This year, 18 Masters of Tourism (MTM) China students along with Dr. Lina Xiong attended the Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook conference hosted by The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Guilin Government. Attendees included tourism practitioners, academics, and policy-makers from all over the world. It was bilingual with on-site simultaneous translation so that the MTM-China students could learn and interact with international practitioners and scholars with ease. This conference was highlighted in national news as well as BBC international. Under the theme of sustainable tourism, students learned about the importance of conservation and tourism from social, economic, environmental, cultural, and political perspectives. Students also went on various tours hosted by Guilin government and learned about first-hand tourism practices in the local areas.
As a part of NRRT 679, students had to conduct interviews on other conference attendees. Students interviewed leading Chinese tourism research scholars such as Dr. Bihu Wu from Peking University and Dr. Jie Zhang from Nanjing University regarding Chinese sustainable tourism development. Some MTM students interviewed Mr. Márcio Favilla,Executive Director at UNWTO, regarding sustainable tourism development and livelihoods of local communities. Mr. Favilla was especially interested in MTM-China’s involvement in this conference as spoke highly of Colorado State University’s affiliation with UNWTO through UNWTO’s Themis Foundation.
This conference was a special opportunity to extend students’ learning on tourism practices. Many of the conference speeches tie back to MTM’s courses, providing worldwide sustainable tourism development cases that help students connect dots and view tourism as a development tool for social, economic, cultural, and environmental purposes. In addition, students highly appreciated the valuable networking opportunities that connect them with many leading tourism practitioners and scholars. It is a very productive educational experience for students.
Written by Assistant Professor Lina Xiong, Ph.D.