Sustainable Tourism 2018
8th International Conference on Sustainable Tourism
2-4 May 2018
The 8th International Conference on Sustainable Tourism took place in Vienna, Austria; it was organised by Wessex Institute, UK (WIT) represented by Dr Stavros Syngellakis, the University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences, Austria, represented by Prof Ulrike Probstl-Haider and Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, represented by Prof Francisco Pineda. The meeting was sponsored by WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment and the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning.
The first meeting in this successful series was held in Segovia, Spain (2004), followed by Bologna, Italy (2006), Malta (2008), the New Forest, home of the Wessex Institute (2010), A Coruña, Spain (2012), Opatija, Croatia (2014) and Valencia, Spain (2016).
Tourism has become an important component of present day development, not only in economic terms but also for knowledge and human welfare, and is an activity accessible to a growing number of people.
Tourist activities have many more advantages than disadvantages. New forms of economic development and increasing wealth of human societies depend on tourism.
The tourism industry has nevertheless given rise to some serious concerns, including social costs and ecological impacts. Many ancient local cultures have practically lost their identity. Their societies have oriented their economy only to this industry. Both the natural and cultural - rural or urban – landscapes have also paid a high price for certain forms of tourism. These problems will persist if economic benefit is the only target, leading to short-term gains that eventually become ruinous.
Sustainable Tourism 2018 aimed to find ways to protect the natural and cultural landscape through the development of new solutions which minimise the adverse effects of tourism. This can be achieved through new strategies involving the active collaboration of society as a whole.
Opening of the Conference
Prof Ulrike Probstl-Haider opened the Sustainable Tourism 2018 conference, welcomed the delegates to Vienna and referred briefly to the importance of tourism as an economic activity. She emphasized the connection of the conference theme to the City and the venue, Schloss Wilhelminenberg Hotel, in particular. This remarkable building was originally built in late 18th century as a lavish palace for an Austrian aristocrat; subsequently it had a number of other illustrious owners until, in middle 19th century, one of them donated it to his wife Wilhelmine from whom it took its name. By the early 20th century, the building was a ruin and had to be replaced by a palace in the Neo-Imperial style. The two world wars necessitated the successive usage of the building by the state for various welfare purposes until year 2000 when a complete refurbishment befitting its standing was launched thus reinventing a former nobleman's residence as a luxury hotel.
Prof Francisco Pineda also welcomed the delegates, referred to the history of the meetings and his long association with them. He wished the participants a rewarding and enjoyable conference experience.
Dr Stavros Syngellakis welcomed the delegates on behalf of the Wessex Institute and explained its main function, namely, knowledge transfer, particularly between different disciplines. This inter-disciplinary approach, Stavros said, exemplifies the Institute's activities and is the reason for its organising this and other conferences around the world in collaboration with different institutions.
The Institute's particular area of expertise lies in the development of advanced modelling techniques for the analysis of complex engineering and scientific problems. This is a field in which the Institute is well known throughout the world. The applications of such tools are extremely varied and one of the reasons for the success of WIT’s inter-disciplinary approach. WIT’s aim to provide a medium for knowledge transfer at an international level is achieved through a series of activities, i.e. publications; meetings, including conferences; research at postdoctoral level; and consultation services for industry.
All papers presented at WIT conferences, such as Sustainable Tourism 2018, are archived in Open Access format in the eLibrary of the Institute (https://www.witpress.com/elibrary) where they are easily accessible free of charge to the international community.
Stavros paid tribute to the memory of Prof Carlos Brebbia, the founder and late director of the Institute. Professor Brebbia was a brilliant academic but also a great motivator, organiser and communicator. The success of the Institute is entirely due to his tireless pursuits and professionalism. He was an inspirational figure whose legacy will be preserved by everyone who worked with him.
The meeting was enhanced by a series of invited presentations, as follows:
• “Current challenges in tourism research in Austria”, by Ulrike Probstl-Haider, University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences, Austria.
• “Rural tourism in Spain, crossroads between nature, socio-ecological decoupling and urban sprawl”, by Francisco Pineda, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.
• “Networks of historic houses as strategic option for sustainable tourism development. The Venetian villas case”, by Sabrina Meneghello, Ca’ Foscari University, Italy.
• “Escapes from urban heat – the impact of CC on the intention to leave the city for nearby summer destinations”, by Alexandra Jiricka-Purrer, BOKU University of Natural Resources & Life Sciences, Austria.
• “Elements to foster friendly relationship between ports and towns – Photo analysis over boundaries and over time”, by Hiroshi Kato, Hokkaido University, Japan.
• “The marketing value of sustainability in Europe, as seen by tourism developers – an exploratory approach to Portuguese tourism precincts”, by Joao-Manuel Carvalho, University of Lisbon, Portugal.
• “Community-based tourism in rural Japan: Case of network making NPO”, by Yasuo Ohe, Chiba University, Japan.
• “Nonmarket valuation of cultural and environmental impacts on sustainable city tourism in Vienna (Austria)”, by Petra Amrusch, University of Vienna, Austria.
• “Relation of tourist push and pull motivations with their activities: the case of Lithuania”, by Aida Macerinskiene, University of Vilnuius, Lithuania.
A well attended ISAC meeting was preceded by a dinner at Villa Aurora, a restaurant with local character and cuisine in attractive green surroundings with art exhibits, located near the conference venue. The organisers expressed their appreciation to the members of the committee for their help in reviewing abstracts and papers thus ensuring the high quality of presentations. Then, there was discussion on the conference topics, the location of the venue for the next conference as well as the possibility of adding new members to the committee. It was agreed that the participants will give these issues serious thought and submit their ideas to the organising committee in writing.
The Conference Dinner took place in the pleasant environment of a typical Viennese restaurant; the delegates were welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine and then served with an excellent three-course meal that included local delicacies. The enjoyable evening was characterised by lively discussions, friendly mood and high spirits.
Closing of the Conference
In her concluding remarks on the final day of the conference, Prof Probstl-Heider praised very warmly its organisation, thanked the audience for their active participation and referred again to the pleasant environment of the venue, which contributed considerably to everyone's feeling of well being.
The Conference was closed by Dr Stavros Syngellakis who thanked the delegates for their contributions and expressed the hope that the delegates found the conference successful in every respect and that they would attend the next conference in the series, at a time and location still to be arranged.
SDP 2018, 4 - 6 September 2018
Coastal Cities 2019, 11 - 13 September 2019
Sustainable City 2019, 1 - 3 October 2019