This whole situation causes many fears among the entities that promote mobilities and with certainty that the consequences will be felt in the very near future.

However, despite the predictions of a second COVID-19 wave, the population and government are better informed and trying to find the best solutions to avoid a second lockdown.

New tools for the tourism in Europe

Author: MAD for Europe, Spain – July 2020

The European Union has launched a website very useful for these months in Europe. The tool it’s called ‘Re-open EU’ and is to support the revival of travel and tourism in Europe safely. It offers information about the borders, means of transport and tourist services available in the Member States in real time.

The website is: https://reopen.europa.eu/

Its use is very simple: you select the country where you are going to travel and it explains you what measures there are, if you can enter without any permission, how is the situation of the COVID in that region, etc. It is a very dynamic way for tourists to visit different EU countries and know very well their situation at that time.

In addition, it also shows the services that are open, such as restaurants, hotels or museums. It also explains the most relevant information such as whether the use of masks is compulsory, or whether meetings between many people are allowed, or what the health protocol is for tourist services and tourists.

Thanks to tools like these, tourism in European regions will gradually be improved. It is a great idea for travelers to go to other countries with a great knowledge of the situation there, to avoid questions and mistakes that may be made.

Summer with COVID-19 in Greece,first evidence

Author: IED, Greece – July 2020

This summer is going to be different for all. We are in the middle of summer season and the first indications show that Greece, a very popular destination for summer vacation is trying to adjust to the new circumstances after the COVID-19 breakout. According to resources, the early lockdown has assisted a lot in the smooth reinstatement and creates a feeling of safety due to the low number of incidents. Many tourists have stated that they feel safer than in their own countries and the less crowd in archeological sites, transportation, has added a quality in their vacation in comparison to previous years.

After the 1st of July, Greece opened the borders to foreign visitors, respecting health restrictions in most cases. Even though Greece has a low rate of coronavirus transmission, is expected to bring in only 15% of last year’s total revenue since tourism is making up more than a fifth of the country’s economic output. Not only the number of visitors is not high as it was in previous years but also the few visitors that arrived have triggered new chains of coronavirus infections. Face masks have become obligatory again. Despite the fact that Greece has weathered the health crisis better than most the situation is still critical, and the results will be mostly visible during winter.

This situation also affects our project HOSTVET-Improvement of the management of local hosting VET Organizations in touristic sector and the partnership is evaluating all evidence in order to continue the implementation of project’s activities.

EU strategy to restart Tourism in Europe : REOPEN.EU

Author: TIA Formazione, Italy – June 2020

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic led to the introduction of strict movement restrictions between the European countries. In order to prevent the spread of the virus, the singular states have closed the borders of their territories and suspended the free movement in the Schengen area. After several weeks of lockdown and traffic limitations, the member states started slowly reopening their borders and allowing non-essential travels of other EU citizens.

Reopening of internal borders of the EU member states

Restoring freedom of movement after the coronavirus crisis is a gradual process managed directly by the member states. Some countries started lifting partially the travel restrictions already in May – in mid-May the Baltic countries (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) abolished the two-week quarantine and non-essential travel ban between each other’s borders, whereas at the end of the month Croatia opened its borders for citizens of ten EU countries. The European Union recommended to the member states to reopen their borders from the 15 of June; as a matter of fact, most of them lifted the travel restrictions in June. Moreover, each country introduced individual entry rules for citizens of specific EU countries, based on the epidemiological situation on the territory.

Reopening of the external EU borders

The EU calls the member states to gradually reopen their borders to the non-EU countries, where the epidemiological situation is similar to the one in Europe. Although the originally recommended date would be the first of July, the EU is still discussing the list of the so-called “save countries”, whereas some member states need more time to take their decisions¹. However, as border control remains the national responsibility, the final decision on travel restrictions within the national territory will depend on the individual member states.

Information about the travel restrictions within the EU

In order to provide the European citizens with detailed information about the movement regulation in the singular European countries, the EU has launched an online tool called “Reopen EU”. The tool allows the citizens to check the current travel regulations in the European countries for foreign citizens, like information about the possible quarantine or health certificates. The tool can be found on: https://reopen.europa.eu/en/

Sources: https://www.euractiv.com/section/coronavirus/news/eu-delays-decision-on-external-border-reopening/, https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/timeline-of-eu-member-states-reopening-their-borders/

Rural and inland tourism, a hope for the future

Author: MAD for Europe, Spain – June 2020

When we think of tourism and Spain, the first thing that usually comes to mind is Barcelona, ​​Madrid and the Mediterranean coast. However, tourism in Spain goes much further and the interior of the Iberian Peninsula hides places of great tourist interest.

The medieval cities in the heart of Castilla, the Roman legacy of Extremadura or the Arab heritage of the interior of Andalusia are just some of the examples of the enormous cultural and heritage variety of Spain.

In addition, for nature and countryside lovers, there are numerous national parks and nature reserves in Spain.

This 2020 summer, will be undoubtedly a different summer than other years due to the COVID-19 crisis and that is why inland and rural tourism will be enhanced due to the lower concentration of people than in big cities or on the Mediterranean coast.

In fact, tourism associations of the provinces in the interior of Spain are very optimistic regarding the amount of reservations that are being produced for this summer.

Despite the fact that in other countries the depopulation of inland areas also occurs, in Spain the economic and demographic decline of these areas is already one of the great problems that future generations will have to face. Rural and inland tourism is a very important economic actor for these areas and this type of tourism can mean a hope for the future.

Tourism and Transport guidelines 2020

Author: IED, Greece – June 2020

This year will differentiate a lot from previous years due to the pandemics circumstance that we are all facing. Tourism is one of the first sectors that suffered the consequences of this situation. Many countries and governments had to overcome a great challenge on how to let people travel safely in order to avoid sinking their economy in deeper depths but also respect all the health precautions.

The Commission presented a package of guidelines to help Member States lift travel restriction. The Commission’s Tourism and Transport package includes: a strategy towards recovery in 2020 and beyond, a framework to support the reopening of tourism services after the lockdown with all the necessary restrictions for guest and employees.

Moreover, an effort has been made to make travel vouchers an attractive alternative to cash reimbursement for consumers. Another supportive aid from the part of EU is the funding that provides to all businesses that have been affected by the crisis through the Coronavirus Response Instrument Initiative. Apart from businesses this year governments will also provide assistance to citizens by covering a great amount of a person’s vacation expenses through programs.

