BEST Education Network
|Industry||Travel & Tourism|
|Gianna Moscardo (Chair) |
John Pearce (Secretary)
BEST Education Network (BEST-EN), headquartered at James Cook University, Australia is an international, inclusive and collaborative network, focusing on the creation and dissemination of knowledge to support education and practice in the field of sustainable tourism.
The BEST Education Network emerged from a broader initiative known as Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel, which was founded in 1998. The primary objective of BEST was to develop and disseminate knowledge in the field of sustainable tourism. In 2003 BEST went through organisational changes and the group overseeing the educational and curriculum aspects of the organisation became independent and renamed itself the BEST Education Network.
The BEST Education Network is coordinated by an international Executive Committee of academics with expertise in sustainable tourism. The committee is currently chaired by Dr. Gianna Moscardo.
BEST-EN holds annual Think Tanks at various universities around the world, during which research is presented, sustainable tourism topics are discussed, and resources for teaching and practice in sustainable tourism are developed. The BEST Think Tanks draw together educators, researchers, consultants and practitioners from the tourism industry. Their knowledge and experience are incorporated into the design of various resources on sustainable tourism including research agendas, identification of issues, current research and implications for practice.
The Think Tanks consist of research presentations, keynote speakers, a research agenda, and curriculum development sessions. Each year the Think Tank has a particular theme and seeks to provide vision and cutting-edge insight to the topic at hand. Past themes have included:
- Think Tank XIX: Creating Sustainable Tourist Experiences, San Fancisco State University, USA
- Think Tank XVIII: Marketing of Sustainable Tourism Products, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences & Arts, Switzerland
- Think Tank XVII: Innovation and Progress in Sustainable Tourism, University of Mauritius, Switzerland
- Think Tank XVI: Corporate Responsibility in Tourism - Standards, Practices and Policies, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Germany
- Think Tank XV: The Environment-People Nexus in Sustainable Tourism: Finding the Balance, University of Pretoria, South Africa
- Think Tank XIV: Politics, Policy and Governance in Sustainable Tourism, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
- Think Tank XIII: Engaging Communities in Sustainable Tourism Development, Taylor's University, Malaysia
- Think Tank XII: Mobilities and Sustainable Tourism, SKEMA Business School, France
- Think Tank XI: Learning for Sustainable Tourism, Temple University, USA
- Think Tank X: Networking for Sustainable Tourism, MODUL University, Austria
- Think Tank IX: The Importance of Values in Sustainable Tourism, James Cook University, Singapore
- Think Tank VIII: Sustaining Quality of Life through Tourism, Izmir University of Economics, Turkey
- Think Tank VII: Innovations for Sustainable Tourism, The Northern Arizona University, USA
- Think Tank VI: Corporate Social Responsibility for Sustainable Tourism, The University of Girona, Spain
- Think Tank V: Managing Risk and Crisis for Sustainable Tourism: Research and Innovation, The University of West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica
- Think Tank IV: Sustainability and Mass Destinations: Challenges and Possibilities, The University of Southern Denmark, Denmark
- Think Tank III: Strategic Management and Events & Meeting Management, Costa Rica
- Think Tank II: Tourism Transportation and Tourism Operations, University of Hawaii, USA
- Think Tank I: Tourism Marketing, Tourism Planning, and Development and Human Resources Management, South Africa
The Think Tanks are open to academics, educators, researchers, government officials, industry experts, sustainability experts, environmental, economic, community and cultural experts in the tourism field. Each Think Tank provides an opportunity for participants to highlight and explore topics that are of significance to the practice of tourism and/or sustainability. Interested delegates are invited to participate in workshops to identify 'hot topics' in sustainable tourism, outlining the specific problems linked to these topics, exploring the types of approaches that can be taken to develop 'cutting edge' research and solutions in these areas, and discussion of implications for stakeholder decision making and policy makers.
In 2007, BEST EN launched the Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI), which seeks to provide vision, knowledge and a framework for tourism education programs to promote global citizenship and optimism for a better world. An important outcome of the TEFI process is a set of five values-based principles that tourism students should embody upon graduation to become responsible leaders and stewards for the destinations where they work or live. The five value sets are: 1. Ethics, 2. Stewardship, 3. Knowledge, 4. Professionalism and 5. Mutuality, and are portrayed as interlocking Value Principles because of their interconnectedness and their permeability.
BEST EN has also been involved in the development of the INNOTOUR platform. INNOTOUR is a WEB 2.0 platform for education, research and business development in tourism and is an experimental meeting place for academics, students and enterprises. Launched in 2009, INNOTOUR is based on content created by the users. The platform is designed to facilitate international interaction and knowledge dissemination between students. New educational and scientific collaborative practices are developed to build interdisciplinary bridges between international campuses.