Conference aims to boost tourism, hospitality and gastronomy industries

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  • Monday, 10 Dec 2012

TAYLOR’S School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary arts (TCHT) recently hosted its fourth Asia-Euro Conference 2012.

More than 300 delegates from 26 countries across five continents attended the conference that explored multidisciplinary approaches to elevate the tourism, hospitality and gastronomy industries in Malaysia and beyond.

TCHT worked together with its partner, the University of Toulouse, to organise the four-day event with speakers such as Professor Dr C Michael Hall from University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, and Professor Dr Fevzi Okumus, University of Central Florida in the US.

Deputy Higher Education Minister Dr Hou Kok Chung officiated at the opening of the conference and participants ranged from captains of industry and researchers to post-graduate students.

“Tourism has contributed tremendously to the nation’s growth and we see corresponding sectors such as hospitality and gastronomy playing a significant role.

“Establishing good synergy between industry experts and academia is the key to deliver a shared vision for the future of our tourism, hospitality and gastronomy sectors,” said Taylor’s University deputy vice-chancellor Pradeep Nair.

Spread across three ‘rapid fire’ sessions, industry experts addressed gastronomy, tourism and hospitality issues such as ‘Slow Food versus Fast Food’, ‘High Yield Tourism: Quality versus Quantity’ and ‘Should Unemployment Insurance be Introduced in Malaysia?’ respectively.

Panelists in all three sessions concluded that concerted effort to look at multidisciplinary approaches was key for the tourism, hospitality and gastronomy sectors due to political circumstances, economic volatilities, sociological evolutions, environmental issues and demographic changes among others.

The panelists all agreed there was no one easy solution that fits all.

Pradeep said the conference ended on a good note.

“It is when respectable industry experts and academia from each field come together that we get the most inspiring ideas and varied viewpoints.

“I am optimistic that, moving forward, TCHT and the industries will be able to take constructive steps towards achieving what has been discussed here,” Pradeep said.

Dr Hou opined that the conference was a prime example of how a tertiary institution actively engages industry experts to pursue academic excellence.

“Conferences are a tested example of the transfer of knowledge in higher education.

“It is a big step in the right direction as experts from Asia and Europe come together to explore possible concepts and solutions for the tourism, hospitality and gastronomy industries,” he said.

Other concurrent activities during the fourth Asia Euro Conference 2012 included several sessions to promote dialogue on specific topics, share research works and allow for networking with leading academic and industry experts.

These sessions were chaired by representatives from the International Association of French-Speaking Sociologists (AISLF), Graduate Research Colloquium (GRC) in Hospitality and Tourism and the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA).

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