It is an unprecedented situation and the effects are not visible yet. We have only seen a small part so far of the consequences of this crisis. Our project HOSTVET is also affected from this situation since it is indissolubly linked to touristic sector.

Vocational and Educational Training (VET) situation at Proandi in times of pandemic and post-COVID-19

Author: Proandi, Portugal – June 2020

With the suspension of teaching and training activities on March 16, decreed by the government of Portugal on March 13 and with no certain date for a return to normality, training entities had to find quick solutions so that trainees would not be harmed for this situation – the solution was to adopt distance education/training, as schools and universities did.

VET entities had to wait for authorization from the Employment and Vocational Training Institute to start distance training, and for that, it was necessary to comply with a series of requirements and to prove that the entities had all the physical and human resources to continue the training, among which stands out, the existence of an online platform, trainers qualified for e-distance learning and get a previous knowledge if the trainees had the technical conditions (internet connection, computer/tablet/phone with cameras…). Mentioning the distance training at Proandi, since April 27th that the courses that were in training in the classroom until the lockdown – the first year courses of Cooking/Pastry and Restaurant/Bar Technician and the second year course of ICT Technician – were allowed to continue distance training. All trainees and trainers use Proandi’s Moodle platform (accessible on website) for synchronous and asynchronous training – conducting assessment tests, written assignments and all activities related to the correct functioning of the sessions. For videoconferences, Zoom tool is already used by everyone. The courses that were performing their internship, and since the areas are related to restaurants/cafes/bakeries, the trainees had to wait for the state of alert to be raised by the government and only on May 18th were there conditions to return to the internship. So, what are the main conclusions we can draw from this situation?

This being a new situation for all of us, it is with certainty that we highlight the work of the entire pedagogical team and Proandi collaborators so that distance training could work as quickly as possible and for everything to go well. It is also worth mentioning the way in which all trainees have adapted quite easily to distance training, always respecting schedules and behavior during training sessions. In relation to some trainees, we have seen some positive surprises of active participation in distance training. Despite the distance, all groups have carried out some activities within the scope of training and with good effort – for example, the celebration of important dates, Portugal Day on June 10, “Santos Populares”, #blackouttuesday, among others. For practical cooking or pastry sessions, trainers encourage trainees creativity to record videos and share their recipes in the kitchen.

Despite the distance, the impossibility of having more personal contact between trainees and trainers and the inevitable fatigue of working from home, the feedback is very positive and we see that the solutions exist and that despite this very complicated phase, we all have to make an effort to make everything as normal as possible. We hope from September to be able to receive our trainees again!

European Commission’s guidelines on resuming travel and rebooting Europe’s tourism – COVID-19

Author: TIA Formazione, Italy – May 2020

Travel and tourism is one of the industries most affected by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Travel restrictions and lockdown measures in the European countries caused that traffic, both cross-border and within the country’s territory, has been completely stopped. Currently, the tourism and travel industry is facing an unprecedented crisis. In the light of the coronavirus emergency, on 13 May 2020 the European Commission has published a guidance on how to safely resume travel and reboot the European tourism¹. The aim of the guidelines is to help Member States to safely and gradually lift the lockdown restrictions while respecting the health precautions, to reactive tourism business activities and travels.

The package of the Commission’s guidelines includes an overall strategy towards the EU tourism recovery in 2020 and beyond, a common approach to restore free movement, criteria for restoring tourism activities healthy and gradually, a recommendation about the travel vouchers as well as a framework for restoring transport¹.

In order to restore freedom of movement and lift the internal border controls in a safe way, the member states should introduce targeted measures, which will replace the blanket restrictions. All actions should be based on epidemiological, economic and social considerations. The countries should be also able to apply containment measures during the whole journey. Moreover, the guidelines contain general rules for the restoration of passenger transport services, while respecting the safety of passengers and workers. Another recommendation concerns the safe way of resuming tourism services and development of health protocols, which will allow visitors to enjoy their stay in tourism accommodations safely. The Commission also highlights the importance of the cross-border interoperability between coronavirus tracing apps, in line with the guides on data protection and rules in the EU toolbox. Last but not least, the institution presents recommendations related to travel vouchers issued by travel and transport operators, in order to increase their attractiveness for the customers.

To support European tourism businesses, the Europen Commission intends to ensure liquidity of tourism enterprises through a special EU funding and flexibility under state aid rules. Moreover, the Commission will contribute to jobs’ saving by a financial relief of 100 billion euro from the SURE programme (Temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in Emergency). The institution will also cooperate with Member States in order to promote tourism on the local level as well as Europe as a safe tourism destination.

More information about the Commission’s guidelines:

1. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_854

Recommendation on vouchers offered to passengers and travellers: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/recommendation_vouchers_en.pdf

HostVet – Second transnational online meeting – Proandi – Portugal

It was three intense days with great Contributions!

Author: Proandi, Portugal – May 2020

Between 18 and 20 of May, the second transnational meeting of the project “HostVet: Improvement of Management of Local Hosting VET Organizations in Touristic Sector” was organized by Proandi with all partners from Spain, Greece and Italy. In view of the situation in which we are unable to move between countries, due to COVID-19, this meeting took place entirely online through videoconference.

During the three days this transnational meeting, administrative issues were discussed and the impact of COVID-19 in each partner country and in Europe was also one of important topic covered. Proandi presented its best practices as an entity that host trainees for Erasmus+ mobilities and also presented the results of some questions asked to the trainees and internship entities, in the return to the activity of restaurants, cafes and pastries. This was an exchange of experiences between the project partners, who considered it an excellent practice and a first approach to the impact of return after confinement due to COVID-19. During the meeting, the hypothesis of doing digital mobilities in the field of Tourism was also analyzed – a measure that can be seen as an alternative, once there is no possibility of traveling (for now) and as a way of facing the Erasmus experience in another way. MAD for Europe partner also shared his experience regarding to this situation. We also highlight the important issues related to the Communication Plan and discussion on the next activities to be carried out and the meetings organized by the partners from Greece (already determined that it will also be held in online format) and Spain at the beginning of next year.

