TEFI8 2014 – University of Guelph, Canada – Transformational Learning: Activism, empowerment and political agency in tourism education

4-7 June 2014

In keeping with TEFI’s mission to push boundaries, to think creatively and to inform and support tourism educators and students to transform the world for the better, in 2014 our theme was Transformational Learning: Activism, empowerment and political agency in tourism education”. This theme focused on the capacities of educators, students and higher education institutions to be the change we want to see in the world. Tourism has an enormous capacity to create a better world by tackling issues that matter, such as social justice, corporate social responsibility and sustainability. This conference aimed to harness the power of transformational learning to tackle these big issues and to tap into our own political agency as educators, students, and higher education institutions to effect positive change.  

University of Guelph was the host the eighth Tourism Education Futures Initiative Conference. The University of Guelph, home of Canada’s first hospitality and tourism degree, has a long established tradition of offering applied, experiential and flexible learning opportunities aimed at transforming students into mindful professionals.

Our hosts were Professor Marion Joppe and Associate Professor Statia Elliot from Guelph’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.  As with previous TEFI conferences, this event openned up debate and broke down traditional divides: research-practice; teacher-student; university-‘real world’; business-community. Participants learned by example to be future-oriented and left inspired to be the leaders of tomorrow’s tourism education programs or industry. More information about the conference themes, key-note speakers and publications can be found at the TEFI8 front page.

TEFI7 2013 – Oxford Brooks University, UK – Tourism Education for Global Citizenship: Educating for lives of consequence

13-16 April 2013

Oxford Brookes University hosted the seventh Tourism Education Futures Initiative Conference (TEFI7). Set in a historic student city, Oxford Brookes is one of the UK’s leading modern universities and enjoys an international reputation for teaching excellence and innovation as well as strong links with business and industry. Click here to find out what makes Oxford Brookes unique.

The theme focussed on the capacity of tourism education to contribute to global citizenship and create graduates living lives of consequence. Educators and industry stakeholders keen to make a difference and fulfil their obligations to global sustainability recognise the importance of such a goal. Tourism education, its institutions, academics and students, are at the center of this challenge by virtue of their contribution to industry’s pool of human and intellectual capital. 

Our hosts were Professor Chris Cooper, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Business Faculty, Donald Sloan, Head of the Oxford School of Hospitality Management and Roberto Daniele, Senior Lecturer. As with previous TEFI conferences, the event opened up debate, broke down traditional divides, participants shared experiences and learnt by example to be future-oriented leaders of tomorrow’s tourism education programs and/or industry

The proceedings, resources, presentations and links on the resources page are the collective outputs from the participants of TEFI7. It was the passion and energy of the participants that made this conference such a success. More information about the conference themes, key-note speakers and publications can be found at the TEFI7 front page. So thank you from the TEFI7 Conference Committee!

Dianne Dredge, Daniel Fesenmaier, Pauline Sheldon, Roberto Daniele & Christian Schott

TEFI6 2012 – Milan, Bocconi University

 June 28-30, 2012

Transformational Leadership for Tourism Education was the theme of the sixth annual meeting of the Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI). It was held at the University of Bocconi, Milan, Italy with Prof. Magda Antonioli hosting forty-five innovative tourism educators from five continents. The three day meeting was a lively combination of panels, paper presentations, thought bubbles, and debate on the future of TEFI, interspersed with wonderful Italian food and tours of beautiful Milan. 

A panel on the neo-liberal university consisting of David Airey, Ernie Heath, Johan Edelheim and Karl Wöber opened a stimulating debate on needed change in tourism education. A second panel discussion on the role of leadership in transforming academic systems included international perspectives from New Zealand (Christian Schott), Brazil (Roberta Sogayar), India (Kumar Krishna) and Australia (Dianne Dredge). 

Seventeen paper presentations about issues and ideas related to tourism education by international authors (one who connected to the entire conference on Skype including presenting her paper) were both provocative and creative in their format and content. A particularly poignant pairing of papers dealt with the issue of cultural oppression in tourism in Kashmir, which was followed by an inspiring presentation on how social entrepreneurship assisted local development in Kenya through a tourism education experience. Additional papers challenged the content of courses in tourism and others dealt with the issue of leadership more directly by identifying needed directions forward for future leaders. It is important to note that many of these papers will be included in the Special TEFI Issue of Journal of Teaching in Travel and Tourism in 2013 guest-edited by Christian Schott and Ulli Gretzel. 

