28th Nordic Symposium in Roskilde, Denmark
  • publication: 27 November 2019

28th Nordic Symposium in Roskilde, Denmark

From 23th to 25th October, the annual Nordic Symposium of Tourism and Hospitality conference took place – this time in Roskilde, a small city in the neighbourhood of Copenhagen, Denmark. AIHR was present with three members: Femke Vrenegoor, Sarah Seidel and Klaes Eringa, as well as two former part-time Service Management Master students Nicole Turnhout-Ammerlaan (General Manager Crowne Plaza Amsterdam-South) and Harald Hovenkamp (owner-manager Kaatje bij de Sluis). The main theme of the conference was Tourism Dilemmas Implications and Dilemmas. Already in the key notes it became clear that sustainability is and should be of major importance to the tourism industry.

The first key note was by Professor Stefan Gössling, expert researcher in sustainable tourism and former head of the sustainability commission of the World Tourism Organisation. He gave a great lecture on tourism and the circular economy. He showed many interesting, but also kind of depressing figures on the state of the world today, and the impact tourism has on climate change. The main take away from his address is that companies still focus on growth, rather than on increasing profitability. One of his main conclusions was that we need to strive for a new tourism destination model that includes adding a high value, a low carbon emission and resilient tourism.

The second key note presentation was by Peter Dyhr, a tourism planner at Copenhagen. One of the goals of his agency, Wonderful Copenhagen, is to motivate tourists to not only visit the city centre, but rather go into other (residential) neighbourhoods. Promotional videos using storytelling were used to reach this goal. The next presenter was Frank Lindberg, who shared the possibilities and problems of tourism development in peripheral regions. Throughout his talk he showed the different effects of being a consumer-tourist vs being a citizenship-tourist. Finally, Szilvia Gyimóthy presented on the disruptions of the sharing economy in the Nordic region. She reflected on whether the sharing economy has now become a new form of capital economy on steroids. All four key note speakers presented a topic concerned with sustainable tourism, showing the relevance and importance of this topic. Furthermore, the presenters stated that more research on the topic of sustainable tourism, in all its many facets, is needed.

In addition to the key notes, sessions where researchers can present their work took place. The system of the Nordic Symposium is that researchers can propose sessions according to a certain theme and then other researchers connected to the theme can apply with their abstracts for the sessions. For the fifth year in a row, Femke and Sarah organised and chaired their session “Influencing sustainable behaviour in tourism and hospitality”. To be precise: While it used to be one single session in the first two years (with 4-5 presentations), and last year in Alta a double session (with 7 presentations), this year there were three sessions with in total 13 presentations, prominently placed on the main day of the conference and were very well attended. This again clearly shows the importance of sustainable behaviour. If you wish to know more about the content of the presentations, all abstracts can be found on the conference website.

Due to the success of the sustainable behaviour sessions and the growing interest as well as the high quality of the research presented, Femke and Sarah proposed a special edition of the Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, which got accepted and will be published 2020-2021. Please watch out for the call for papers if you are interested in contributing, which will be sent out within one to two months.

We are happy about the knowledge exchange and the high appreciation of our work among other fellow researchers. Hence, we are looking forward to attending the conference next year in Akureyri, Iceland.