Also very important as a contribution to the meeting and the project were the participation of the guests Fernando Pinho, representative of “Restaurante M Brasa” in Póvoa de Varzim, who told us about his experience and feedback on the first day of the reopening of restaurants in Portugal after the quarantine. Inês Amorim e Susana Ramos, trainees from Proandi courses (ICT and Kitchen/Pastry) shared their experience of Eramus mobility and their fears about doing “post-COVID-19” Erasmus internships.

We also thank the participation of Rita Geriante from Communication, Project Management and Internationalisation Department at School of Health of Instituto Politécnico do Porto, who shared the best practices and procedures about sending and hosting Erasmus+ students in a higher education entity, which was a very positive contribution that clarified the work developed in this scope of transnational projects in higher education entities.

It was three intense days but with great contributions and the certainty that we have many challenges ahead of us, but we also know that all this new situation and normality that we are going through will appear as a new opportunity to do more and better.

As the organizer of this transnational meeting, Proandi appreciate the cooperation of all partners for the excellent development of the three working days.

The next meeting will also be via online, from on 7 to 9 September, under the responsibility of Greece Partner.

We hope to see all of you (in person) in January 2021 at the next transnational meeting in Madrid!

Adapting to the situation: promoting digital internships

Author: MAD for Europe – May 2020

From the 18th to the 20th of May, we had the second transnational meeting of HOSTVET. It was going to be in Portugal, but due to the situation of COVID-19, we had to hold this meeting online. Although a face-t- face meeting is not the same as a remote one, all the partners managed to reach satisfactory conclusions for the project, emphasizing that we must continue with the plan even if we have to face the inconvenience of coronavirus.

Related to this, we considered whether to continue with the same activities of the project or change them a little, but the final conclusion was to take advantage of this “opportunity” and see how we can help tourism companies to cope with this situation in the best possible way.

Another point that was highlighted was the digital internships. From MAD for Europe, during these weeks of confinement, we have been in contact with some participants from different European countries so that they could do their internships online, from their country of origin. Although it is not the same experience as going to another city to do these internships, we want to emphasize that at least they can take advantage of the situation and participate directly in the work of a foreign company. This is not the best solution, since ideally participants travel to another country to live an experience in that country as well as getting the opportunity to work in a company, but it is necessary to adapt to these difficult times, so we firmly believe that this option is very positive.

Remote work experience in a company in another country will also make participants understand the importance of these new opportunities that will enrich their future both personally and professionally.

2nd Transnational virtual Meeting-Time for innovative ideas

Author: IED, Greece – May 2020

The 2nd Transnational meeting for the project “HostVet: Improvement of Management of Local Hosting VET Organizations in Touristic Sector” was held virtually between 18-20 of May due to the pandemics situation. The initial plan was that the meeting would be realized in Portugal. ProAndi partners from Portugal organized the online meeting providing the platform and arranging the Agenda. All partners from Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece participated in the successful meeting explaining the current situation in their countries and discussing regarding project’s activities and progress.

The duration of the meeting was three days where the host partners shared their best practices from their cooperation with trainees from Erasmus+ mobilities and provided interviews with interns that communicated their experience and shared their perspective concerning the COVID-19 situation and if it would be a limiting factor for future participation in Erasmus+ mobilities. Moreover, the program included interviews from trainers whose business reopened after the pandemics and how they are dealing with all these changes. The general feedback from these testimonies was positive. People have not lost their hope and anticipate a more prosperous future.

During these three days TIA Formazione (coordinator) informed all partners concerning the administrative issues and how the project’s activities will be implemented. The partnership participated in a very interesting brainstorming where ideas such as digital internships and adding some extra activities to the project were suggested. The partnership also decided to have the next Transnational Meeting, that was supposed to be realized in Greece, virtually as well in order to stay safe and protected by the pandemics but at the same time proceed with the development of the project.

The contribution of all partners and their cooperation was satisfying and new ideas were shared. The overall attitude was to adjust to this unprecedented situation and let it motivate us to provide innovative ideas and seize opportunities.

EU PROJECTS, TOURISM AND WBL ACTIVITIES IN ITALY AT TIME OF #COVID19

Author: TIA Formazione, Italy – April 2020

Since February 2020, activities in Italy in the #covid19 case have been at a standstill in every sector, the European projects that provide for mobility have been suspended both those aimed at students, with a specific decree of the Italian government until the whole school year 2019-2020 and we do not know if they will restart in September, and the ordinary ones because flights are suspended throughout Europe unless there are urgent reasons why an authorization must be compiled, granted only in situations of extreme urgency that is not the case for ERASMUS+ projects. The European Commission has granted the possibility to the Erasmus + National Agencies to extend the contract deadline and to close the project by one year, just to take into account this suspension, considered to be a cause of force majeure. This clearly implies a suspension of WBL activities both related to tourism, which is the subject of our project, and in every sector, to the point that we do not imagine when, these guys will resume travel. The airline tickets purchased, in most cases, are converted into vouchers by the airlines, to be spent within a year, even if there are a thousand delays, you receive e-mails in which the airlines ask the courtesy to accept the voucher and not to ask for the refund to which you would be entitled, against the constant cancellation of flights. Companies are forced to redefine contracts and activities often also have to deal with colleagues who are not able to understand the current period and, for their reasons, decide to abandon even the assignments, it seems incredible but it happens. The Italian national agencies of the Erasmus + project, from which also this project has been funded, continue to follow us assiduously, providing every support, in our case authorizing the second transnational meeting in smart working mode, it should have been in Portugal, it will be online from 18 to 20 May 2020. The Proandi partner colleagues have already sent the agenda of the meeting and we will organize ourselves to face this emergency in the best possible way, in order to meet the objectives of the project. What is certain is that working with organizations in the tourism sector will not be easy because they are all involved in solving real and concrete problems, from unemployment, to lost summer earnings and the difficulty of a substantial change that tourism is facing and we still do not know what new business model it will bring us to, because certainly the impact of an experience like this one of #covid19, is and still remains incalculable and unpredictable.

An unusually day in hotel industry

Author: Belerasm, Belgium – April 2020

Welcome to Sheraton Brussels Airport, one of the last hotels in Brussels remaining open! My name is Guven, I am working as receptionist.

6.50 am… I am already in the Backoffice, normally everybody should be very busy at that time, night team is running to finish their last duties, giving the feedback to the front office manager, preparing the morning meeting while the customers are on their rush to do their check-out before catching their flight…But today like the other days since 16th march, it is very quiet.

