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ITC Tutor Sio Alatini among top tourism scholars in New Zealand

November 2014

The International Travel College of New Zealand (ITC) is incredibly proud of one of its star tutors, Sio Alatini, who recently graduated with a Master of International Tourism Management from AUT. Sio achieved an outstanding A+ grade, placing her among the top graduates in the country.

Born in Tonga, Sio used her experience of travelling back to her home country as inspiration for her Masters Thesis. She researched the tourism phenomenon of visiting friends and relatives (VFR). This type of travel drives many people to visit new countries every year, but according to Sio’s research, it lacks the same level of academic focus as other key drivers such as business, education and health.

Sio set out to change this by producing excellent and much-needed research about VFR’s role in Tongan culture. In her Thesis, she explores how VFR sends Tongans travelling in many directions; some return to their homeland, while others leave their home country to see relatives abroad. Sio analysed how this type of travel serves to maintain and evolve Tonga’s culture.

Her research has been celebrated in New Zealand and abroad. Sio presented her work in Canberra earlier this year at the Pacific Research Colloquium 2014. She told AUT that she was “humbled to be given the opportunity to showcase [her] work to top researchers of the Pacific”.

Sio currently teaches at ITC’s Botany Campus and she says studying tourism to a higher education level has helped her become a better tutor. The Masters Programme provided her with an in-depth understanding of the tourism sector, as well as improved teaching, analytical and research skills.

Students at ITC are extremely fortunate to benefit from Sio’s extensive knowledge of the industry. She brings passion, commitment and a positive attitude to the College, which has been providing training in aviation, travel and tourism since 1996.

“Sio joined the Botany team and very quickly her experience and knowledge of the travel and tourism sector from her studies gave our students the cutting edge in gaining their qualification,” ITC Botany Campus Manager Natasha Allen said.

Sio has also played a major role in the delivery of a new Level 5 Diploma Qualification at Botany. Expecting her fourth child, Sio will be missed by staff and students alike when she goes on maternity leave at the end of this year.

“We wish her all the best for the arrival of her 4th daughter and look forward to her returning to the college next year to embark on another Level 5 class,” Natasha said.