Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

International tourism conference at TRU this summer

  Posted on: April 13, 2016

Dr. Kellee Caton, Associate Professor in Tourism, is the organizer of the four-day Tourism Education Futures Initiative's ninth annual conference, scheduled to take place at TRU in June.

In June, tourism scholars from around the world will arrive at TRU to explore the potential for care ethics to serve as an alternative paradigm for tourism education and practice, thereby better preparing students to navigate through an industry experiencing radical change.

The Tourism Education Futures Initiative’s ninth international conference (TEFI 9), June 26-29, will see 40 scholars from 11 countries arrive in Kamloops for what organizer Dr. Kellee Caton refers to as an intimate conference, designed to allow interactive workshops and networking opportunities that inspire future collaborations and enduring connections.

TEFI 9: Celebrating the Disruptive Power of Caring is supported by a $25,000 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Connection Grant, and will feature three keynote speakers, including two internationally renowned experts in critical tourism and leisure studies, and TRU’s own Dr. Lyn Baldwin whose presentation, “Carrying Care: Natural History’s Path to Place,” takes delegates off-campus to participate in a series of observational exercises.

Free events: Connection Day keynote address, workshop and panel discussion

Caton has been involved in previous TEFI conferences, and is honoured to play host this year.

“This is a labour of love for me. Ours is a flagship program for tourism higher education, and I’m excited to bring the world to see what we do here and how we are on the leading edge of curriculum development.”

According to Caton, the overarching goal of the conference is to help facilitate the value-shift necessary for tourism to become ecologically sustainable and to promote human well-being and social justice.

“As an industry, tourism isn’t always positive, in terms of the outcomes it generates—it’s more complex than that,” Caton said, noting tourism’s social and environmental consequences.

“Tourism can be a positive force in the world, but it needs to be managed in the right way. As the world changes, tourism also changes,” said Caton, who is joined on the organizing committee by fellow faculty members Billy Collins, Dr. Lisa Cooke, Dr. David Hill, and Dr. Mark Wallin, as well as the University of Waterloo’s Dr. Bryan Grimwood.

The theme of caring is infused throughout the conference—care for students, communities and the planet—and until recently the idea of care ethics has not received wide attention.

“Caring tends to be associated with sentimentality and emotion, but it can be tough and edgy also, and it is remarkable how much people have responded to that theme,” she said.

Along with the workshops, the conference will also feature an “industry day,” offering outreach activities targeted at local practitioners, as well as numerous peer-reviewed paper sessions. Following the conference, proceedings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal special issue, and a peer-reviewed, open-access, edited book.

More information
Dr. Kellee Caton

The Research Support Fund provides a portion of the costs associated with managing the research funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, such as salaries for staff who provide administration support, training costs for workplace health and safety and maintenance of libraries.