Only 1 person per shift is enough to manage the work. In my department where usually 7 persons are ensuring the morning shift.

Very strange to see empty corridors, lobby, elevators. In a team of almost 200 employees as said, 1 is ensuring the front office, 1 for the housekeeping 1 in the kitchen, and 1 duty manager are present today.

The rest of the team stay at home and fortunately can benefit from economic unemployment fund system (Chonmage Economique) we don’t know until when.

you may be wondering who are our guest? Our Hotel remain open because we are located in the airport, and to provide accommodation to the cargo aircraft crews that fortunately are bringing our goods, food and medical material, we should provide them our best services.

Knowing their habits, they always request quiet rooms (far from elevators, or busy floors, etc…) but in this period they can rest in the whole empty hotel.

The Corona virus panic has already reached the Hospitality and Travel sector and hotels. What we already call down season, 80 percent off all Belgium Hotels closed their doors. Business never ever see anything like this.

Just keeping hoop and as soon as possible our business back, and also to motivate ourselves and our family.

Guven Dogan

How will the hotel world change after Covid-19?

Author: MAD for Europe, Spain – April 2020

As we already know, the Covid-19 pandemic has represented and still represents a radical change in people’s lives, from all points of view: emotional, occupational, economic. When all this end, the world will no longer return to the normality we were used to, but there will be a “new normality”.

This virus has left the internal world open-mouthed, leading to the ruin of entire families, businesses and economic sectors. The tourism sector is among those most affected. People’s questions and doubts are many: how will this sector recover? How will we get used to staying once this pandemic is over? Will we go back to the sea?

Although there is still no certain and obligatory news, as the scenario is constantly changing every day, the tourism system is working to try to restart and take all the necessary measures – especially hygienic ones -.

In the world hotel, it is important to considerer how its of bars and restaurants will change. In fact, it will be necessary to guarantee the social safety distance, the presence of all utensils, pliers and anything else to avoid direct contact between hands and food. For table service it is recommended to have a maximum of 4 people per 10 square meters. The tables should be positioned so that the distance between the back of one chair and the back of another chair is greater than one meter and that guests who are facing each other are separated by a distance of at least one meter.

In order to survive, hotels will have to revolutionize their organizational structure, but first of all they will have to be able to recover from this economic crisis. Many of them are and will be forced to close for bankruptcy.

Education in times of pandemic

Author: Proandi, Portugal – April 2020

On March 11, a news item published in an electronic Portuguese newspaper “Observador” stated that, according to UNESCO, there are 290 million students without classes due to the situation of COVID-19 (Source: https://observador.pt/opiniao/o-impacto-do-covid-19-na-educacao/). In the same news, the newspaper questioned readers about whether Portuguese students and families with children studying were prepared for the prolonged closure of schools. The Portuguese government decreed the closure of schools on March 12, 2020. What has changed?

It is known that Portugal has a very traditional education, conservative and even resistant to change with regard to the use of new pedagogical models and more attractive tools. In a few days, the entire educational community had to adapt to new circumstances and what has always seemed difficult to implement in years, under the circumstances, we assisted in a few days an authentic pedagogical revolution – the use of teaching platforms such as Moodle, Zoom, Teams, Skype has become vital; it was necessary to develop new and adapted education/training action plans, often without much guidance from the competent entities. However, a “designed” model in a few days has its obvious limitations – the rhythms of online work are obviously different, the veracity of knowledge, the lack of essential resources in many families for conducting distance education/training (computer, Internet connection) that led to the return of the old “telescola”, the issue of GDPR or the lack of socialization in classrooms among students-colleagues-teachers/trainers so important.

However, as people say “the need sharpens the ingenuity” and all institutions have done their best so that all students do not suffer from this new reality caused by COVID-19.

The current situation of training in Proandi

All training will be completely online. In a first phase, Proandi had to carry out a survey with all the trainees regarding the existence of the necessary resources (computer, tablet, mobile phone with camera, internet connection) to carry out online distance training.

Proandi has a Moodle platform accessible through the website that will act as a repository for all documents necessary for the course of the training and for the evaluation. For the video sessions, the Jitsi Meet platform will be used. So far, three courses have already started online training. With regard to the courses that were conducting the internships in restaurants, cafes and pastry shops, and since all these spaces remain closed until the order of the government, we are still awaiting instructions from the Institute of Employment and Professional Training.

We held information sessions with the entire Proandi community – colaborators, trainers and trainees – and everyone was very receptive to the new situation, which will continue over the next few months.

COVID-19 and Tourism in Greece

Author: IED, Greece – April 2020

Greece has enjoyed a reputation as one of the prime tourism destinations in the world. Greece continues to be a preferred tourism destination, but no statistics can predict how exactly this situation will be affected due to COVID-19, a pandemic that has affected the whole planet. The 85% of the tourism movement takes place on May-October while the full months, are July, August and September which demonstrates intensively the seasonal characteristic of tourism in Greece. The government examines excessively the current circumstances and try to develop a plan to limit the consequences in the touristic sector and in economy in general. One part of the plan they are building has to do with the so-called “health passports” that would give authorities a way to be aware of the health status of visitors entering the country by air, by boat or by car, as the Minister of Health referred to speaking on Greek TV (Skai channel). Moreover, the Minister added that the country’s tourism season will most likely be limited to three months this year, from July to September. Many have questioned this tactic and its effectiveness but the progress of virus will demonstrate how the government will handle the overall situation in tourism.

European projects at the time of #covid19

Author: TIA Formazione, Italy – March 2020

The month of March 2020 was characterized by the #Covid19 pandemic in Italy which prevented us from going out, meeting, comparing, sharing project experiences, planning our periodic meetings.

Europe has suffered and is still suffering from a collective shock from which it will struggle to recover. Our projects have stopped, so also Hostvet for which we are managing to complete the basic activities.

The countries involved in this project, Italy, Spain and Portugal, are suffering a great deal of damage from such a dramatic phase, including Greece and Belgium, although not yet in an acute way.

What is certain is that for the first time all of us Europeans are experiencing a new phase, no flights, no meetings and no particular planning and no one able to predict the future, an obligation to stay at home with scientists who do not know about the disease and cannot calculate its effect and politicians who are confronted with the difficulties of leading countries to which they have to give directions to ensure protection, seeking a continuous balance between the thousands of levers with which we measure ourselves to lead a country.

