More than 50 research papers about advancing travel and tourism through cooperation and collaboration in the Global South were presented during a 3-day conference at RMIT Vietnam’s Saigon South campus.
The event, hosted by RMIT Vietnam’s School of Business & Management, in collaboration with Travel and Tourism Research Association – Asia Pacific Chapter (TTRA APAC), saw participants from universities and organisations around the world, including Taiwan, Fiji, South Korea, United Kingdom, USA, Malaysia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Scotland, Thailand, Turkey, China, Australia, and Vietnam.
Associate Professor Mathews Nhkoma, Head of the School of Business & Management, highlighted the significance of the conference and its potential impact on the travel and tourism industry.
“We understand the importance of tourism and hospitality to Vietnam and to the Asia Pacific region in general,” Associate Professor Nhkoma said.
“The industry contributes greatly to the region's GDP, and also serves as a great source of employment for the people of the region.
“According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was VND 294billion ($12million) or 5.9 per cent of total GDP in 2017, and it is forecasted to rise by 6.7 per cent in this year,” he said.
“This sector directly supported more than 2.4 million jobs (4.6 per cent of total employment) and is expected to rise to nearly three million jobs (4.9 per cent of total employment) in 2028.”
At the conference, participants explored the issues that are relevant and critical to the growth of the industry, such as consumer behaviour, sustainable tourism, sustainable growth, destination management, value co-creation, and other topics.
Mr Tran Phu Cuong, Director General of International Cooperation Department, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Vietnam Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, delivered the keynote speech on the development policies and future demand for Vietnam’s tourism sector. Mr Cuong presented five policies which are being drafted by the Vietnamese government including the restructuring of the tourism sector, a development strategy, a development fund, the application of information technology in the tourism sector, and the enhancement of tourism promotion.
Dr Jeff Dalley, TTRA APAC President, said that the event far exceeded expectations.
“The range of keynote speakers not only stimulated our thinking, but also engaged us in hands-on workshop opportunities,” Dr Dalley said.
“The conference showcased eleven paper presentation streams dedicated to work around the theme of cooperation and collaboration for the Global South, and extends the academic-end user nexus at the heart what TTRA represents.”
Dr Dalley was delighted to have RMIT as the conference venue. “The Asia Pacific Chapter of TTRA International received several bids to host our 2018 conference. The proposal received from RMIT Vietnam was outstanding and superior in all respects, and provided an opportunity for Chapter delegates to directly experience and engage with one of the most dynamic tourism destinations in our region.”