Experience and wellness economy

The unit for experience and wellness economy organises Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes in restaurant and tourism management, business and sports. The Haaga-Helia unit for experience and wellness economy operates on the Haaga, Porvoo and Vierumäki campuses.

Targets exceeded in education development

In 2017, we organised Bachelor’s programmes in restaurant and tourism management, business and sports as well as in Master’s programmes in sports through daytime teaching and multi-disciplinary education. The graduation rate exceeded our degree objectives by 8%, and we also exceeded our annual target in study progress. The total number of completed degrees was slightly lower than in 2016, which was due to the admission quota reductions carried out in 2012–2014 in the hospitality management programme. We expanded Haaga-Helia’s Open University of Applied Sciences and summer semester teaching on all campuses.

Number of Experience and Wellness Economy students 2017


The focus of development in our education on all campuses was on strengthening competence-based curricula, flexible study paths, team-based teaching and educationalisation. We participated as teachers in development program HH-Pedaali workshops and were in many ways involved in Haaga-Helia’s pedagogical development and successful auditing of the quality system.

On the Porvoo campus, we implemented the Campus 2.0 curriculum in all courses provided. In January, we launched our first English-language Aviation Business degree programme. The programme students include two of Finland’s first degree students who pay a tuition for their education. At the end of the year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) awarded the School of Vocational Teacher Education the status of an authorised aviation training centre.

On the Haaga campus, we began the development of the “Hospitality management graduate in the 2020s” competences together with the new Advisory Board and integrated student representatives more closely in quality assurance work. In Vierumäki, we reformed the curricula of the Master’s degree in sports. We aligned the manager and team organisations on all campuses with Haaga-Helia’s competence areas to better support working in accordance with the reformed curricula.

Successes in working life cooperation and project operations

We signed several new partnership agreements, which improved connections between industry and education as well as the related operating conditions. The Haaga Place to Be concept brought together partner companies, students and teachers on the Haaga campus. All studies on the Vierumäki campus were completed in working life projects. The new initiatives included, among other things, camps for upper secondary school pupils, which attracted more than 200 young athletes on 14 camps, each focusing on a different sport. In Porvoo campus, students generated branding-related information for companies and designed logos. On all campuses, we organised several seminar events targeted at students and business representatives. Some of the events were international.

We participated in several projects funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, ESF, ERDF, Interreg and Tekes. The Box project, which studies chromatic atmospheres by means of soundscape, psychoacoustic and sensory stimulation, haptic feedback and augmented reality, was among the most significant of the projects and received the PRO award. Other sizeable projects included, for example, the Helsinki Olympic Stadium development project and the national food tourism project. We also coordinated the national Hungry for Finland food tourism competition in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Visit Finland and the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK). We broke our records in the share of commercial research and development services. The Haaga campus, in particular, performed well.

Increasingly international operations

Our international operations continued. Our Porvoo campus and University of Stenden, our Dutch key partner, underwent an institutional peer review of tourism education, and we prepared for a similar review in the hotel, restaurant and tourism management education on the Haaga campus. We also continued joint teaching and research projects. On the Haaga campus, we negotiated extensions to the double degree agreements with NHTV Breda and IMC Krems. We carried out our first commercial project, in which NHTV Breda’s experts were in charge of one sub-project.

In Haaga, our continued exports of hotel and restaurant education to Malta produced 17 completed Bachelor’s degrees within the year. In addition, we prepared Master’s level education in Malta. In Estonia, we continued the hospitality sector education. In Porvoo campus, we signed a cooperation agreement with the Chinese Chongqing University of Science and Technology on the provision of Aviation Business education and teaching staff coaching. We also prepared an extensive cooperation project in the aviation sector with Finnish and Russian partner companies and institutes of higher education.

Representatives of Porvoo campus participated in the Busco project surveying education export opportunities in Tanzania. In Vierumäki campus, the first Chinese students started their third year studies as part of the Sports Management cooperation with the Chinese Guangzhou Polytechnic of Sports. We prepared a Bachelor-level extension for the programme. In Austria, twenty coaches completed our hockey coaching development programme. Experts from Vierumäki campus participated in the development project related to lifestyle counselling for the young in Kenya, led by the University of Helsinki.

Our active international student and trainee exchange programme continued. Our students took part in numerous international seminars and took study trips to several destinations. Representatives of our unit gave presentations at several international conferences in the sector, and we participated in the operations of international organisations in our sectors.

The Box project was recognised as the innovation of the year

The Box, a joint project of Haaga-Helia and Tekes on chromatic atmospheres, was recognised at the HoReCa sector’s PRO Gala event in January 2018. The Box received the innovation of the year award in the Innovation category. The project studies and develops the use of sensory stimulating technologies. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality principles are applied to create new Mixed Reality atmospheres. The sensory stimulation methods include adjustable spaces, soundscape and olfactory stimulation.