All this in a framework that sees the European Union itself teetering, prey to national selfishness and the inability to create cohesion and solidarity, despite the thousands of contradictions that the countries of Southern Europe often present. We, here surrounded by empty streets, in front of our PCs, imagining the next stages of our project, thinking about realizing others, and hoping that the post-Covid19 afterwards will reveal that what happened has left a sign of a turning point for a new international balance more supportive without barriers East West, convinced that at each stage an opportunity must be read.

Tourism in Portugal and the COVID-19 virus

Author: Proandi, Portugal – March 2020

“It’s as if the country has gone into hibernation” or “The economy has gone into a quarantined state and we don’t know when better times will come.” are the most common phrases spoken by Portuguese economics experts during this dark period that we are all experiencing.

In a country where tourism is one of the main bases of the economy and with the approaching Easter holiday period where a large influx of foreign and Portuguese tourists would be expected to the main tourist spots in Portugal, what will happen to tourism in Portugal? How long will it take before we start to return to normal? These are some of the questions that we all try to get answered but at the moment it seems that we want all the answers to all our doubts and fears, but all we can do is: wait.

In a country dominated by Commerce and Tourism that made millions move, we were used to seeing shopping centers always with a large flow of people, restaurants full on weekends and without taking account of reservations, the highways dominated by the movement of workers who traveled from work to home and from families who were preparing to head to the south of the country for an Easter mini-vacation or simply to spend the weekends – what we are seeing now is a break of more than 50 % of hotel reservations for a period of at least 3 months, an increase of 8.3% in ordering meals already ready to eat at home, instead of being enjoyed in the restaurant and a large concentration of purchases in supermarkets and pharmacies (Source – https://www.impala.pt/noticias/atualidade/covid-19-mais-de-90-das-empresas-do-turismo-terao-vendas-zero-em-abril-e-maio-ctp/ ).

But even though living in dark times in tourism and restoration, and despite the statistics, it is difficult to attribute a number to the impact of the new coronavirus pandemic on tourism due to the scale of activities linked to the sector, but it is estimated that “Now, in April and May (…) more than 90% of the companies will have zero sales ”, concluded the president of the Confederation of Tourism of Portugal (Source – https://www.impala.pt/noticias/atualidade/covid-19-mais-de-90-das-empresas-do-turismo-terao-vendas-zero-em-abril-e-maio-ctp/ ). It won’t be easy to imagine the outcome of these conclusions…

But more than the numbers that invade our homes through the media, what we know for certain is that these times have required an enormous adaptation of workers and entrepreneurs in the restaurant and tourism sector: even before the State of Emergency was decreed in Portugal on March 19, many restaurant owners decided to close the doors of their establishments without even knowing if the Government was going to help them, “surrendering to their own fate”. The same happened with local accommodation and hotel establishments. Another of the measures we are witnessing (via social media), although closed at home, many Portuguese people seem to be already aware of the importance of promoting and buying local products and Portuguese brands.

So if we want to characterize this new phase for these sectors, we can add it as – adaptation, “a leap in the dark”, resilience, patience and FAITH.

We are sure, when we get out of this situation, we will make Portugal an EVEN MORE desirable country to visit.

Technology and Tourism

Author: IED, Greece – March 2020

For more than a decade, technology plays a very important role in tourism. The rise of online booking has managed to change the traditional way of organizing our holidays and in consequence of this, travel agencies had to change completely and to go digital, so as not to lose their customers.

But more changes occurred through the years. Airbnb, which can be easily characterized as a revolutionary app in tourism, “opened” a whole new world on how we arrange our holidays and how we choose our destinations (which town has cheaper Airbnb homes, which is more Airbnb friendly, which has more super hosts, etc.). But not only Airbnb played a conclusive role in tourism, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Foursquare, Google Maps, even Instagram changed the way we travel.

More specifically, many people choose their travel destinations based on a beautiful picture on Instagram or on a good review on TripAdvisor or on Foursquare! Many cities that had never been before a tourist attraction, because of social media, turned into top destinations, which is something amazing if you think how much power has the digital world.

Moreover, IoT systems have entered into the tourism industry and the results seem to be very advantageously. Hotels are providing their guests with “smart rooms” that can be moderated via their smartphones, VR technology is gaining ground (Google glasses have been characterized as the future of tourism), and Apple watches simplify pedestrian navigation around cities by quietly buzzing to let users know when to turn left or right. Apps, social media, smart devices have become an inextricable part of our lives and sometimes we forget how dramatically changed not only our daily routine, but even whole industries. Fifteen years ago the only way to book your holidays was via a travel agency, the only way to discover a place was by asking your travel agent or the locals, and hotels were the only choice of accommodation you had.

We spotted all the advantages that occurred from the huge technological growth in tourism, but may all this growth have a negative impact on people’s careers? Can technology replace humans in this industry? The answer is no. Tourism needs humans, needs the human interface, because above all tourism has to do with countries, with people, with cultures, with history, with places. An app or a website or a smart device cannot replace the locals’ hospitality, cannot show you the true beauty of a place. Technology only can help people, but it cannot replace them.

Our project’s aim is to make clear to people that tourism needs them, that locals have to conduct their businesses with a European approach, but without losing their authenticity, and to encourage young people to make their internships in tourism in order to bring their innovative ideas to more traditional tourism companies. So, HostVet’s goal is to find ways that will improve local, tourism companies (and technology is a good way) and also to encourage more people to make their internships in tourism. A profitable industry like this needs young people, with groundbreaking ideas that will guide local businesses into working in a more digital way.

This year, national tourism

Author: MAD for Europe, Spain – March 2020

This year, everyone is living under very different conditions than usual due to COVID-19. It is a pandemic that has spread very quickly in many countries, especially in Europe, such as Italy, Spain, Germany, France… More and more countries are affected by the coronavirus and this is influencing tourism quite a lot, since citizens have to stay at home, forcing them to cancel all trips, both tourist and business. Tourism has been stuck all over the world.

That is why campaigns have been created so that when all this is over, citizens will not travel to other countries, but stay in their own nation, visit other cities in their region, thus promoting national tourism. This is a great step because in this way, if many people stay in their country this summer or in the holidays they have, they can encourage tourism in their region, making the economy grow from the inside.

