Visitor Attraction and Resort Management – A Meeting of Minds!

By Amanda Payne – Senior Lecturer in Business, Management and Leadership

Here at Staffordshire University we are extremely proud of our Visitor Attraction and Resort Management degree programme. The course is designed in accordance with guidelines published by the Events, Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism (EHLST) network, and delivered in close association with Alton Towers Resort.

The course is unique to the UK, with only one other similar course worldwide taught at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, USA – who have their unique partnership with Cedar Point amusement park.

On the 21st April 2023 we met our siblings who were on a field trip to the UK……!!! This is their experience….

The two sets of students initially met at the teaching facility at Alton Towers. They chatted all things course related, life experiences, ambitions and ‘marmite’ – apparently a preferred food of the students! It was amazing to watch like minds instantly connect, it only took a matter of minutes, and the chatter began to grow…..

Taking the students away from their conversations we were lucky enough to all jump on a ride (Galactica) and enjoy the thrills…

We then had a ‘behind the scenes’ tour after the park closed. We were escorted by Kirsty (the Learning and Development Assistant with the Human Resources department) who took us to the (usually restricted) top of the historical ruins of Alton Towers stately home and are the source of the park’s name.

Seeing the surrounding area was breath-taking and we could see the vast expanse of the park itself. If you look closely you’ll see the ‘Wicker Man’ eerily peering between the trees!

Following this we had an escorted tour of the various accommodations on offer such as the themed ‘Gangsta Granny’ and ‘Ice Age’ rooms which were a feast to the eyes!!!!

It was all too brief – so much so by the end of the day, students were sad to part ways and contacts were quickly shared:

“I’ve been speaking with some of the students… and they seem incredibly passionate about how attractions operate outside of the UK, and considering how many laws and regulations differ between countries. The opportunity allowed us to keep growing our network with the other course and open new opportunities in the future”  (Kenzie – Level 4 VARM student).

“an incredible opportunity to network with the Ohio students more and get a better sense of the theme park landscape of USA and how it’s different to the industry in the UK… it was a great experience and gave us an ‘in person’ perspective of the industry worldwide and will help us with our studies and writing our assignments” (Sam – Level 4 VARM student).

Moving forward we are to expand upon the relationship, BGSU are due to visit again next year, and we are already planning on collaborating again in the form of a incorporating a VARM/RAAM student project.


Courses and projects such as these are vital: the visitor attractions sector is experiencing tremendous growth both in the UK and overseas with tourism, hospitality and events recognised as major contributors to the UK economy.

As an indicator of THE’s value, travel and tourism contributes significantly to the economy in the United Kingdom (UK) and in 2021, an estimated £131.5 billion of GDP was generated, directly and indirectly, by this sector.

To achieve and sustain this level of economic contribution it is critical that the sector is able to access highly qualified, skilled graduates who can become the leaders of tomorrow.

So, if you’re looking to establish a career in visitor attractions that growth is great news. But if you’d like to give yourself an edge when it comes to seeking employment, our Degree in Visitor Attraction and Resort Management, developed in partnership with Alton Towers Resort, could be for you…

Click here for a link to the course!!

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