Interaction between tourism students and those practising and teaching the subject is vital, if tourism has to reach the stakeholders. But is that happening?
An interaction between industry professionals and students of tourism is all the more important if the subject under discussion is as important as ‘Empowering Communities for Inclusive Tourism Development,’ which was the theme of the 4th International Conference On Sustainable Destination Excellence, organised by the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM), University of Jammu, on March 3 and 4, 2017.
“What added to the value of the meet was the presence of delegates from as many as eight countries, apart from scholars, students and researchers from several parts of the country. Over a 100 papers were presented, which will be published in a book form,” said Prof. Parikshat Singh Manhas, Director, SHTM, and Conference Convener.
There were 10 tracks during the technical sessions, where subjects ranged from case studies, social transformation, and entrepreneurial opportunities to human and social issues in tourism. The most interesting part of the meet was the presentations, heard in rapt attention by the students, of delegates from Hungary, Taiwan, Israel, Kazakhstan, among others, who added a fresh perspective to how the sustainable issues are handled in their respective countries. Jammu and Kashmir Minister of State for Tourism Priya Sethi set the ball rolling, as it were, by pointing out that a proper way to analyse sustainable tourism is to scrutinize how it can meet the needs of the host population in improving the standards of living in short and long term. Making tourism work for sustainable development was vital, she said.
Farooq Shah, Secretary Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir Government, said it was important to see how tourism was changing and how fragile natural resources were. Interestingly, Kashmiri politician Sajjad Lone, spoke of the supply side, saying that infrastructure has to be developed and the tourists given options and choices to see destinations.