It is a very good and positive initiative for each country because, in addition to promoting the economy, citizens will also get to know regions they did not know before, creating a very positive national spirit.

hotels in BRUSSELS are CLOSing their DOORS

Author: Belerasm, Belgium – March 2020

Due to the COVID 19 virus, almost all of the Brussels hotels had to close, a first for the tourism sector.

However, to provide accommodation for crew members and their passengers, a few hotels around Zaventem Airport will remain open, with an occupancy rate of almost 98%.

The restaurants in these hotels remain closed, and a take-away counter has been placed at the reception. Obviously, the staff members had to adapt their work to the new distance and service measures.

Let us not forget that in tourism, we speak of perishable ‘products’ in the sense that, unlike other sectors, a lost overnight stay cannot be made up financially. The situation is dire. Both for the hotel sector, as for restaurants, cultural institutions, guides, tourist attractions … We know that more and more establishments are closing and that we will approach a zero rate in the weeks to come.

In consultation with the Brussels government, a few hotels have opened their doors for the homeless and migrants sleeping outside. Fortunately, solidarity has reappeared to help the most disadvantaged.

Cultural heritage of Sardinia

Author: TIA Formazione, Italy – February 2020

The first picture which comes into mind when thinking about Sardinia is the sea. Picturesque beaches and azure water are the two elements which attract yearly numerous tourists from all over the world. However, the beauty of Sardinia does not consist only of its coast – the island is a territory with an extremely rich and unique cultural heritage, that reflects the history and ancient traditions of the region. A heritage which still needs to be promoted in order to improve the attractiveness of the island, both as a destination of tourists and international exchange students.

UNESCO, the authority responsible for the World Heritage List, indicates two main types of cultural heritage: tangible and non tangible. Tangible cultural heritage are physical objects, like paintings, sculptures, archaeological sites, monuments, etc. On the contrary, non tangible cultural heritage includes immaterial forms of culture, like traditions, knowledge, ideas, rituals or performing arts¹. The island of Sardinia is rich in cultural heritage examples of both kinds.

The nuraghe
The nuraghe

Over the centuries, the island has been inhabited by different civilizations which left various traces of their presence. The Nuragics, Phoenicians, Romans or Byzantines, these and more peoples has influenced the shape of the island. According to ISTAT, the Italian National Institute of Statistics, Sardinia is the Italian region with the highest number of archeological sites and parks in the country². One of the most characteristic elements of Sardinian archeological landscape are the nuraghes, megalithic buildings erected between 1900 and 730 B.C. The structures were built by the Nuragics, an endemic civilization which inhabited only the island of Sardinia and was not present in any other part of the world.

Sardinia, traditional clothes
Sardinia, traditional clothes

The Sardinian traditions and rituals are strongly rooted in the pastoral-agrarian history of the island. The connection between the man and his animals is reflected in celebrations of the festivities, in particular of the carnival. Many costumes in the Sardinian carnival are composed of animal furs, wooden masks and bells worn by the cattle on the pastures. An important element of the pastoral culture, which in 2008 has been included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, is the traditional pastoral polyphonic singing, called canto a tenore³. The song is performed by four men, the two of which have a deep and guttural voice timbre. When speaking about the cultural heritage of Sardinia we should not forget about the Sardinian handicraft, which still maintains original techniques and patterns.

The cultural heritage of Sardinia needs to be promoted in order to give the right relevance not only to the natural beauty of the island, but also to its rich culture, traditions and history. The further valorization of the Sardinian cultural heritage will influence positively on the tourism sector – it will raise interest in the island, attract more tourists, encourage creation of new local companies and new jobs. It will also attract more and more international students, including VET learners, interested in participating in an international exchange on the island.

Sources:

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/culture/themes/illicit-trafficking-of-cultural-property/unesco-database-of-national-cultural-heritage-laws/frequently-asked-questions/definition-of-the-cultural-heritage/

http://dati.istat.it/Index.aspx?QueryId=22130&lang=en

https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/canto-a-tenore-sardinian-pastoral-songs-00165

Soft skills in tourism field

Author: IED, Greece – February 2020

Each industry requires different skills from its actors on a different scale. Sales and customer service require excellent communication skills, IT requires problem-solving skills and so on. Οn the same wavelength people who work in the tourism field need to have advanced especially their soft skills including the communication ability, and be continuously trained around relevant topics.

Soft skills are a set of skills that are developed and improved within the workplace, linked with the non- technical abilities of the employees. Everyday life in tourism-related jobs are in charge with many tasks, each of which requires special handling especially when it comes to meet, handle and serve the needs of other people – in this case the clients.

Organizational skills and time management in conjunction with multi- tasking are some very useful skills for people working in tourism sector. Along with these, professional integrity, positive approach and teamwork are some of the essential soft skills for a career in this field. Confidentiality is also essential as the employee may need to manage confidential both corporate and customer issues.

Finally, the ability to manage crises and complaints plays a very important role in tourism services, as clients often formulate and support their requirements strongly.

Our project, “HOSTVET: Improvement of the management of local hosting VET organizations in touristic sector” aims to share best practices and develop new strategies about management of hosting organizations, for internship programmes in tourism and cultural and creative enterprises sector.

European Mobility and Quality

Author: Proandi, Portugal – February 2020

Transnational mobility for learning purposes has always been a crucial issue in European policy. The European institutions reinforce in their directives, strategies and recommendations the importance of studying and training abroad for personal and professional growth, for the acquisition of sectoral and transversal knowledge, for the acquisition of skills, aptitudes and Skills and to facilitate employability European labor market. The actions of the Erasmus + program contributed in a special way to the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth, employability, social justice and inclusion, as well as to the achievement of the Education and Training 2020 objectives.

In addition to the positive consequences that mobility has in the long term for the participants, organizations and professionals involved, the final impacts must also be felt in the education, training and youth support systems in the participating countries, thus encouraging political reforms and attracting new resources and mobility opportunities in Europe and beyond..

Let’s talk about some important aspects for the quality of mobility:

– Tutoring and mentoring are aspects present in any mobility project, from start to finish;

– Understanding and identifying intercultural issues are one of the most pressing aspects of mobility because they can represent barriers for participants and professionals working on mobility projects. Despite being an aspect present in all phases of mobility, there are two crucial moments – before mobility and during mobility;

– The European Credit Transfer System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) was conceived as a European instrument to support the mobility of participants, lifelong learning and the flexibility of learning paths to obtain qualifications. It is one of the European transparency tools, aiming at promoting and recognizing mobility.

