This November was super busy for me. Along with several projects I am working on I had a privilege to participate in two really good conferences. I know they were a few days, even a few weeks ago, but still, I would like to write a few words to acknowledge them.

This post I dedicate to the first of them.

”Tourism in the VUCA world: towards the era of (ir)responsibility”

Is the name of a scientific conference organized by the Institute for tourism Croatia. The conference was held in Dubrovnik and it was really much focused on main issues associated with tourism development in Dubrovnik today – the overcrowding and Overtourism. Unfortunately, I was not able to check in the first day, so I have skipped the introduction and social part. 😦

I arrived the second day, at the time to listen to a final few thoughts from the second keynote delivered by Paulene J. Sheldon. At the time of the beginning of parallel sessions (PS), the colleagues from my department arrived.

Within the first PS I have decided to attend the PS 4: Overtourism impacts – new solutions, considering that the topic was in a line with a project I am currently working on. Within the session, there were a few good topics. I would like to point out the presentation entitled: Overtourism and tourismphobia which delivered a rather comprehensive review of relevant literature on this phenomenon. The second interesting moment was the presentation of Jelka Tepšić from the City of Dubrovnik on Governance responses on overtourism pressure in the City of Dubrovnik. To a large extent, this presentation demonstrated the responsibility and lack of self-criticism of public institutions with regard to their responsibility to act to prevent the adverse impacts related to tourism development.

Following a lunch break, professor Stanislav Ivanov delivered his keynote on The economics of Robots, Artificial intelligence and service automation in travel, tourism, and hospitality. The inspiring presentation was focused on demonstrating how robots and AI will change the Industry and reflected his work acknowledged in the first book published in the field by Emerald publishing. In general, he aimed to demonstrate the technologies are not disrupting but rather are the future we have to embrace. Thus the discussion that followed the presentation mostly demonstrated the perception and understanding gap between experienced researchers.

Following the Keynote, I have decided to attend PS 6: Transformations of contemporary tourists. Within this season the research group of my dear friend Miroslav Vujičić had a presentation on measuring the impacts of sport events.

The first day of the conference ended with evening excursion to the old town of Dubrovnik and the following dinner and drink with some old and new friends. We were guided by an experienced local guide who revealed the ”other” side of town characterized by depopulation of the old town and profit-driven development.

The second day started with an inspiring keynote delivered by Chris Cooper. It was a reflection on tourism at the coast, mostly related to development trajectories of tourism destinations and the pillars of success in restructuring places. This part was mostly related to the discussion on the rejuvenation of maturing tourism destinations, recently often discussed in development studies.

Following the first keynote, my coauthor and colleague Danijela Garbin Praničević and I, within PS 11: Smart destinations and ICT in hospitality, have delivered the results of our research on adaptation of ICTs in small and family-owned hotels. The presentation has induced discussion however not as I have expected nor wanted. 😦

Following the end of the PS, I had a privilege to drink coffee and chat with a professor Ivanov. What a lovely experience! 🙂

In the afternoon Irena Ateljević delivered the last keynote on the Transformative Power of tourism. The presentation demonstrated the way tourism changes the people involved. Thus, somehow it closed the conference demonstrating tourism as a force to change the entire ecosystems and the stakeholders within.

The conference ended with a great gala dinner. Despite music was great due to light in the room I was shay to show my moves. Isidora, a dear colleague from Institute called me a wood. As soon as light goon down (thank you Smiljana) and after a few drinks, I danced a little bit.

All in all, the conference was really an amazing experience. I am most grateful for meeting some new friends but also for having a chance for the first time to attend such an event with a research group from my department.

Dear Isidora and the rest of the organization board, THANK you for everything.

Ps. Following the decision on paper which is expected in January, I will upload our presentation.