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The Seventh International Hospitality and Tourism Research Conference Switzerland @ HTMi
The Seventh International Hospitality and Tourism Research Conference Switzerland was held over a two-day period in November 2011. The conference theme was ‘Contemporary Issues in Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management’ and, over the course of two days, the Conference brought together leading researchers from across the world, HTMi faculty and HTMi senior students, to discuss issues facing the future of the hospitality, tourism and events management industries. The conference this time had 30 nationalities of young researchers and internationally renowned researchers and Professors from around the world.

The opening address was given by Dr Hazel Sommerville, HTMi, who introduced Mr Ian Larmour, Director HTMi, by video link from China.  Mr Larmour warmly welcomed everyone to the Conference, with a particular welcome for our international guests from England, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Switzerland and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. In the latter part of her address, Dr Sommerville emphasised the importance of education, and of research in particular, for ensuring that graduates are fit for purpose, best equipped to deal with the challenges ahead, and able to guarantee future success of the industry.  In this context, Dr Sommerville drew attention to the unique feature of HTMi Conferences in that they are student-focussed.  They include a large number of students in their audiences and devote much time to providing a forum where students at BSc (Honours) and MBA levels can present their own research work and receive feedback internationally renowned researchers.

In total, 19 research papers, lectures and workshops were delivered to the Conference by invited guest presenters and two papers by HTMi faculty. In addition, there were presentations by six HTMi MBA students and 30 BSc (Honours) students.  

The Conference keynote speakers were Professor John Tribe (University of Surrey, UK) and Dr Noelle O’Connor (Limerick Institute of Technology Ireland). In the first Keynote Address, Professor Tribe, one of the world’s leading tourism researchers (shown in the photo presenting at the conference) , introduced the Developments in Tourism Research which have taken place in tourism over its long history, using art as his medium. Dr O’Connor’s keynote address Celebrity Endorsement of Tourism Destinations: Evaluating the Strength of the JFK Brand/Imagery in Ireland discussed the importance of celebrity endorsement in developing and sustaining tourism across the world.
On day one, the topics presented included Towards Professional Certification Through Event Workplace Experience by Mrs. Janet Landey of Skills Village 2030 South Africa; Interdisciplinarity in Tourism Research: Trends and Scenarios by Dr Katia Sidali of Georg August University of G?ttingen Germany; The Middle East’s Hospitality Industry: Dynamic or Dynamite? by Mr Karl Russell, London Metropolitan University UK; and The Commercial Context of Adventure Tourism Experiences: Risk and Competence by Dr Birgit Trauer, Zayed University, Dubai UAE.  An eloquent summary of day one of the Conference was given by Mr Lyn Fawcett of the University of Ulster UK.
Day two was dominated by HTMi student presentations, covering such diverse topics as An analysis of challenges in relation to transplant tourism in Singapore;  An analysis of how organizations use public relations to recover from consumer boycotts: The case of Kentucky Fried Chicken;  The effect of multi-cultural staff on organizational culture: A case study of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Macau;  Measuring service quality: A study of hotels of Switzerland;  A new way to motivate Generation Y in the hospitality industry;  Do Swiss employers value the importance of higher education in the hospitality and tourism industry?

Overall, the conference was an exciting and stimulating event and presented many opportunities for discussion and networking amongst delegates, HTMi faculty and HTMi students.

Here are a few comments from delegates who attended the conference:

“Many thanks for your kind invitation to be part of your conference. I must compliment you on the wonderful organisation, the quality of the speakers and the amazing hospitality. Your students “did you proud” they are so professional, caring and warm. Congratulations to Hazel and Anthony, your colleagues and most of all to your students.”

Mr S Lyn Fawcett
Member of University Council,
Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster Business School, University of Ulster, UK

“You put on a fabulous show. It was an absolute pleasure to come to S?renberg and talk about sustainable hospitality. I was touched by the professionalism, warmth and friendliness of everyone concerned with the event. By the way, your students are fantastic! Anthony, I know I do not have to tell you but you are a great event organizer!”

Mr. Philip Sloan
Internationale Fachhochschule Bad Honnef, Germany

“Thank you and thanks to all of your colleagues for arranging such a fantastic conference. I know only too well the amount of time and work that goes into the organisation of such a prestigious event. The conference was both insightful and enlightening and I learned much from the variety of topics that were discussed and analysed. The hospitality was truly amazing and I very much enjoyed the themed Romanian evening provided by your students. Our travel arrangements were organised in a thorough and faultless manner.”

Mr. Philip Robertson
Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ulster Business School, University of Ulster, UK

The conference papers will soon be available for viewing online at the official website of the Conference Organiser, the International Hospitality Research Centre Switzerland.

The 2012 IHTRCS Conference takes place on Thursday, 3rd and Friday, 4th May 2012.

Dr Hazel Sommerville, Head of Research HTMi, November 2011

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