The University of Johannesburg’s School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH), together with University of Oulu (Finland), today hosted the inaugural International Conference from Recovery to Resilience in Tourism on Monday, 11 September 2023.
The two-day conference brings together local and internationally distinguished tourism and hospitality scholars, emerging researchers, and postgraduate students at the level of PhD. to explore sustainable pathways for transforming the tourism industry in the context of recovery and resilience building. Today’s keynote speakers are Prof Robin Nunkoo, from the University of Mauritius, whose address focused on the need for interdisciplinary perspectives in tourism research, and Ms. Judy Kepher-Gona, the founder and principal consultant of Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda (STTA), whose address is titled ‘Communities and the future of Sustainable Tourism’.
In his welcome address to delegates, Conference Co-Chair and Academic Head for Tourism at STH, Professor Tembi Tichaawa explained: “The conference is premised on the fact that for a long time, tourism has been considered a highly resilient growth-driven industry. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed – at least temporally – the course of tourism development. Instead of being resilient, the tourism industry is now considered a sector that is highly vulnerable to external pressures”. Oulu University Professor Jarkko Saarinen, who also serves as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg, added that “the economic and geopolitical changes impacting tourism sector have activated the need for adaptation, recovery and building better resilience for the sustainability of the sector going forward”.
“This academic conference aligns well with the recent leadership conference hosted by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), where themes of resilience and sustainability were at the forefront of the private and public sector deliberations”, says Prof Diane Abrahams. “The research presented at the conference will in turn provide academic insights on some of the key challenges and opportunities faced in the tourism sector globally”.
The conference has attracted over 100 delegates, from 11 countries and 84 presentations will be delivered over the two days covering a broad range of areas which are: climate and environmental change impacts and resilience; eco, adventure and nature-based tourism; sustainable tourism and hospitality education and learning; tourism and community development; tourism resilience and recovery; sport event tourism and resilience; digitalization and technological solutions for sustainable tourism; tourism, policies and governance, as well as food, tourism and sustainability.