Knowledge management has become an essential instrument for developing effective tourism strategies; particularly important for strengthening the sector’s ability to respond to current global challenges, from the economic crisis to climate change. Against this background, UNWTO, Tourism Portugal and the University of the Algarve are organizing a conference on ‘Tourism and Science: Bridging Theory and Practice’, to advance a global knowledge management framework for tourism (Faro, Portugal, 1-3 June 2011).
The Conference on “Tourism and Science: Bridging Theory and Practice’ will focus on three main areas:
1. The role of science and technology (energy, computing, communications and new technologies) in the future of tourism;
2. How innovation can increase the competitiveness and sustainability of the sector, attract new consumers and generate new business models;
3. The function of knowledge in tourism governance and institutional excellence.
The Conference will establish guidelines for the future work of the new UNWTO Knowledge Network; designed to develop and manage a worldwide association of UNWTO Think Tanks, UNWTO Knowledge Strategic Centres and UNWTO Knowledge Institutions. The Network will support UNWTO and its Member States in all matters concerning science, technology, innovation and knowledge management related to tourism and will be launched by the UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, at the international tourism trade fair, FITUR (Madrid, Spain, 19 January).
The rationale behind the Conference is the recognition that the effective and productive management of knowledge of a variety of areas, ranging from transportation and the distribution of goods and services to energy conservation and sustainability, is a critical factor for the success of tourism policies. Knowledge management – the process of identifying, capturing, sharing and applying knowledge to improve performance – is of great interest for all those working in tourism, as well as the numerous sectors it impacts given its transversal nature.
The event is open to international organizations, businesses, academia and all those interested in innovation and knowledge management in tourism, as well as agencies specialized in economic development, climate change and governance.