Tourism Society ‘Homecoming’ in Edinburgh

A total of 160 delegates from as far away as Thailand and Namibia gathered in Edinburgh on Tuesday to discuss whether heritage and culture held the future for tourism.

In his keynote speech, Ty Speer, president and chief executive of Tourism Vancouver, described how his organisation is embracing the power of story-telling to respond to the changing marketing environment created by social media and distribution platforms.

The expert speakers and panellists who followed, picked up on his messages while discussing the development of future leaders, cities as gateways for rural exploration; augmented reality; the power of collaboration; empowering teams and, this being Edinburgh, the power of festivals to delight and unite.

A message from Taleb Rifai, secretary-general of the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation, reminded delegates of the importance of protecting the environment from the demands placed on it by tourism, and Professor Brian Hay, MTS of Heriot-Watt University, reflected that, for the Society, the event was a homecoming, 40 years on from when its formation was proposed.