The last session of TEFI6 focused on future directions. Working groups spent a substantial amount of time re-visioning TEFI's raison d’etre and the main contributions TEFI can make going forward. 

Regional Summit in Brazil 2012 – University of São Paulo

6 September, 2012

The Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI) seeks to be increasingly globally relevant. Consequently, it has started supporting regional meetings around the world.TEFI in Brazil

TEFI Brazil was held for the first time at the University of São Paulo (USP) in conjunction with the 6th Latin American Congress in Tourism Research (CLAIT). 

The research group on Tourism, Knowledge and Innovation from the University of São Paulo was the host for this meeting. TEFI Brazil was organized by Mariana Aldrigui (USP) and Roberta Sogayar (University Anhembi Morumbi). Participants from different parts of Brazil and other countries, ranging in organizational affiliation from private to public universities and to vocational programs were present at the conference and included: 

  • Professor Miguel Moital (Administration-Bournemouth University)
  • Professor Danielle Fernandes Costa Machado (Tourism- Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul)
  • Professor Celeste Navas (Tourism-Guanajuato University, Mexico)
  • Professor Mariana Aldrigui (Tourism and Leisure-University of São Paulo)
  • Professor Karina Solha (Tourism and Leisure-University of São Paulo)
  • Professor Sérgio Leal (Tourism- Federal University of Pernanbuco)
  • Professor Lélio Galdino Rosa (Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro)
  • Prof. Isabela de Fátima Fogaça (Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro)
  • Professor Roberta Sogayar (Tourism and Hospitality- Anhembi Morumbi University- São Paulo)
  • Prof. Lourdes D´orta (Tourism Progams Coordinator of Paula Souza Vocational School)
  • Prof. Lourival Custódio (Brazilian Institute of Training and Employment- vocational school). 

One student, Leandro de Paula Neto, from the Federal University of Mato Grosso also contributed to the discussions

TEFI5 2011 – Philadelphia, Temple University

 May 2011

This May tourism educators and industry professionals from around the world traveled to Temple University’s Main Campus to hear 37 presenters from 11 countries speak at the Tourism Education Futures Institute (TEFI) World Congress.

For three days, the 2011 World Congress attendees heard from internationally renowned tourism educators and professionals, worked together to develop programs and initiatives in the forward-thinking spirit of TEFI, and enjoyed themselves in Philadelphia.

The 2011 theme, Activating Change in Tourism Education, directly addressed the forces of flux that School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) Professor Daniel Fesenmaier, who co-founded TEFI with Hawaii University Professor Pauline Sheldon, said drove TEFI’s creation.


TEFI4 2010 – San Sebastian, University of Deusto

 TEFI DuestoApril 15-18, 2010

The world faces many challenges, of which one of the most important is creating the leaders of tomorrow. With an explicit charge of universities to take a leading role in educating society, many have suggested that that we need to take a new approach in teaching our students values that will lead to a sustainable future. Indeed, innovative scholars and industry leaders throughout the world have begun to recognize the fundamental importance of values at the university and in the workplace.

The Tourism Education Futures Initiative (TEFI) was born out of a concern for the future of tourism education by a number of truly innovative, thoughtful and committed scholars and industry leaders. This Initiative represents the collective effort to begin a process of rebuilding the education process so that tomorrow will be shaped by people that are committed to a sustainable world. 

More information about the programme is available here.

TEFI3 2009 – Lugano, Università della Svizzera italiana

April 23-26, 2009

The 3rd Summit on the Futures of Tourism Education took place at the University of Lugano, Switzerland. Dr. Thomas Bieger, Vice Rector, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland and Dr. Irena Ateljevic, TEFI LuganoAcademy of Hope, gave keynote addresses on the future issues in education in general, and tourism education in particular. 

During the meeting the TEFI participants:

  • agreed to and further developed the five fundamental values of tourism education;
  • accepted the idea of responsibility in that each member of group see that they are responsible for providing leadership in their particular programs;
  • accepted the idea that the current focus of higher education needs to somehow change to reflect/adapt to the challenges of society;
  • accepted that "outcome based education" is somehow important, although designing a program that measures such outcomes is difficult at best as there are potentially many unintended (or intended) outcomes.
  • During the meeting the ideas of the TEFI initiative were further developed by all participants in five working groups and finally condensed in a White Paper edited by Professor Pauline Sheldon and Professor Daniel Fesenmaier. The White Paper "A values-based framework for tourism education: Building the capacity to lead" is available from the publications page.

