International tourism conference to be held at AIT

A major conference on smart thinking in tourism will be held at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT ) on 14-15 June.

THRIC 2011 is the seventh annual Tourism Hospitality Research in Ireland Conference and attracts more than 100 delegates from the tourism industry and academic circles.

Keynote addresses will be made on smart thinking in special interest tourism and on the smart use of social media in hospitality by Dr Melanie Smith, Corvinus University, Budapest and by Barry Chandler, founder of Interactive Hospitality.

A wide variety of topics will also be covered in a series of parallel sessions, including tourism marketing at heritage sites, film-induced tourism, the economic impact of the Volvo Ocean race stopover in Galway, the current state of cooking in Ireland, and changing the image of Limerick through sport.

John O’Hara, head of the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Studies at AIT, said: “The tourism industry continues to be one of the largest drivers of economic activity in Ireland. We have seen how consumers are responding to value in the marketplace, but we have to offer more than low prices if tourism is to return to growth. This conference is an opportunity to look at the industry from an academic and practitioner perspective, and this cross-fertilisation offers considerable opportunities for generating fresh ideas,” he said.

“The theme of this conference, smart thinking, not only taps into the zeitgeist, but also challenges us to be radical in our approach to tourism and hospitality management. As educators of future employees in the industry, it demands that we nurture in our students the skills and mindset that will be required for success not just in 2011, but in 2012 and beyond.”

The conference is sponsored by Athlone Town Council, Fáilte Ireland, Hodson Bay Hotel, Sheraton Hotel Athlone, and Tourism Ireland. Further information is available online at ait.ie/thric

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