We are pleased to share with you two of the keynote speakers who will be joining us online for #iecon21 on 1-4 October.

During our conference, ‘Recreating tourism through heritage interpretation’, we will consider questions such as:

  • Why is heritage interpretation a suitable tool to recreate tourism after the crisis?
  • Can heritage interpretation empower communities and make them more resilient?
  • Can heritage interpretation also lead to more sustainable tourism?
  • How can heritage interpretation help to foster human values as defined by UNESCO?
  • How can heritage interpretation make tourists and local people more mindful towards our common future?

We are looking forward to your presentations and of course the chat and debates we will surely enjoy together. To help steer some of these, we are pleased to welcome the following two keynote speakers to our virtual stage: Ben Lynam and Gianna Moscardo.

Ben Lynam is Head of Strategic Communications at the Travel Foundation, a sustainable tourism charity based in the UK, which works with businesses and destinations across the globe to improve tourism’s impacts. He has been at the Travel Foundation for nearly nine years and has been involved in projects such as developing the influential ‘Destinations at Risk: The Invisible Burden of Tourism’ report in 2019, and setting up the Future of Tourism Coalition in 2020.

A synopsis of Ben’s keynote:

As international tourism returns, the focus is increasingly on developing authentic, local experiences that create true value for communities. But what does that look like in practice? The Travel Foundation has been working with companies and destination authorities to clarify what terms like ‘authentic’ and ‘local’ actually mean for the visitor economy, and what ‘value’ means for residents, and how to achieve this in the context of ‘building back better’. Ben will also introduce the concept of the ‘invisible burden’ of tourism, and relate this to both tangible and intangible culture and heritage assets, and outline the opportunities this brings for innovative businesses and destinations.

Gianna Moscardo is a Professor in the College of Business Law and Governance at James Cook University, teaching in tourism futures and destination management.  Her research interests include sustainable regional tourism development, destination community wellbeing, visitor experience design and effective guest communication, mostly through interpretation.  Her most recent work has been on using stories for tourist experience design and for improving tourism sustainability.  Gianna is the current Chair of the Building Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Education Network (BEST EN), an international organisation committed to the creation and dissemination of knowledge to support the sustainable tourism education, research and practice.

Gianna will talk about: Interpretation stories for tourism sustainability

Stories are an essential part of being human. The stories we tell ourselves and others, the stories we live and the stories we are told are critical to how we learn about, understand and act in the world.  Until recently, the stories that tourism researchers and practitioners have told themselves about who they are and what they do have focused on how to make tourism work for international tourists and larger tourism businesses. In these tourism stories interpreters, at best, offer a supporting service. The stories that interpreters have told themselves about what they do have focused on preserving and making heritage live.  In these interpreter stories tourists, at best, are a welcome market that can support interpretive goals.  But sustainability pressures, before, during and beyond Covid-19, mean we need new stories about what tourism and interpretation could be and we need to engage tourists and residents alike in more sustainability stories. This presentation will argue no-one is better placed to tell sustainability stories than interpreters. It will provide some ideas to make interpretation a critical component in tourism that makes positive contributions to both destination wellbeing and the world as a whole.

Have you booked your seat yet? Take advantage of the early bird booking discount until 15 August.


Max Dubravko Fijačko is Conference Manager for this year’s IE web conference #iecon21 (1-4 October). You can get in touch with him at: dubravko.fijacko@interpret-europe.net.

To cite this article: Fijačko, Max Dubravko (2021) ‘Conference keynotes’ in Interpret Europe Newsletter 2-2021, 35.

Available online: https://interpret-europe.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Newsletter-Summer-2021.pdf