International workshop in support of sustainable hospitality at VUM

The two-day workshop, dedicated to increasing the capacity of umbrella organizations from the Balkan-Mediterranean region for sustainable hospitality development generated high interest. More than 100 participants and guests attended the Conference hall of the Varna University of Management and enjoyed the attractive presentations of leading lecturers and hospitality industry professionals, representatives of tourist associations as well as prominent entrepreneurs and innovators from the hospitality sector.

They presented innovative solutions and suggestions on various themes from the sustainability spectrum – responsible and accessible tourism, tourist destinations development, digitization needs and new software solutions for sustainable management of restaurants and lodging establishments and others.

Among the guest speakers was Dr. Desislava Dimitrova, Associate Professor at the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Coordinator of Slow Food for Bulgaria. She captured the audience with “Geography of Food – Stories and Images from Rural Territories” as well as with up-to-date information on the Slow Food movement, the main purpose of which is to preserve local gastronomic traditions, encourage the cultivation of local varieties of seeds, breed domestic animals.

A culinary demonstration on sustainable innovative technologies was presented by the Programme Director of the Culinary Arts Institue at Varna University of Management, Mr. Hugues Boutin. Together with some of his students, he presented the idea of ​​sustainable cooking and impressed the attendees with a glimpse of how few unattractive products could be turned into a fine piece of culinary art.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maya Ivanova, Associate Professor of Tourism at Varna University of Management presented “The Next Tourism Generation” Project aimed at improving a collaborative and productive relationship between education and industry as a result of which a set of core NTG modules for digital, green and social skills will be provided to employees, employers, entrepreneurs, teachers, trainers and students.

Provocative and fascinating was the topic “Augmented and virtual reality: new tools for

sustainability and experiential tourism” presented by the Director of the Center for Innovation and Experimental Technologies, Mr. Georgi Hristov.

In open discussions and work in groups, participants from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and North Macedonia exchanged experience and discussed the applicability of the presented approaches in their work and in their national context.

The Workshop was organized by the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Association and Varna University of Management within the framework of the project “Entrepreneurial Learning Exchange Initiative for Sustainable Hospitality SMEs in the Balkan-Mediterranean Region ” (HELIX). The project is implemented under Subsidy Contract No. BMP1/1.3/2616/2017, Priority Axis 1 “Entrepreneurship and Innovation”, Interreg V-B  Balkan-Mediterranean Programme (2014-2020).