First-ever walking workshop on social entrepreneurship in tourism

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Walking workshop in Nepal

The first-ever walking workshop for tourism academics from around the world is being organised in Nepal from 2-11 May, by the Oxford School of Hospitality Management, Oxford Brookes University.

The walking conference is designed to look at the role social enterprise can play in sustainable tourism, with the aim of creating an inspirational event for tourism and hospitality educators wishing to become change-makers in their discipline and to transform the world for the better through tourism education.

Oxford Brookes is working with the Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI) as well as the Moving Mountains Trust while receiving generous support from Temple University in Philadelphia, USA.

The unique walking workshop is a ten day event that will go off the beaten track to the rural villages of Bupsa and Bumburi in the Himalayas.

The experience is designed to take participants completely outside their normal environments and connect them with like-minded colleagues from around the world.

Thirteen delegates will be exchanging the traditional conference experience of PowerPoint-driven presentations for the chance of real reflection, interaction and discussion, immersed in the issues of the region.

This is a chance for real discussion that will lead initially to meaningful changes to the way lecturers think and teach – and in time to a more sustainable brand of tourism that safeguards culture and environments

Roberto Daniele, Senior Lecturer and organiser of the walking workshop

Whilst trekking on the mountainous footpaths of Nepal, participants will deliver ‘walking papers’ on their chosen subject and discuss best practice in tourism and social enterprise with local village committees.

They will also visit social entrepreneurship projects that are developed and supported by Moving Mountains Nepal, as well as take part in workshops delivered by adventurer, mountaineer and founder of Moving Mountains, Gavin Bate.

Participants will witness first-hand the transformational potential of social entrepreneurship and how it has positively affected life in these villages without negative impact on the local traditions of the Sherpa people.

Roberto Daniele, organiser of the walking workshop, Brookes' Senior Lecturer and TEFI executive member, said: "This is about having time to reflect but with action in mind, a chance for real discussion that will lead initially to meaningful changes to the way lecturers think and teach – and in time to a more sustainable brand of tourism that safeguards culture and environments, whilst placing host communities at the centre rather than the periphery."

He added: "There is a real need to build bridges between the world of tourism and that of the social enterprise sector. There is an array of funding and support opportunities to help fuel business projects that deliver the changes that are so desperately needed in parts of our world and indeed in the hospitality and tourism industry as a whole.”

It is hoped the walking workshop format will form the basis of an annual TEFI event in future.

Find out more about the Oxford School of Hospitality Management here.

Image: Ian Bruce