The meeting was reconvened in 2014 following the success of the five previous conferences starting in Segovia in 2004, followed by Bologna (2006); Malta (2008); The New Forest, home of the Wessex Institute (2010) and A Coruña (2012).
The Sustainable Tourism conference is well established after ten successful years and it attracts papers on a wide variety of topics. The material presented in the book, as well as those from previous conferences, is of interest to the wide community as well as to the tourist industry which can find in the conference volumes, a point of reference for strategic planning and programme development. All the papers published since the first meeting in 2004 are part of the WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment and archived in the Wessex Institute eLibrary (http://library.witpress.com/) where they are permanently and easily available to the international community. There the wide variety of topics discussed during the meetings can be appreciated. The papers also demonstrate the importance of the conference series in providing invaluable material to study this ever expanding field of human activity.
Tourism, research and development encompass many different fields of knowledge. The Sustainable Tourism conferences offer a forum to discuss the diverse components of tourism phenomena, ranging from biophysics, to socio-economic and cultural aspects, as well as field studies and academic research, stressing as well the entrepreneurial and institutional side of the industry.
During the last decade, the meeting has enhanced and reflected the changes in the field. The conference now has to address, among other aspects, the need to develop dynamic models that can analyse existing data to predict future trends. In this manner, pathways can be established for different sections of the market including different types of tourism, ranging from the classical “4S” to historical, cultural and ecological tourism.
Opening of the ConferenceThe conference was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia who referred to the importance of the conference series to fulfil the objectives of the Institute, ie the transfer of knowledge at an international level. The Institute – Carlos said – carries out this function through a series of activities, including conferences. Other activities are industrial research for engineering industries, such as energy and aerospace, amongst others. This work is based on research carried out at the Institute on advanced software tools, particularly in the area of numerical methods for which WIT has acquired an international reputation.
Another important activity of the Wessex Institute is the publishing and dissemination of books and journals, in digital as well as paper format. Conferences such as Sustainable Tourism are part of the important WIT Transactions series.
Carlos also referred to the training and research activities taking place at the Institute campus in the New Forest. There the Institute has residential facilities for students and visitors, and can provide an environment ideal for research.
Carlos ended his address hoping that some of the delegates will consider visiting the WIT campus in the near future so that they can better appreciate the work of the Institute.
Welcome and Keynote AddressesSrecko Favro welcomed the delegates to Croatia and explained the motivation to support the conference. He mentioned that he has collaborated with WIT in organising two important meetings on Island Sustainability, a topic of great interest for his country. Many islands in Croatia have lost their population in recent years, a trend that the government is now trying to reverse.
Srecko referred to the potentialities of Croatia, including its rich history and culture. Of particular importance is nautical tourism, a form of tourism that respects rather than damages the environment. There is a large potential for marinas in the Dalmatian Coast.
Croatia is particularly aware of the need to respect and protect its unique environment and expects this investment in nautical tourism to grow rapidly.
The important point – Srecko stated – is to take full advantage of Croatia’s beautiful natural environment. The benefits from this should go to the local community. Srecko’s argument was that nautical tourism can be seen as eco-friendly and helps to create a suitable environment for repopulating many of the now deserted islands.
The keynote address of the conference was given by Prof Ulrike Pröbstl-Haider from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna on the topic “Green meetings: ecocertification of sustainable events in conference and business tourism”, a paper which was well received and led to a lively discussion.
Invited PresentationsOther invited lectures were:
- “Accessing the attitudes of successors in dairy farms towards educational tourism” by Yasuo Ohe, Professor of Rural Economics at Chiba University, Japan.
- “The evaluation of the present anchorage condition and the development tendency in Zadar County” by Srecko Favro, Ship Survey Consultant and Hydrographical Institute of Croatia.
- “Environmental valuation by the local population and visitors for zoning a protected area” by Francisco Pineda, Complutense University of Madrid
Social OccasionsThe conference offered numerous occasions for the participants to interact with each other through a series of social functions, including lunches and coffee breaks.
The International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) of the Conference met over dinner to discuss ways in which the Call for Papers could be improved when the meeting is reconvened in 2016. A series of new topics were proposed that reflect new research carried out in tourism and the demands of the industry. New names were proposed for the ISAC and a series of possible locations discussed. The WIT Conference Division will investigate the facilities offered by each site to decide where to hold the next meeting.
An excursion was offered to visit the ancient city of Pula, the origins of which are pre-Roman. There have been human settlements there for at least the last five millennia, but the city architecture and culture has been influenced by the Romans and later the Venetians.
The most outstanding Roman remains in Pula is its large amphitheatre which could hold up to ten thousand spectators and is in reasonably good condition.
Several Roman temples are still standing in the main square as well as a beautiful Venetian building, housing the City government. Pula was an important trading port for the Romans and many reminders of the port are still dotted around town.
The delegates had lunch in Pula, which was followed by a guided tour of the main places in town, ending in the amphitheatre museum.
The conference banquet was another occasion for the delegates to build stronger links. It consisted of a boat trip followed by a sit down dinner in beautiful surroundings.
The boat trip took the delegates around Opatija bay so that they could appreciate the hills, summer houses and hotels that cover the slopes and the shore. Then they had a glass of Spumante and some canapés.
Upon disembarkation the delegates were taken to a restored residence known for its paintings, prints and other works of art, and from there proceeded to the restaurant where the dinner was to take place. This was an old house, beautifully restored, facing the bay. The dinner took place in a room whose walls were covered in paintings. There they had an outstanding meal consisting of Croatian specialities and accompanied by local wines and music of the region. The dishes included pasta, beef and home made ice cream.
The evening was most enjoyable and helped to consolidate the links between the participants.
Closing of the ConferenceThe meeting was closed by Carlos who thanked all delegates for their support of the WIT conference programme. The meeting was highly successful in terms of interaction amongst the delegates and quality of the presentations. The location of Opatija was particularly appreciated as Croatia is very conscious of the importance of protecting its unique environment and developing a tourism industry in harmony with nature.
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 187 of WIT Transactions on the Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1746-448X, Digital ISSN 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com