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UN WTO attends University of Derby conference which aims to make the world a better place through tourism

7 October 2016

United Nations experts were among the delegates when the University of Derby hosted a debate on how to ensure that tourists bring more benefits than harm to their host destinations.

Tourism Naturally brought the UN’s World Tourism Organisation and academics from across the globe together in a conference to look at ways of making sure the industry is sustainable and ecologically sound.

The University of Derby hosted Tourism Naturally’s inaugural conference at the Sardinian seaside resort of Alghero along with Colorado State University, the University of Pisa, the University of Sassari, and Central China Normal University.

It focused on ways of limiting the damage and increasing the benefits of tourism to communities in coastal and mountain areas by studying its economic, ecological and cultural effects.

And for one of the Derby lecturers it was a homecoming.

Students at Tourism Naturally

“It’s a happy coincidence that it’s in my home town and I’m very proud that this is giving a lot of opportunities to local businesses,” said Tourism Lecturer Dr Iride Azara. “It’s a vocation of mine to do everything I can to help the island in terms of identity and culture.”

She will be leading discussions on the way forward by finding a way to make the two major philosophies in the subject – wellness and sustainable tourism – work together symbiotically.

Wellness tourism is based on improving the mental, spiritual and physical health of tourists, and Derby is the first University to offer a degree which will train the managers of the future in this growing industry.

Sustainable tourism aims to make sure that host communities benefit from the industry through jobs and investment while ensuring it does not increase the feeling of isolation which a mass influx of outsiders can create among a small home population.

“These are issues which we find both in developing countries and developed countries,” said Iride, who pointed out that although Sardinia was the second largest island in the Mediterranean, it only had a population of 1.5 million.

The welcome to conference delegates was given by Dr Sarah Rawlinson, Head of Hospitality, Resort and Spa Management at Derby; Dr Eleni Michopoulou spoke on tourism and disability, and a student from the Buxton Campus, Emma Pope, presented research she carried out at The Eden Project.

To study tourism at the University of Derby, click here.