Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Faculty of Tourism hosted the AEHT Higher Education Group 2022 conference of the European Association of Hotel and Tourism Schools (AEHT), known as the most widely-participated and distinguished organization among the education institutions of the tourism and hotel industry in Europe. Held between 25-28 May 2022, the conference was attended by the administrators and representatives of distinguished higher education institutions providing education in the field of tourism and hotel management from Portugal, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Turkey and Northern Cyprus. The opening ceremony of the conference, which sought answers to “How Tourism and Hotel Management Education Should Be Designed with Technology and Sustainability”, took place in the EMU Rector’s Office, Senate Room. EMU Rector Prof. Dr. Aykut Hocanın, Dean of the Faculty of Tourism Prof. Dr. Hasan Kılıç, Vice Deans Prof. Dr. Ali Öztüren and Assist. Prof. Dr. Mehmet Güven Ardahan and representatives of AEHT and member schools of the union attended the said opening. The opening speeches of the conference were delivered by EMU Rector Aykut Hocanın, EMU Tourism Faculty Dean Prof. Dr. Hasan Kılıç and AEHT Higher Education Group President Paulo Vaz.
“We Are Proud To Be Chosen As Host”
In his speech, EMU Tourism Faculty Dean Prof. Dr. Hasan Kılıç stated that they are proud that EMU Tourism Faculty has been chosen as the host for the annual meeting of AEHT, of which over 400 schools are members. Thanking the participants who came to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) from Slovenia, Malta, Portugal, Italy and Turkey to attend the meeting, Prof. Dr. Hasan Kılıç noted that AEHT member schools play an important role in sharing information in the field of Tourism and Hotel Management education. Prof. Dr. Kılıç also talked about the achievements of EMU Tourism Faculty in the field of Tourism and Hotel Management in the world rankings and the accreditation of its programs. Prof. Dr. Kılıç also put forth that good outcomes will be obtained from the meeting where research and latest developments in the field of Tourism and Hotel Management education will be shared.
Expressing that he is happy to be at EMU, AEHT Representative Paulo Vaz also stated that the conference will focus on how the education given to young students in the field of tourism and hotel management will be taken to better points in the future, and added that the schools that are members of AEHT have a great responsibility towards their students in this field and therefore towards the future. Paulo Vaz wished the meeting would yield positive outcomes.
“I Wish the Conference to Be Fruitful”
EMU Rector Prof. Dr. Aykut Hocanın stated that they are pleased to host AEHT administration and representatives in the TRNC and EMU. Emphasizing that EMU is the only state university established by law in the TRNC, as well as being the oldest university in the country, Prof. Dr. Hocanın pointed out that more than 80 undergraduate programs of EMU have been accredited by national and international accreditation bodies. Pointing out the importance of planning and adaptation in education after the pandemic, Prof. Dr. Hocanın wished the conference to be fruitful for everyone.
Presentations by keynote speakers were as follows: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Seden Doğan “Developing Technologies for Sustainable Tourism”, Eastern Mediterranean University Faculty of Tourism academic staff members Prof. Dr. Habib Alipour and Asst. Prof. Dr. Hamed Rezapouraghdam "New Trends in Sustainable Tourism", and Eastern Mediterranean University Faculty of Education academic staff member Prof. Dr. M. Yaşar Özden “Technologies for Developing Vocational Education”.
Making statements about the conference, EMU Tourism Faculty Dean Prof. Dr. Hasan Kılıç stated that among hundreds of schools from more than 50 countries that are members of the European Association of Hotel and Tourism Schools, EMU Tourism Faculty was deemed worthy to host this important conference, which makes our country and Eastern Mediterranean University proud.
Administrators and representatives of AEHT member schools from Portugal, Italy, Malta, Slovenia and Northern Cyprus presented papers containing research results and didactic results. Among the topics of presentation were “Teaching, Learning, Rewarding. The Path to Sustainability”, “Sustainable Tourism Approaches through Education (Classroom and School Practices)”, “Post-Pandemic Challenges and Suggestions: The Future of Tourism Studies”, “Responsible and Sustainable Gastronomy Skills”, “Revenue Management and Menu Engineering Simulation”, “Developing Skills of Student: An Example of Connecting with Nature Activities”, “Promoting Sustainability Through Educational Tourism”, and “Tourism Education with Virtual Tours”.
As a result of the conference, which included field trips to introduce the cultural assets in Northern Cyprus to the participants, "Solutions to Improve Vocational Education in Tourism, Hotel Management and Gastronomy" were specified through in-depth discussions, and a report containing recommendations and solution suggestions especially for Tourism and Hotel Management Schools in Europe was prepared for its presentation to the AEHT Executive Board.