More than 65 academic hospitality and tourism professionals from Australia, New Zealand, America and Europe took part in this special event that is one of the few conferences to have actually taken place in the sector. The Tourism, Hospitality & Events INternational Conference (THE_INC) is co-organised by NHL Stenden (NL), the University of Derby (UK) and the University of Sunderland (UK).
The themes originally planned for the biennial THE_INC took on a new twist as a result of the corona pandemic. The tourism and hospitality industries have always been subject to change but now more than ever there is a need to let go of old ideas and innovate strongly.
Smaller events that connect
The focus of the conference was on the changes that need to take place within the tourism and hospitality industries. Dr Tomas Pernecky, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Culture & Society at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, predicts that conferences and events will take on different forms post-Covid-19. “They’ll be smaller, more authentic and more closely connected to the community,” says Pernecky. Dr Judith Mair, Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, Australia, spoke of the importance of sustainability in the sector and the need to concentrate on how events can benefit more intrinsic factors such as identity, happiness and solidarity.
Precisely because of the huge challenges currently facing the industry, the Academy of International Hospitality Research (AIHR), Stenden Hotel Management School’s research centre, made particular efforts to present a successful online international event. Professor of Hospitality Studies at Stenden Hotel Management School, Erwin Losekoot is happy with the result. "We wanted to make this conference a showcase event and that’s exactly what we’ve done.” Professor Tomas Pernecky reiterated the sentiment, ““THE INC 2020 conference was a very stimulating and lively event, executed with exceptional online service. It was wonderful to be part of a growing community of tourism, hospitality and events thinkers who are passionate about expanding research on co-creation into new realms of knowledge.”
The next THE_INC conference will take place in 2022 on Cyprus.