Travel and tourism students look to the future with Virgin Galactic at the NEC

Travel and Tourism students from Birmingham Metropolitan College were recently invited to discover the future with a visit to the Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo (SS2) and an educational tour at the NEC.

The partnership with Virgin Galactic, which has seen a replica SS2 hosted exclusively at the NEC for almost six months, has proved popular both visitors and locals.

Virgin Galactic – owned by Sir Richard Branson and aabar Investments PJS – is the world’s first commercial spaceline and is revolutionising access to outer space. The SS2 is currently in the pre-powered portion of its incremental test flight programme ahead of its first powered flight, and its customers, who will go through three days of preparation and medical checks prior to their flights, will become official astronauts.

Travel and tourism students look to the future with Virgin Galactic at the NEC
“The NEC is known as the place to discover the future and we are lucky enough to have the future on our doorstep in the form of the SS2,” said Martin Clarke, the NEC’s Marketing Director. “We already work closely with the local community so it is great to be able to offer this opportunity to local schools. Engaging with students through subjects like the sciences or future travel and tourism will help inspire the next generation of professionals and what better way to do this than with a visual representation of how far boundaries can be pushed?

“Together with Birmingham Metropolitan College we found a great fit with their travel and tourism studies, which also gave us the opportunity to communicate our ground-breaking work on sustainability and environmental responsibility and what we’ve achieved so far.”

In addition to visiting the Virgin Galactic SS2, 60 students were given an insight into different areas of the organisation over two days, including Event Management and sustainable tourism, a particularly successful initiative for the NEC having achieved the target of zero-to-waste landfill last year, two years ahead of schedule.

Rachel Chumel, Level 3 Head Tutor at Birmingham Metropolitan College, said: “Being invited to the NEC puts everything that we are teaching into perspective and has proved more beneficial than just flicking through a brochure. This has been a great opportunity for our students to explore and investigate key topics in travel and tourism trends, and to gain an insight into what the future has in store for transport and the environment.”