The 69th annual conference of the oldest international association of scientific experts in tourism worldwide AIEST (International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism) was officially opened today in Varna. The opening speeches were made by Prof. Dr. Harald Pechlaner – AIEST President and the host of the event Prof. Stanislav Ivanov – Vice Rector (Research) at Varna University of Management and a member of the AIEST Committee.
Among the guests of the conference are Mr. Tihomir Patarinski – Head of the Tourist Information Center at Varna Municipality, Mr. Henning Krippendorff – Managing Partner at Sortis Hospitality, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rumen Draganov – Member of the Controlling Committee of the National Tourism Board, Mr. Plamen Ralovski – Regional Manager of Balkan Holidays Partners, Mrs. Vanya Atanasova – Manager of Rosslyn Dimyat Hotel Varna, Mrs. Alexandrina Almaleh – Manager of Golden Tulip Varna Hotel, Ms. Donka Georgieva – Manager of AB Travel Ltd. and others. The event is also attended by over 40 scientific experts from 16 countries: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Malta, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The working part of the conference started with an industry discussion panel dedicated to the city of Varna as a tourist destination, followed by the plenary report of the keynote speaker Iis Tussyadiah, Professor of Intelligent Systems in Service and Head of Department of Hospitality at University of Surrey, UK. Prof. Tussyadiah’s research interest centers around the applications and implications of artificial intelligence, particularly in the travel, tourism, and hospitality sectors. Since 2018 she is the President of the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT), as well as a founding member of Alliance for Innovators and Researchers in Tourism and Hospitality (AIRTH).
The main theme of the 69th AIEST conference is “Tourism Frontiers: Theories, Practices, Methodologies”. Today starts the first of the planned sessions “Sustainability in Tourism and Hospitality” and in the coming days, the scientific sessions will focus on issues related to “Destination Management”, “Consumer Behavior”, “Business Models and Management” and others.
The International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (AIEST) was founded in 1951 and is considered to be one of the main drivers for the development of scientific activities in the field of tourism and hospitality. It has over 300 researchers from nearly 50 countries on all continents. The annual AIEST conference is being held in a different location every year and Bulgaria hasn’t hosted the event for 40 years. It is an interesting fact that back in 1979 it was again the Sea Capital of Bulgaria that hosted the 29th edition of the AIEST Conference at the Grand Hotel Varna in the resort of “St. St. Konstantin and Helena” (known as Drouzhba at that time) and was dedicated to the topic of manpower in tourism. More about AIEST can be found athttps://www.aiest.org .