Tourism educators conference comes to Kelowna

A three-day conference for British Columbia’s tourism educators next week, hosted by Okanagan College, is going to be focused on one of the industry’s hottest topics: the future of work in the industry.

“Tourism and hospitality businesses are – at their core – about people,” says William Gillett, the Dean of Okanagan College’s School of Business. “We all know that the single largest issue for tourism operators is human resources. The questions for the tourism educators of this province and country are ‘What can we do about it?’ and ‘What are we doing about it?’”

Toward that end, the conference (May 2-4) has drawn some experts in the educational sector to Kelowna, including John Walsh, the Vice-Provost of Toronto’s University of Guelph-Humber (a position he’s held since 2005). Walsh has developed a reputation for innovation in the post-secondary environment, and has worked on a variety of strategies focused on the food, wine and tourism industries.

Another keynote speaker at the conference is Tom Baum, a Professor in the Strathclyde Business School at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. He heads the Department of Human Resource Management there and is widely acknowledged to be a leading expert in the area of human resources management focusing on the tourism and hospitality management sector.

Between 40 and 50 people are expected to attend. Sessions will cover everything from how skilled workers affect restaurants to the implications of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity on the tourism workplace and what students are taught. Presenters come from Okanagan College, Thompson Rivers University, Vancouver Island University, and Royal Roads University.

For more information about the conference, visit

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