– In mobility projects, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are valuable resources to assist in the performance of tasks – they are very flexible and are available around the world around the clock. If they are well thought out and structured they can be useful throughout the project and all Mobility.

When we talk about quality in transnational mobilities, there is a reference document that must be used – the European Mobility Quality Charter, a recommendation from the European Parliament with 10 main guidelines:

– Information and guidance focused on candidates and access to real and reliable information on all aspects of mobility of participants;

– Learning plan, being mandatory the design and signature of it by all involved partners and participants;

– Personalization, which encourages the idea of planning each mobility according to the profile of each participant;

– General preparation, before departure, that addresses at least linguistic, pedagogical, intercultural, legal and financial aspects;

– Linguistic aspects that encourage language learning, so that mobility, learning and growth are more effective;

– Logistical aspects that involve and inform participants about travel, accommodation, insurance, legal aspects of the scholarship, work / residence permits, among others;

– Mentoring, whose responsibility lies with the sending organization, which must ensure advice and help and the integration of the participant;

– Recognition and certification of experiences and learning, specifically through Europass and ECVET;

– Reintegration and assessment after return, with further guidance recommended in order to achieve better results;

– Commitments and responsibilities ensuring, in writing, that these and other quality criteria will be met by all parties involved.

These and other requirements are part of the project “HOSTVET: Improvement of the management of local hosting VET organizations in touristic sector” aims to share best practices and develop new strategies about management of hosting organizations, for internship programs in tourism and cultural and creative enterprises sector.

The importance of the employability of tourism in Europe

Author: MAD for Europe, Spain – February 2020

Tourism is one of the most important sectors of a country, since it is a mirror of the characteristics that a city has, its history, its citizens, its culture, its food…

Unfortunately, in some European countries, this sector has a high level of unemployment. For example, in the case of Spain, the unemployment rate has increased from 2018 to 2019. But expectations are very positive, as more and more new jobs are being created and this sector is growing. Despite the fact that the labour market in other sectors may be shrinking, this sector seems to be able to increase in several countries of the European Union.

But, in spite of this, what we want to achieve with this project is to be able to eliminate this high unemployment figure, being able to generate greater employment of practices between the young people who want to dedicate themselves to this sector. The partners of HOSTVET are implementing a series of measures to make this happen, being able to improve what is necessary to increase the jobs.

In order to achieve this, several tourism companies in each partner country will be informed about the measures they want to implement, so that they can help them and see how some of the problems they have, if any, can be solved.

In addition, the emphasis will be on the organisation of these companies, so that they have a well-defined structure and can organise themselves well.

In conclusion, little by little we will be able to know what the companies want, what they demand, in order to achieve the objectives of the HOSTVET project.

VET Schools at EU parliament

Author: BELERASM, Belgium – February 2020

The European Union demands strategies to improve the performance, quality and attractiveness of VET, as stated in the Copenhagen Declaration in 2002. The main challenges/needs faced by European VET providers are necessity to turn VET into an attractive learning opportunity, lack of cooperation between VET schools, lack of competences in the implementation and management of European instruments, difficulty to access mobility opportunities.

Considering the EU demands, the ENNE1 Project (co-funded by EU) has been created and has as general objective to support the establishment of 5 national networks of VET providers (1 in each country involved), aimed at the enhancement of VET quality and attractiveness, with a specific focus on mobility opportunities.

Two Brussels school, involved in the ENNE project that Belerasm is the Belgian coordinator, have been invited to the EU parliament in order to support Belgian youth that were involved in the RAYSE project.

The RAYSE project (https://rayseproject.eu) aimed the election of youth ambassador for active citizens of second generation migrant. Ayoub Boulayoun student of the school (Athénée Royal du Sippelberg) involved in the ENNE project, was proud to share that moment with his school friends.

During this Event, the students had the opportunity to listen EU policy makers and parliamentarians such as Maria Arena, Marc Tarabella and Brando Benifei. As the main topic was the youth and migrant, they were very interested in the discussions as they were talking about their life and their experiences such as unemployment for youth with a migrant background, and the role that EU plays in order to reduce those inequality.

1 ENNE – European National Networks for the Enhancement of VET

HOSTVET kick-off and first good practice meeting, January 2020 in Brussels

Author: TIA Formazione, Italy – January 2020

The kick-off and first good practice meeting of HOSTVET, „Improvement of the management of local hosting VET organisations in touristic sector” took place from 21 to 23 January 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. The partners from Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Greece and Spain got together for the first time in order to discuss about the project and its implementation, plan the activities as well as to share best practices in the area of VET mobility projects.

The first day of the event started with a presentation of all the five partners cooperating in the project and the signature of the partnership agreement. Ines Caloisi, the director of TIA Formazione, presented the HOSTVET project and guidelines, after which the partners discussed in detail the goals of the project as well as related tasks and activities.

During the second day of the meeting Abbas Armut from Belerasm, the Belgian partner of the project, held a presentation about his organization and shared best practices applied by Belerasm in VET learner mobility management. Afterwards his colleague, Yasemin Armut, introduced to the assembled the European Association of Quality Intermediary Organizations in Mobility, EAQOM, operating in the area of quality standards setting for mobilities. The presentation was attended also by one of the founding members of EAQOM, Manuel Ribeiro Bacelar from CCGPE (Centre de Coopération et Gestion des Programmes Européens), who subsequently presented his organisation and shared the expectations as a sending organisation. The guest of the afternoon’s session was Ms Rita Vandenbroele, HR manager at Renaissance Hotel – Marriott hotels group in Brussels, which yearly host many international interns, including Erasmus+ VET trainees. Ms Vandenbroele admitted that the Group is very satisfied with the cooperation with international interns and shared information about best practices applied in the trainee management.

The last day of the kick-off was dedicated to the detailed presentation of partners’ organizations and suggestions about the implementation of the project. We will meet again during the next transnational HOSTVET meeting which will take place in the city of Povoa de Varzim in Portugal from 18 to 20 May 2020.

Hosting VET in Brussels

Author: Belerasm, Belgium – January 2020

During the first days of 2020 Belerasm, and the president of the Belgian construction confederation, had the opportunity to visit the magnificent island of Martinique. This meeting with the Léopold Bissol high school aimed to strengthen collaboration between the 2 countries. During this visit we also presented the HOSTVET Project during the Erasmus+ day, many schools and partners of European projects were invited.

