Baños: an opportunity for inter-institutional cooperation through research
Last Friday 29 January, students of the seventh-semester (pilot course 2) of the school of tourism, carried out a technical visit to the Rural Parish of Baños. The visit took place in the framework of research-based learning, developed by the University of Cuenca and KU Leuven with the support of the VLIR-UOS programme. In this visit, the students had the opportunity to apply qualitative data collection techniques in order to create a situational diagnosis of the parish, which is part of the PREIT-Tour project. The students were accompanied by Byron Alvarado, the project technician.
The day began with an interview with the Manager of the Hosteria Durán, who explained the reality that tourism entrepreneurs are living after the pandemic and the strategies that they have been implemented to face the health crisis. The manager also explained the problems faced by the parish and the needs of its inhabitants. In this context, the students were encouraged to work from an integrative vision, so that the private, public and residents sectors can join forces to achieve common goals.
For their part, the students visited Los Hervideros Hill, to analyse the infrastructure and gather information about the attraction. With this visit, they were able to learn about the strengths and needs of this specific sector. The administrator of Piedra de Agua Spa was also interviewed to learn about her vision of tourism development and the integration between the private sector and the local community.
Finally, the students were able to visit the home of a family dedicated to spiritual healing and ancestral medicine. In this case, the students were able to understand the importance of natural medicine and plants in the popular culture of the territory. In this case, one of the participants took part in an energetic cleansing ritual.
During the visit, the students applied participant observation, interviews and participatory methodologies. The data obtained from these techniques will be used for the presentation of their final projects, which are framed in the subject of Tourism Planning taught by MSc. Karina Farfán (Co-director of the project).
Photo credits: Byron Alvarado Vanegas