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News article

York Business School encourages radical thinking about the purpose of tourism

Published: 18 June 2020

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The COVID-19 outbreak has led to the cancellation of many events, conferences and gatherings that York plays host to. However, during these challenging times York Business School at York St John University, in collaboration with the Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI), hosted a virtual tourism conference on the theme: ‘What’s Tourism got to do with it? Re-purposing tourism: engaging our radical in tourism education.’  

The conference attracted leading tourism professionals and academics attending online from all over the world including Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, India, Brazil, the USA and CanadaTEFI is about challenging the status quo, inspiring innovative, values-based learning, and re-thinking tourism education for a dramatically changing world. York Business School saw the importance of this thinking at such a difficult time and pressed ahead with holding the conference online to share these important messages globally. 

Dr Brendan Paddison, Associate Dean of York Business School and Chair of the conference organising committee said:  

“COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill, with tourism the worst affected of all major economic sectors. Even before COVID-19, there were concerns regarding the economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts of tourism, whether that be overtourism, the climate crisis, the availability and quality of tourism work, or the capacity of communities to absorb tourism. There is an urgent need to move beyond business as usual approaches and to think radically about the purpose of tourism. 

“This conference provided the platform to challenge, debate and examine the potential tourism holds to facilitate the transformation to a less harmful kind of tourism. Purposeful tourism is about creating sustainable places to live, work and visit, based on creating value that is more than the pursuit of profitTourism education is at the forefront of this challenge and it is fitting that York St John University is the host of TEFI 11.”  

The conference heard from two keynote speakers, Professor Dianne Dredge, Founder & Director of The Tourism CoLab, and Gavin Bate, founder of Adventure Alternative and NGO Moving Mountains. Researchers and practitioners from all over the world met online to exchange ideas and foster collaborations, drawing inspiration from a globally connected world of ideas and knowledge.  

The conference was kindly supported by Yorkshire Tea, who provided all delegates with their own pack of Yorkshire Tea to enjoy while they participated in the conference. If delegates cannot come to Yorkshire right now, Yorkshire will find a way to come to them. 

More information about TEFI and the conference is available at: 

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