The first keynote presentation will be provided by the CEO of Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) and will seek to draw out thought and discussion around the central theme of the conference – 'Sustainability of Tourism and Hospitality in an Age of Digital Disruption'. This pivotal presentation will address the topic of 'Destination sustainability in an age of digital disruption', drawing on success stories from Far North Queensland tourism and hospitality experiences and products, and highlighting future development goals for the region. This presentation will specifically focus on the impact of the digital economy on the tourism and hospitality industries in Far North Queensland as it continues to grow and emerge into a mature, sustainable, international destination.
The ensuing panel discussion will support this theme and expand on this topic. This panel will consist of a combination of academics and industry professionals and will focus on the impacts of digital technologies on existing tourism destinations and experiences around the world.
The second keynote speaker will be Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, Head of Department Tourism and Hospitality, Director of the eTourism Lab and Deputy Director of the International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research, at Bournemouth University, UK. Professor Buhalis will focus on smart tourism, augmented reality, experience management and personalisation, reputation and social media strategies for tourism.
Panel session two will then focus further onto the challenges facing educators and academics as a result of the impacts of digital technologies and their capacity to influence visitor experience. It will discuss issues related to curriculum design and delivery and identify why and how educators must adapt to ensure graduates have the required knowledge and skills to be able to meet the technological demands of industry.
The third keynote speaker will be Professor Regina Scheyvens – Professor and Co-Director of the Pacific Research and Policy Centre, within the School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, NZ.
Professor Scheyvens research “focuses on the relationship between tourism, sustainable development and poverty reduction”. Professor Scheyvens has conducted fieldwork in Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, the Maldives and in Southern Africa and also researches gender and development, sustainable livelihoods for small island states, and empowerment for marginalised peoples. Professor Scheyvens is the Programme Coordinator (Development Studies) and the Primary Investigator (along with Glenn Banks) on the project "Harnessing the power of business: the contested involvement of corporations in community development initiatives in the Pacific".