The Conference' Mission

While covid-19 is forcing the world to a social and economic shutdown, it accelerates also a global transformation. The relationship between Asia and Europe is symbolic for these global changes, although the economic connectivity is rising. The Asia Tourism Forum 2020 therefore is a concentration of these global discussions.

Co-hosted by Ludwig Maximilians University Munich (LMU-Munich), the Catholic University of Eichstatt-lngolstadt and the SHTM, the biennial Asia Tourism Forum (ATF) will take place on 7-9 October 2020 in Munich, Germany. Taking the theme of “Connecting Asia and Europe in Tourism” the ATF 2020 will enable researchers, industry practitioners, government officials and students to share and discuss the latest trends and research results pertaining to the development of tourism with in and outside Asia. For nearly 30 years, the ATF has been a prominent platform for cultural exchange and knowledge transfer across Asia and Europe. Highlighting the connections between Asia and Europe, the forum will address the following key trends in tourism.

The rise of big data, the ever-wider application of artificial intelligence and increasing connectivity are driving destinations to engage in smart tourism. However, digitalisation demands digital leadership, whereby the amount and processing of data are evaluated professionally and carefully to equip destinations and organisations to meet global challenges. Smart tourism will help meet tourists’ expectations of travelling in the next decade. As tourists gain more experience of travel, their expectations of quality and the availability of individual products will rise, increasing their demand for high-class service providers of luxury travel. Accordingly, branding has become central to the matching of expectations and experiences.

These trends call for highly trained staff and thus high-quality tourism education. This will require not only practical and local training, but also international research cooperation. Further research should also examine the personal level of visitor experience, as more and more tourists are seeking meaningful and authentic travel experiences, promoting an experience economy. A dichotomy has arisen between enhancing visitors’ experience and promoting sustainability in light of current discussion of climate change and community development. In the future, Asia and Europe will be connected ever more closely by the New Silk Road, refiecting the globalisation of all economic and cultural sectors. However, in today’s era of political tension, protectionism and trade wars, tourism must fill the role of mediator, economic driver and localiser.

The ATF 2020 will discuss the future of travel and tourism connecting Asia and Europe. It will explore current global trends in tourists’ trip planning, travel, consumption and behaviour at their destinations. To share the forum’s findings with tourism providers and promote knowledge transfer between research and practice, a practitioner’s workshop hosted by the Bavarian Centre for Tourism will be held during the forum.

We call for papers (abstracts to be submitted by 30 June 2020) showcasing the latest research and case studies in the forum streams.

Discussion Streams