Published: 21 October 2016

Making an impact

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management celebrated an inspiring week of networking, collaboration and discussion at its 2016 international conference, attended by experts from academia, practice, policy and leading NGOs.

This fourth annual conference brought together almost 200 delegates with the key focus on ‘making an impact’ and forging constructive conversations between academia and the global hospitality and tourism industry.

A packed schedule of keynote speeches, plenary sessions and workshops covered topics from future tourist behaviour and the role of big data, to destination marketing, sustainable tourism, gender and wellbeing.

Keynote speakers included Robert Govers, managing research partner of Good Country, who spoke about performance indexes for cities and countries, and Helen Marano, Senior Vice-President, Government and Industry Affairs at the World Travel and Tourism Council, who highlighted the key challenges facing the tourism sector such as security, digital innovation and achieving sustainable growth.

Helen emphasised the importance of public-private collaboration in future-proofing the industry and highlighted the positive impact of tourism on fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity and distinctiveness around the globe.

John Hillary, Executive Director for War on Want, encouraged delegates to take action and utilise both academic and industry expertise to address global challenges.

In addition to the main plenary sessions, eight workshops were delivered with topics ranging from digital futures to gender equality and the future of sustainable tourism.

Reflecting on why the event was so important, Professor Nigel Morgan, Chair in Hospitality and Tourism Management at Surrey and Conference Chair, said: “All our research impacts on society, the economy, the student experience and on knowledge production and scholarship itself. These few days of discussions have challenged us to think about how we combine practical, theoretically- and methodically-rigorous knowledge that has resonance in the wider world.”

Helen Marano said: “It was a privilege to be part of the conference and render the private sector perspective on how university research can be relevant to current needs, to underpin future trends and strengthen partnerships together. Congratulations on delivering such a robust programme with high calibre speakers and productive, interactive sessions.”

The School is the leading centre for research and teaching and is currently ranked number one in the Guardian University Guide 2017. The School has been ranked in the world’s top four since 1980 and 94 per cent of its graduates are in employment or education within six months of graduating.


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