“Co-creating the buzzword for the tourism sector in the future”

“Co-creating the buzzword for the tourism sector in the future”

The Department of Tourism Studies, Pondicherry University recently tied up with Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Latvia for a two-day institute-industry interaction event that featured knowledge sharing sessions and cultural performances.

Inaugurating ‘Akanksha ’24’, the department’s annual flagship event, Agita Livina, Professor and Director, Institute of Social, Economic and Humanities Studies, Vidzeme University, who was the chief guest, said co-creation and co-ideas are poised to be the buzzwords of tourism in the next decade. The curriculum of tourism academia should give due emphasis to these concepts, she said.

The event, supported by the Bureau of Indian Standards, features panel discussions and special lectures by seasoned industry practitioners, entrepreneurs and interactive sessions with tourism faculty members from across the country. Highlighting the digital and technical skills needed by tourism leaders, Ms. Livina also emphasized the need for students to develop an entrepreneurial and experimental mindset.

K. Tharanikkarasu, Vice-Chancellor (i/c), Pondicherry University, in his presidential address, emphasized the need to strengthen destination marketing. Advocating for an increased focus on integrating ICT with tourism offerings and services, he also suggested ways and means by which educational institutions offering tourism courses could emphasize sustainable tourism management.

Wilfred Selvaraj, managing director of LGT Holidays, said industry collaboration programs can facilitate mentoring of students by experienced practitioners. He believed it was important to design programs to strengthen students’ functional skill sets.

Uma Shankar Prasad Yadav, Scientist and Deputy Director General (South), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), dwelt on standard formulation and conformity assessment as an important tool for the tourism industry. Establishing an appropriate standard framework for adventure, rural, nature tourism, etc. is the need of the hour, he said.

A BIS team from Chennai gave a detailed report on certification and quality control for tourism and allied industries. One of the sessions was dedicated to “Women in tourism: trends and challenges”. The session addressed the issues and challenges faced by women working in the tourism and hospitality sector. Another session on ‘The Dynamics of New Age Tourism Marketing’ looked at the impact of artificial intelligence on ‘smart tourism’, particularly complementing AI in improving service delivery.

The session “Straight from the author” included a presentation of the book “Avoti” by the author Janis Bikse, Lecturer, Institute of Applied Sciences in Vidzeme, Latvia. The book describes Europe’s local and organic attractions and insights into how to harness them to benefit the tourism industry.

RC Anu Chandran, Head of Tourism Research, P. Natarajan, Head of Commerce, Y. Venkata Rao, Dean (Student Welfare), Sherry Abraham, Event Coordinator and Muzamil, Student Coordinator spoke.

Certificates of merit were given to Arathi Agarwal (co-teaching), Muhammed Rishal (academic excellence) and B.George, Head, Department of Tourism, Madurai Kamaraj University College (Distinguished Alumnus).

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