The 16th International Hospitality and Tourism Research Conference Switzerland was held over a two-day period on 21st and 22nd April 2016. The conference addressed the main theme of “Making a difference in hospitality and tourism practice”, which focussed on contributions of managers and leaders to an ever-changing landscape within the hospitality and tourism industry, and a tapestry of issues they might need to face in the future.
Over the course of two days, the conference brought together leading researchers from across Europe, HTMi faculty and HTMi students, to discuss issues facing the future of the hospitality and tourism. The conference had over thirty nationalities of young researchers in addition to internationally renowned academics and practitioners.
In total, four presentations and a series of poster sessions were delivered on the first day by invited keynotes, guest presenters and Masters students. The conference keynote speaker Professor Stephen Boyd (Ulster University), examined linear tourism landscapes and how trails and routes have been indispensable to travel and tourism over the centuries, helping to form the basis of mobility patterns of the past and the present. His paper argued that researchers need to give equal attention to the demand aspects of trails and routes, toward understanding motivation, satisfaction and enjoyment.
Next, Dr. Nadzeya Kalbaska from USI Lugano, highlighted the relevance of eTourism: the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) within tourism and the hospitality industry. An exploration was made on how ICTs are changing individual experience of todays’ travellers and the way in which tourism businesses are being run. In particular, the case of sharing economy was discussed, along with the key market forces (including social, economic drivers and technological enablers) that are disrupting traditional markets.
The afternoon session started by hearing from Mr Zsolt Katona, who as a graduate from the HTMi, followed a professional path that has allowed him to work in world-class international hotels, tourism management companies and in the field of global hospitality supply chain management. The presentation considered diversity as the driver for hospitality innovation and the need for a new type of hotelier, with a wider range of expertise, intersectional and innovative thinking and the ability to turn ideas into reality through successful execution.
Finally, HTMi’s own Chef Andy Kurfürst reviewed the history of food development and the experiential factors associated with eating beyond only taste. He elaborated on food preparation, presentation and composition in an insightful manner that reflected his expertise and many years of international experience.
The latter part of the first day, shifted to poster sessions in the Mariental Campus. These sessions were presented by Masters students who were in the advanced stages of their dissertations and confirmed the quality of contemporary hospitality and tourism research conducted at the HTMi. Furthermore, their presentations were found valuable to all young aspiring researchers and provided thoughts and ideas to making difference in hospitality and tourism practice through research.
The rest of the second day was devoted to HTMi student presentations, covering such diverse topics as dark dining, experiential learning and co-creation at conferences, ecommerce, Japanese popular culture, personality studies, crisis management and backpacking tourism, just to mention a few. These papers reflected an increasing quality and diversity of hospitality, tourism and educational research and additionally contributed to a vast body of knowledge for the 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. The 17th IHTRC Conference will take place in November 2016.