Panaji, February 2023: Students and academics from 12 Portuguese cities have arrived in Goa, to familiarize themselves with Indian hospitality, cuisine, and culture, as part of a broader cultural exchange program between India and Portugal. The delegation received a traditional welcome on arrival to the V. M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education (VMSIIHE) campus.
The Portuguese delegation hosted by VMSIIHE will undergo a four-week intensive program that features a packed curriculum including field trips, practi-cum-work sessions, and visits to various companies in Goa as part of the “Collaborative International Training and Education Program” with Turismo de Portugal, a government body which is also responsible for selecting the visiting students from various hospitality institutes in Portugal.
This is the first cultural exchange program organized by the Institute post the pandemic.
The visiting delegation of students and faculty will get a first-hand experience of classic Indian hospitality through a well-planned itinerary put together by the faculty of the Goa-based institute. Their intensive itinerary in Goa also includes activities like an insightful visit to the Margao market which is well-known for having a wide assortment of traditional fruits and vegetables. They will also be attending several lectures from experts on tourism trends in Goa and India.
Going beyond the theoretical world of hospitality studies, there will also be several instructional demonstrations by faculty and guest chefs who will introduce the international delegation to the vast, flavorful world of Indian cuisine. The delegation will also be introduced to the wonders of Feni, Goa’s indigenous liquor, on their visits to various farms and distilleries in the state. They will also be introduced to several culturally diverse experiences, which includes visits to historical temples, UNESCO World Heritage sites in Old Goa, and tribal villages, among other locations of significant interest.
The Portuguese delegation will participate in Holi festivities on the campus, in order to familiarize them with an exciting slice of Indian culture. The three-day celebration of Carnival is slated to take place in the state during their visit which they will be witnessing as well.
The objective of the exchange program is to improve professional expertise and cultural integration in the hospitality and tourism sectors between Portugal and India, as well as to increase interaction between teachers and students. The highlight of this year’s program will be Indian cuisine and hospitality.
Indian cuisine is known globally for its richness and variety. The diversity of the soil, climate, culture, ethnic groups, and occupations all play a definitive role in making the cuisine stand out globally. Classes on Indian meat and poultry preparations and variations of Indian vegetables and spices will also be conducted for the delegation.
“In 2017, we collaborated with Turismo de Portugal to bring forward this exchange program. Tourism is a thriving industry in Portugal. We can work together to improve the level of instruction we provide to our students. We are carefully collaborating with the Portuguese student group to give them a taste of India’s rich gastronomic and cultural legacy. This is the first time we are hosting the students after the pandemic, and we are ecstatic to have such a versatile and enthusiastic group of budding hoteliers at our campus. We hope this visit truly helps an exchange of ideas and knowledge between the two countries.” opines Professor Irfan Mirza, Director & Principal of the V. M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education.
The four-week-long program will conclude with the VMSIIHE issuing certificates of training to the visiting students and teachers. The second leg of the cultural exchange program will involve students of VMSIIHE visiting Portugal on a similar trip soon to raise awareness of the value of training for the growth and sustainability of the tourism industry in both countries.