President's Message

Dear Fellows:

On behalf of the Academy board, I hope that you (and your family) are healthy.

We are all still shocked about Philip Pearce's sudden death this summer. It's an incredible loss for his family and friends, the tourism research community and for the Academy. Chris Ryan has written a Memoriam about Philip that you will find in this Newsletter and on our website.

Now about the Academy and our plans for next year.  We are still hopeful that we can hold a meeting of Fellows in Leuven. Dan Fesenmaier and I have been in contact with our hosts multiple times. Our site visit was cancelled due to the travel restrictions, but we met the Director of Flanders Tourism, President of the European Travel Commission and our main sponsor, who asked us to hold on to our plans even if it turns out that only a fraction of Fellows would be able and interested to travel. For logistic reasons, we decided to move our meeting to April 19-20. After consulting the members of the Executive Board we decided to continue planning a small meeting for those of you who are able and willing to travel to Leuven in 2021, and to plan for a big reunion conference in 2022 (location tbd).

Considering the huge challenges for tourism, we believe that it is important that the Academy provides guidance for the industry and society. With this in mind, we decided to organize an Academy "Think Tank", which invites many of the industry leaders and academics from the European region (including the WTTC, UNWTO, the European Travel Commission and European Cities Marketing) to discuss the future of tourism.  This effort will be spearheaded by representatives of the region and the Academy.  The goal of this Academy Think Tank will be to discuss what we have learned and to articulate the steps that are needed to guide the industry as they try to navigate this uncertain world.

Dan Fesenmaier drafted an outline of this 2-day meeting and will soon invite you to submit your ideas and contributions. The initial plan is that both days will be open to the public, while the first day will focus on local industry and invited experts' presentations while the second day will be reserved to presentations by Fellows.  We are planning to welcome the newly elected Fellows if they can travel to Leuven, and we will consider inviting a small number of outstanding European Region scholars to present at the conference; however, emerging scholars will not be invited to the Academy Think Tank. We further decided that physical presence will be required, and that the meeting will not be offered online or in hybrid fashion, with the exception of one business meeting which will allow every Fellow to join remotely (despite the challenge of different time zones). The Executive Board will make sure that the Think Tank meeting will not have any negative financial implications to the Academy.

Second, according to Section 3 § 3 of our Statutes the term of office of the Executive Board is expiring next year. Despite, Alison Gill, who cannot be reelected as she already served for two terms, everyone else of the current Executive Board is eligible and willing to run for a second period. The Executive Board has informed the nomination committee and asked them to lead the nomination and election procedure.  

We hope that it will be possible that some of us will meet in April, 2021. Dan Fesenmaier will send you more details of our plans in the coming weeks.

I wish you all the best.

Karl Wöber