Message from 1st Vice President


Perhaps the main item in the agenda of a new executive, organizing the next Academy meeting in 2009 has become our top task since January. We have been lucky that our friends in the previous executive committee worked hard to find a new venue for the conference before we took over. We are deeply thankful to them for paving our way to a successful meeting next year. Additionally we have to dole out kudos to the efforts deployed on their side by two of our fellows. Eduardo Fayos-Sola used his considerable leverage with the regional government of Rioja in Spain to secure an invitation to hold the conference there, while Jafar Jafari added all of his diplomatic skills to make our Spanish friends aware of the benefits of hosting us.

There is still a lot of work to be done on the organizational side and it is too early on to provide more details than those already known. The government of the autonomous region of La Rioja in Spain has graciously invited us to celebrate our 20th anniversary conference in the area. La Rioja shows a different side of Spanish tourism. It is not a mass-tourism destination selling its sun and sea. In fact, there is none of the latter there as the region is landlocked. On the other hand, it is a historical and gastronomic destination. The Ebro River that flows along has been one of the axis of Spanish history as well as a contributor to the mild microclimate so beneficial to wine growing. The region boasts of one of the highest per capita incomes in the country which shows well in the way Riojans take care of their heritage. We will have the opportunity to get acquainted with all the region’s attractions in our sightseeing sessions.

Many organizational aspects are still open but we will inform the fellows as they become available. No dates have been firmed yet, but we are looking at some time in June 2009. July and August are high season, so our hosts would like us to finish our conference before it starts. We also have in mind that usually June is crowded with other important international events, so we will have to be alert not to conflict with them.

One aspect the new exec wants to especially take care of is the format of the conference. In 2007 at our Mugla (Turkey) conference the fellows were polled to find out their views on how to make it more participative, and many interesting suggestions were made. We are now streamlining them to see how we could introduce some innovations, but we have not come to a decision yet. As a matter of fact, we are eager to have some feedback from our membership. To this effect we are planning to use our website (www.tourismscholars.org) to open an area of suggestions and discussions on this issue. We expect that it will see heavy traffic that will allow us to make our conference a complete success. Another important item in the Conference agenda is to find ways to celebrate our 20th anniversary (or 21st if we start counting from the Charter meeting). We would like to have your comments as we go along in trying to credit our charter members. This website seems a very appropriate medium for it. Thanks for your collaboration.

Julio Aramberri