Speech - Official Opening Ceremony of Conference :
4th Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing and Management
26 June 2014, Le Meridien Hotel - Time: 15 hrs
· His Excellency Mr. Rajkeswur Purryag, President of the Republic of Mauritius
· The Hon. Michael Yeung Sik Yuen, Minister of Tourism & Leisure
· Prof. Soodursun Jugessur, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council of the University of Mauritius
· Prof Romeela Mohee, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mauritius
· Pro-Vice Chancellors, University of Mauritius
· Dr Robin Nunkoo, Chair, Organizing Committee and Conference Co-Chair
· Professor Dogan Gursoy, Conference Co-Chair
· Distinguished Professors & Delegates
· Ladies and Gentleman
- Good Morning.
I wish to thank the organisers for the invitation and it is always pleasure for me to meet so many academics and professionals from the Hospitality, Tourism and Management Sector.
I am pleased to be in your midst because I have been myself an academic, albeit from a different field, but also as Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research & Technology, it is my mission not only to provide higher education but also to help developing a research culture in our institutions. The Tourist industry is one of the main pillars of our economy, and to-day Travel and Tourism is itself a leading Job creator in the world, employing 98 million people directly and is growing faster than the global economy.
I am reminded that the word ‘Tour – ist' was a new world for traveller in the 1800 and the word tourism was first used by England’ Sporting Magazine in 1811. Tourism is a multifaceted industry which eludes definition though the WTO has in recent years defined a tourist. We used to learn at school that history is about ‘chaps’ and Geography is about ‘maps’, and I can venture to say that Tourism is about people and places. To-day Tourism is a major industry covering the time a person plans his vacation and the time he arrives back home to share his experiences and stories.
The Tourism industry is so multifaceted that it requires the full attention and thinking of academics to plan, monitor, improve, and also anticipate to make the industry sustainable. In Mauritius we have done an excellent job in making the industry a pillar of the economy; we have diversified its products and services and to-day as a small island state, we have to meet a number of challenges which I see will be discussed in this conference.
I have looked with great interest at your programme and the number of themes and topics which are being covered by the specialists in this industry. They reflect the various issues and challenges confronting the industry, and this conference will provide an excellent forum to exchange views from your different perspectives and different countries. I am very pleased to see that presenters and faculty members are drawn from many countries and continents and such diversity of thought and experience is the very essence of experiential learning and an essential ingredient for understanding the critical success factors in today’s international tourism environment.
I also welcome the organization of a round table where professors, industry professionals and policy makers are brought together to actively discuss issues surrounding drivers and obstacles to sustainable tourism. The experience and insights to be gained from this conference can help all of us to tackle the issues in our different countries, and researchers will gain not only from the content but also for the tools of analysis and methodology which are being used to help understand this industry and plan for the future.
My Ministry has been asking our institutions to pursue more research not only to help teaching but also to impart both technical knowledge and the soft skills which can be of practical use to the industry. We are encouraging collaborative research, close links between Industry and Academia and also to make Tourism a sustainable industry within the framework of the Government’s vision of a sustainable Mauritius. We have been planning for some time to set up a centre for Tourist studies in Mauritius which will help not only Mauritius but also the countries in the region.
The conference comes at the right time and I have no doubt that many insights gained from this conference will shape or translate into technically and economically viable policy suggestions for the Mauritius Tourism Industry and the future centre.
Let me thank all the participants and wish you fruitful exchanges in your deliberations. Apart from the location where the conference in being held, take the opportunity to visit the country and let us know about your experience.
I thank you for your attention.
Dr R. Jeetah Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology