Connect academic theories to practice
Real-life heritage tourism experience for university students
As a key player in Hong Kong’s cultural tourism scene, Walk in Hong Kong had the honour to work with HKU’s Department of Sociology to create a pioneering experiential course on tourism during the 2nd semester of 2015-2016. The 50 students participating in the course “A Cultural Study of Tourism and Tourists (SOCI 2055)” had the opportunity of examining the relationship between tourism, heritage preservation and urban development using the real-life example of Pok Fu Lam.
The 60-hour experiential learning programme began with field trips to Pok Fu Lam Village hosted by two local groups. Students were invited to compare the tours with a Western District walking tour by Walk in Hong Kong and evaluate how local history is represented in heritage tours critically. Paul Chan, our co-founder and CEO, then shared how local history and culture are represented through walking tours and travel guidebooks in a practitioner sharing session, together with Lonely Planet Hong Kong & Macau coordinating author Piera Chen.
With support from Walk in Hong Kong and the course instructor, the students were divided in groups to design heritage tours at the five precincts of Pok Fu Lam using materials gathered through solid historical research and interviews with various community stakeholders and experts. To disseminate the outcomes of the project to the community, the students published a travel guidebook and a website on heritage tours at Pok Fu Lam. Students also organized two heritage walking tours at the village themselves. Walk in Hong Kong was responsible for the editorial support and review of the contents.
“Local tourism has become popular in many places and the organisers often have their own messages to present, usually for preservation. Now students can study real-life examples in Hong Kong, which is far more effective than teaching them theories that are mostly from the West,” said Dr Gary P F Wong, the course instructor.