In November 2018 I attended the Women in Tourism (Scotland) Year of Young People Conference. Below, is an extract from a small guest blog I wrote about attending the conference as a student of Tourism Studies from Aalborg University and what I gained from it.
I travelled 652, 408 miles for the Women in Tourism Year of Young People Conference.
In the 9th century, the Vikings came to Scotland and settled, they were one of the first international tourist groups to permanently settle…not surprising when you see how similar the weather is to their own. Then earlier in November, I and two of my Tourism MA classmates made the same journey from Copenhagen (Denmark) to Glasgow for the Women In Tourism’s Year of Young People conference.
A key concept we are taught to reflect on the Tourism MA at Aalborg University Copenhagen, is knowledge exchange and what we can learn from others. That as professionals we should learn from others, be inspired by different industries, look for meaningful connections in our actions and learn from our mistakes. From living in Scotland, this is something I had been aware of in many other industries, feeling that the Scottish did not necessarily see each other as competition but as people to connect with and work in collaboration with, exchanging their knowledge and best practice.
A theme I have also seen in the work of the Women in Tourism network over the last year.
Therefore, when I saw that they (WIT) would be holding their first conference and that it would be around the theme of the year of young people, I jumped at the chance to see if this collaboration and forward way of thinking applied to the tourism and hospitality industry too. The conference, as a young(ish) person myself, offered me the chance to hear from professionals at different stages of their careers, to network and hear about current issues.
What was great about the conference from on outsider perspective, was that WIT had released the delegate list in advance so that attendees were able to see who they would be with, what experience they bring to the conference, the many different industries in attendance and prepare for the networking event in advance. Then on the day, we had plenty of opportunities to get to know each other around the workshops and networking time.
Scotland proving that no matter what level of your career you’re at, everyone is happy to chat about their current projects…as Sheila Gilmore of Visit Arran said, you just have to smile to start a conversation.
At the workshops I followed the mentorship and leadership pathway – as being encouraged to be reflective is something I find important to be successful.
I greatly enjoyed the leadership session, and out of the whole day it was certainly my favourite activity. In it we had a lighthearted discussion, touching upon the issues often faced by employees and managers. Dale MacPhee and Valerie Lederer gave a fascinating insight into the differences of being a leader and a manager, as well as what it is like to be a female leader in the tourism and hospitality industry.
By the end of the session, I was left feeling inspired to become the best leader possible no matter what level I worked at.
Overall, as a tourism student, the conference was a great opportunity to see how the tourism and hospitality industry in Scotland is making the efforts needed to become sustainable. Building relations with its current and future employees – demonstrated during the Meet the CEO session. The possibilities discussed and the life teachings, showed how passionate everyone in the sector is to show the world that Scotland is a leader in change for in tourism. Something which I look forward to seeing become actions as it takes place over the next few years.
I also got to speak with a number of passionate individuals from many different organisations, meet future great leaders from the Scottish University courses. And found out about how WIT is already demonstrating the values which we are told about on the Tourism course in Denmark.
Now I hope to bring together my experiences from Scotland, the conference and those I met, to inform how I see tourism and hospitality across the world on my course here in Denmark.
Found out more about Women in Tourism Scotland.