That my bachelor thesis could lead to something like a conference, was not something I expected when I started working on it. Bachelor of Science Tourism lecturer Harald Buijtendijk approached me with the question whether I would like to be involved in writing a paper, for which my thesis data could be valuable. The abstract of the paper, which is about innovation in tour operator businesses, was accepted for the Think Tank XVI conference of the Building Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Education Network (BEST EN) in Berlin – Eberswalde. The main theme of the conference was “Corporate Responsibility in Tourism – Standards, Practices and Policies” A theme that fitted the topic of our paper very well. The aim was to present the findings and to receive feedback in order to adapt our work.
After a day of meeting many PhD candidates, teachers and academics that all focus on tourism or the hospitality sector (and having been told many times that it is rather exceptional to attend a conference as a bachelor student!), it was time for us to present our preliminary paper. Time was short: we only had 5 minutes for the presentation and 2 more for questions from the audience. It was an interesting experience to present in such a setting. Afterwards, during the informal activities we had interesting conversations about sustainability in tourism, the future of tourism, and challenging dominant practices of tourism businesses. Discussing these issues while enjoying a beer in Berlin or while enjoying thebeautiful nature at the Uckermark, made it quite a special experience for me.
I am delighted for having been able to experience a bit of the academic world while simultaneously enjoying the energy of Berlin and eastern Germany. It was certainly a nice way of ending the Bachelor of Science in Tourism in style!
Written by: Juultje Blom