FIJET Academy: A Wonderful Encounter

by Sylvia Wanja

This year’s FIJET Academy was held in International Final University in North Cyprus in June 2019. North Cyprus is a country that is a very intriguing land to visit and being able to learn about it more is even better. Even though the country is not recognised officially, it’s difficult not to notice its rich culture and history as well as the undiscovered potential for tourism. The numerous pieces of historical artefacts that are yet to be appreciated. As a journalist, I was able to recognize and understand all of this values of Cyprus and it’s easier to express from the first-hand information.

FIJET Academy Students with FIJET Representatives: FIJET World President Tijani Haddad, FIJET Türkiye President Delal Atamdede, FIJET Academy Committee’s Chairwoman Sema Kutlu and FIJET North Cyprus President Prof. Olgun Şimşek.

To be honest, I’ve never heard that there was a field called tourism journalism. I have to say meeting FIJET (World Federation of Travel Journalists Writers) was an eye-opener experience for me. Moreover, I realised that there are so many opportunities and options in tourism journalism that we can choose to set ourselves to.

Dr. Amelia Tomasevic during a lecture of the academy.

During our lectures, I learnt about the importance of communication crisis within the framework of the tourism field. Furthermore, there were vivid discussions about women empowerment and types of stereotypes, then how to deal with each one of them. We were encouraged to have one on one conversations with the professors and other students and all this time we got to use our perspective as journalists and how to develop and write a story that would change the readers and viewers.

The Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque in Famagusa. The Mosque was transformed from the Catholic Saint Nicholas’s Cathedral in 1571 by the regime of the Ottoman Empire.

After our indoor activities, we got to travel and learn about the different cities in North Cyprus. This includes Famagusta which is famous for city’s fortification walls, the ruins of Salamis ancient city, St Barnabas Monastery, Famagusta Castle, Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque and Varosha the ghost town.

When we arrived at the capital city Nicosia, we passed through the Kyrenia Gate, Buyuk Han (The largest caravanserai on the island of Cyprus), St Sofia Cathedral. We had the chance to see the green line of the divided city. Our next stop was Kyrenia town with features such as Kyrenia Castle, Bellapais Monastery, St Hillarion Castle and the old harbour. Finally, in Lefke we got to see the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Soli, the river dam project, St Mamas and the museum.

In a nutshell, it was a good experience to learn from the FIJET Academy, meeting and making new friends and sharing experiences was amazing. I believe that more awareness should be created about tourism journalism which provides a great opportunity to help our youth in growth for them to understand and appreciate our environment and others.

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