Tourism Management Graduate Avianne Birkett

Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Photo of Avianne Birkett in Paris

Home is Barbados for Avianne Birkett, but having just graduated from the School's Tourism Management she is participating in an internship with Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Ontario this summer.  She is very excited as they are embracing a year round strategy which differs from Barbados significantly with its sea, sun and sand.  "This is a great opportunity to explore and learn which hopefully leads to greater things".

We asked Avianne a few questions... 

Describe your best HFTM memory or moment as a HAFA or Tourism student.

My best memory would have to be at Orientation week 2011 for HTM students when we took the bus trip out to Rockwood where we were introduced to the HTMSA Board and Faculty members. I clearly remember the student president at the time being drenched after a water balloon fight. It was hilarious and this experience really showed me that the students here at University of Guelph can be really accepting.

Any words or advice for future high school students interested in the tourism major at the U of G?

Never limit yourself and it is okay to colour outside of the lines. You define what your education can be and U of G is a great place to start your journey.

Looking back, is there anything you would have changed in the past four years?

To be more involved in campus life! There is more than one way to get to your destination - some routes take longer than others and the scenic ones should be appreciated.

In high school, did you see yourself where you are today?

No I did not! I just knew that I wanted to be involved in Tourism in some way but had no idea what that would look like. Attending U of G helped to make that vision a bit clearer.

Your proudest life moment was…

Deciding and following through on my decision to go out West and work for the summer. 

My most successful moment/day in life was…

The most successful moment in my life was when I had the opportunity to meet His Royal Highness Prince Edward after completing my Gold Award with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. All the hard work, tears and sweat had finally paid off within the time-frame I’d set myself: a plan that worked and I enjoyed following.

Did any Professor particularly stand out for you?  Why?

Assistant Professor Justin Taillon has stood out to me as he taught several courses that I took. He takes a vested interest in students and really wants them to succeed. He tries to get students to see the ‘big picture’, he sees the potential that each student has and encourages them to go after it.

The best thing/phrase anyone has ever said to you is...

One of the greatest things that has been said to me is “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure” - a quote by Marianne Williamson. This was said by motivational speaker Tony Olton and this changed my perspective about my potential and role in life.

My future travel plans include…

Travelling to as many countries as possible.

In the next five years, I can see myself…

Obtaining a Master’s degree and working outside of Canada.

What are your future goals?

My goals include being fluent in Spanish and French by age 26 and be able to contribute to tourism development in my country within 15 years after graduation. I also hope to own a bed & breakfast later on in the future. 


Your favorite food is ….

Cou-cou and flying fish- the national dish of Barbados.

Your favorite drink is …

Mauby – a drink made from the bark of buckthorn tree found in the Caribbean.

Your favorite place to travel was..…

Across Canada by jeep.  From Inuvik and the mouth of the MacKenzie River (with 24 hours of sunlight) to Montreal.  Four weeks of adventure, wild life, sampling restaurants and hotels.

What no one realizes about me is ….

I am an adventurer - canoeing, hiking, cross-country travelling etc.

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