TEFI2 2008 – Hawaii, University of Hawaii

April 11-14, 2008

This second TEFI Summit, following on from Summit I in Vienna 2007, continued to examine the factors affecting the future of tourism education.

The particular goal for this Summit was to define a setHawaii TEFI Group of values to guide tourism education over the next 20 years. These values will provide a platform for students and educators alike as they face uncertainties and shifts associated with a multitude of possible future socio-economic scenarios.

Over the two days leading up to this goal, we were informed by keynote speakers and energized by discussions in break out groups. Professor John Tribe opened the conference with a keynote address entitled “Promoting an Academy of Hope”. He set the scene for deeper enquiry focusing on hope in and for tourism education and discussed the role of the University in the contemporary world.

Scott Meis examined the future of the tourism industry and its increasing demand for qualified employees. He projected a lack of employees for the tourism industry as other industries compete for labor, and gave advice for educators to focus on core management disciplines.

Gianna Moscardo profiled the student of the future and gave insight into the learning styles and behaviors of Gen Y on the other side of the digital divide. She identified the need to attract the brightest and best to tourism studies and to adapt our programs to their needs and styles. 

Break-out Groups then discussed industry, student and academic needs as they relate to core values.

Values identified at the Vienna Summit were summarized by Professor Leo Jago who also presented the key values emerging from a survey administered earlier in the year to delegates who attended the Vienna Summit. Out of 22 values identified in Vienna the key ones were:

  • Value critical thinking
  • Ethics
  • Sustainability, and
  • Creativity, innovation and ideas.

Break-out Groups then discussed “What would be the mission statement of our ideal tourism academy?” and “What are the implicit values and the missing values in your program?"

Since the first Summit, an evaluation was undertaken by Leo Jago and Janne Liburd on examples of where values have been incorporated into the tourism curricula. They presented a selection of 18 examples solicited on TRINET, and concluded that values were informing rather than driving content. Four examples were then chosen for more thorough discussion in break-out groups.

A debate focusing on the drivers and inhibitors to change, chaired by John Tribe, began with perspectives from Janne Liburd and Anne-Mette Hjalager. They identified three perspectives as a framework to discuss the drivers and inhibitors:


Drivers: governance structures, trust, external legitimity; resources without control

Inhibitors: contradictory structures, micro-management, external devaluation, lack of team spirit, resource insufficiency


Drivers: Integration of industry in governance structures, co-branding with industry, teacher internships, knowledge exchange, joint resources

Inhibitors: Conservatism in industry, declining innovation, industry adaption, lack of long-term flexibility, locked incentives for students and staff

Life portfolio:

Drivers: Bottom-up democracy, participation, lifelong student commitment, alumni, lifestyle and career motivated learning, ”self-drive”

Inhibitors: No desire/methods to include the student variability, students lack overview and defining experience, industry lacks a receptive capacity for non-standard skills.

The final session summarized the findings of all speakers and break-out groups and identified a vision for the future of TEFI and a set of values that this initiative adopts to guide its future activities. 

Vision: TEFI seeks to provide vision, knowledge and a framework for tourism education programs to promote global citizenship and optimism for a better world.

Five sets of values were identified as key to this vision. These will be nurtured and developed in students, faculty and curricular design:

  • Stewardship: sustainability, responsibility and service to the community
  • Knowledge: critical thinking, innovation, creativity, networking
  • Professionalism: leadership, practicality, services, relevance, timeliness, reflexivity, teamwork and partnerships
  • Ethics: honesty, transparency, authenticity, authentic self
  • Mutual respect: diversity, inclusion, equity, humility, collaboration

These value sets are permeable and overlap giving rise to different sets of values being appropriate for different courses/units and for different professional and sectoral situations. Work is to be done to provide a diagrammatic representation of the relationship between these sets of values.

Work also continues to put definitions against these values and to further develop examples of curriculum teaching the values in tourism.

TEFI 2007 – Vienna, Modul University

18-20 April, 2007

More than 45 delegates from 22 Universities in Europe, North-America, Australia, and Africa gathered following an invitation to participate in a unique event to discuss how we can prepare our students for a very different future. The first Summit on Education in Tourism and Hospitality was not a conference of the usual kind, instead it consisted of leading thinkers picked from academia and industry from around the world to come together to examine the status of education in tourism and hospitality.

Subpages (1): 2012 TEFI6 Conference Resources