Our first Kick-off meeting for the HOSTVET project took place in mid-January in Brussels, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Europe. HOSTVET, comes from “hosting” and “VET”, a mixture of the two words in order to give a boost to quality reception and an improved vision of VET students and an improved vision of VET students but also to share our good practices as intermediary organisation.

For this mobility, the 5 partner countries met at Mundo-B. The choice of the location is not a coincidence, Mundo-B is an initiative resulting from associations active in sustainable development which wishes to eco-renovate whose ideology goes in agreement with that of the project partners.

During this mobility we got to know the Italian Portuguese, Spanish and Greek partners, who each in turn explained the progress and the projects of their company while making an exchange of good practices.

In order to carry out the project, a calendar and planning were also developed. The second day of this meeting Belerasm present its good practices in terms of hosting trainees, but also its operation from marketing to dissemination. We also learned about EAQOM (European Association of Quality intermediary organization in Mobility).

We also had the opportunity to welcome Rita Vandenbroele the human resources manager from the Renaissance Hotel (a brand of Marriott hotels group), who described their welcoming protocol and the company’s internship offers to us. The company made an amazing booklet that includes all questions and answers to the need’s interns could have. This is a facilitating contact for possible exchanges of student’s mobility between partners countries.

HOSTVET

Author: Proandi, Portugal – January 2020

PROANDI – Consultores Associados a consulting and VET center, headquartered in the coastal town of Póvoa de Varzim, located in the north of Portugal, is a partner in the projet: “Improvement of the management of local hosting VET organizations in touristic sector – HOSTVET”.

Since 2016, Proandi has been developing projects under the Erasmus + program – KA1, KA2 and KA3 – and is also a host and sending organization for trainees that carry out mobilities in various areas of activity.

Thus, it is with immense pleasure that Proandi is a partner in this project, since, being the city of Póvoa de Varzim an important tourist spot in our country, it is very positive to develop tools that improve the quality of the procedures adopted by the companies that receive VET trainees. Another very positive aspect of this project is the opportunity for all partners to be able to share their good practices and experiences they have with the mobility and sending or hosting trainees.

The first place chosen to kick off and the first meeting of good practices was the capital Brussels – a city marked by strong multiculturalism and where history joins the European center where “everything happens”.

During the three days of this meeting, it was possible to get to know and exchange some experiences with partners from Italy, Belgium, Greece and Spain and to get to know the activities that each organization develops. This was the first direct contact between all partners. In addition to this socialization and knowledge, an important planning of the tasks to be carried out until the next meeting in Portugal at Proandi, between 18 and 20 May 2020. We would also want to thank to: Manuel Ribeiro Bacelar that works in Federation Wallonie Bruxelles – Ministry of Education, who present us his project and the association created on the standardization and quality of the intermediary companies that receive the participants of Erasmus+, and Rita Vandenbroele – human resources representative of one of the hotels from the Marriott Group who shared their experience in welcoming trainees and students under the Erasmus+ program.

It was a great start for this project!

KA2 “HostVet” – Meeting in Brussels

Author: MAD for Europe, Spain – January 2020

From the 20th until the 23rd of January, MAD for Europe participated in the Kick-off Meeting and Best Practices Meeting of the KA2 project “HostVet” in Brussels, Belgium. The objective of this KA2 Strategic Partnership is to develop new strategies about management of hosting organizations for internships programs in tourism and cultural and creative enterprises sectors.

MAD for Europe is is an international no-profit organization established as a reference training institution and VET provider, specialized in European Training and Mobility programs. Operating in the centre of Madrid, capital of Spain, cultural and financial core of the country, as well as one of the most animated and liveable cities in the world, we usually receive teachers, students, professionals from all over the Europe for their training experience.

For this, the HOSTVET project will give an added value to our activities and an important improvement of our internships management with companies. For identifying common modalities, more European companies should be involved. The goal must be to harmonize the used methods and to improve the quality.

MAD for Europe proposed to conduct a survey with tourism and culture companies in Madrid and in all partners countries to find out about the value that they give to mobility experience in terms of professionalization and acquisition of skills. We also want to find out the real needs of the companies and how to select better candidates for them. In practice, propose to contact the hosting companies explaining the project and the survey, and later ask questions about their experiences with the participants.

It would be very useful to organize for example in our context an Info-Day for companies from all over Spain that are related to tourism and culture, to reach even more potential partners. They shall get to know the opportunities of hiring participants to work with them, thanks to Erasmus +.

We really think this project will be very successful and we are looking forward to share all partners countries Best Practices in order to create a common methodology and strategy in Europe, thanks to its dissemination.

HOSTVET

(kick-off and first good practice meeting, January 2020 in Brussels)

Author: IED, Greece – January 2020

On 21-23 of January in the city of Brussels, Belgium was held the kick-off meeting for the project HOSTVET: Improvement of local hosting organisations in touristic sector. The objective of this KA2 Strategic Partnership project is to create a shared model made up of certain rules and procedures to be applied to international internship and apprenticeship projects dedicated to the heads of the structures involved. Partners from across Europe, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Greece were gathered to share experience and exchange good practices.

During the first day of the meeting, TIA Formazione, the project coordinator, provided the guidelines of the project and tasks were assigned to each partner. The following day Belerasm, the partner from Belgium, made a presentation about their organization and shared some good practices in the framework of KA1 projects. Moreover, all partners had the opportunity to meet Manuel Ribeiro Bacelar from CCGPE (Centre de Coopération et Gestion des Programmes Européens) who provided his experience and knowledge and Rita Vandenbroele , HR representative of one of the hotels from the Marriott Group who shared important information concerning VET trainees.

At the last day of our meeting, each partner presented themselves in order for everyone to get to know and be familiarized with each organization’s activities and contribution to this project. At IED, which is the partner from Greece and is a research organization established in 2005 focused on the promotion of entrepreneurship, we are looking forward to beginning the implementation of this project since we believe in this vision and the added value brought to the sector of tourism by this project, which will be supported by the fruitful cooperation between the partners . We will all have the chance to meet each other in Portugal where we will be hosted by the Portugese partner, Proandi, from 18 to 20 May 2020.