If there’s anyone who knows anything about the travel and tourism industry, it’s BU Alumni Dermot Blastland.
Starting as graduate trainee at Thomson Holidays and working up to Chief Executive at Falcon Leisure Group, Dermot spearheaded the integration of both Thomson and First Choice to TUI Travel, becoming the company’s UK Managing Director, and remaining with them for more than 22 years.
It began after working in the John Lewis Partnership as an O-Level Trainee, when Dermot decided to head into Higher Education. Having lived in the Far East, and with a keen interest in travelling, Dermot applied to BU for one of 48 places on the popular HND Business Studies (Tourism) course (now the fully-fledged BA (Hons) Tourism Management course).
During his time at BU, Dermot’s course looked at how business studies could be applied to tourism, law in aviation, economics in transport, and accounting. Dermot said: “The BU course was clearly to a national HND guideline for Business Studies and gave me a great basic training for business. I subsequently studied for CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and found the accountancy part of the HND put me in good stead to pass the CIMA exams.
“The course I studied was perfect for me entering the travel industry and set me up to qualify as an accountant a few years later.”
Speaking about his time spent in Bournemouth, Dermot said: “A group of us used to like going to Shell Bay at the weekend. I live quite locally in the New Forest, so it’s still a great place to go! I still keep in contact with about four others from my course.”
After an impressive slew of employments in the tourism industry for key industry stalwarts Thomson, First Choice, and TUI, Dermot, now working as a Non-Executive Director for Online Travel Agent, Love Holidays in Hammersmith, puts his success down to working hard but also having fun. He says: “There’s currently a high demand for critical thinking and ability to analyse information, and I think these are skills that current students need to offer.”
“During my time at BU, the lecturers were all enthusiastic, particularly as it was a new course at the time, and I felt the personal attention and support was excellent. The business content on my course really stood out.
“Choosing to go to Bournemouth was without doubt one of the really great decisions I took in my career.”