The TouRNet Inaugural Meeting took place on Monday 25th November, 2014 at the University of Sheffield and was well attended looking at the size of what is a young network. There are currently about 50 researchers on TouRNet’s mailing list out of which 22 signed up to attend the inaugural meeting of the network.
A brief welcome address by Emmanuel A. Adu-Ampong (founder of the network) was followed by a round of introductions. A short presentation by Dr. Elizabeth Carnegie from the Management School, University of Sheffield engendered a lively discussion about the state of tourism studies as an academic discipline. There was also a discussion about the cutting edge research themes and topics in the tourism field. A key observation from these discussion was the fact that a number of academics do still not consider tourism studies to be a ‘serious’ academic discipline and so tend to discourage their students from undertaking research that touches on tourism. This was considered to be a share by all members at the meeting who were of the view that tourism studies has matured as an academic discipline and the ubiquitous nature of the tourism phenomenon demands that academics take notice.
The most important point of the evening was the discussions and deliberations on the future of TouRNet. Members shared their suggestions and expectations regarding how we could move the network forward. The goal of this session was to have a set of ideas and an agenda with which to structure the development of the network in a way that met the needs and expectations of members. At the end of a very interesting discussion period, the list of ideas on what to do next for TouRNet began to take full form. The ideas ranged from: organising workshops that are tied to postgraduate training; building a network with local and international tourism organisations (UNESCO, UNWTO, Tourism Concern etc) to offer training programmes; collaborating with other research networks; sharing information within the network with regards to conferences, workshops and vacancies that might be of interest; organising conferences for postgraduates; organising symposiums, lectures/talks that are based on key themes in tourism as well as working towards increased collaboration between the three White Rose Doctoral Training Centre universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York.
In all, the TouRNet inaugural meeting was a successful one that we look to build on going forward. As a practical first step, we have set up a members’ database where each one can enter their details so others can contact them when they need their expertise. To join the network or database, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our facebook page.