Making an Impact: International Conference at the University of Surrey 2016
The University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management celebrated an inspiring week of networking, collaboration and discussion at its 2016 international conference between 19 and 22 July 2016.
Last month saw the University of Surrey host experts from academia, practice, policy and leading NGOs, at its fourth Hospitality and Tourism Management Conference.
The conference brought together almost 200 delegates and invited speakers from Japan and China to the US, Brazil and Australia, 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 behavior 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 from 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 utilize both academic and industry expertise to address global challenges.
Conversation with industry
In addition to the main plenary sessions, a range of eight workshops were delivered in partnership between academics and industry. With topics ranging from digital futures to gender equality and the future of sustainable tourism, delegates were free to choose which workshops they attended, ensuring that the emerging conversations, idea generation and networking opportunities were driven by the relevant expertise and enthusiasm of those in the room.
Socialising into the small hours
The conference had a strong social element, making networking comfortable and easy for everyone. Delegates were well catered for by the school’s Lakeside restaurant team with meals al fresco, and a final day gala dinner next to Guildford cathedral featuring entertainment by local musicians and Surrey students.
Reflecting on why the event was so important, Professor Nigel Morgan, Conference Chair, commented: “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, Senior Vice-President, Government and Industry Affairs, WTTC, commented: “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 caliber speakers and productive, interactive sessions.”
The University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is the leading center 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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