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Industry experts discuss luxury tourism at AUS-Chalhoub Symposium
Industry experts and academics from the field of luxury tourism discussed important issues and developments pertaining to the field at the fourth AUS-Chalhoub Symposium held at American University of Sharjah (AUS) on April 25. The event, which focused on the topic of luxury tourism, was organized jointly by AUS and the Chalhoub Group and saw the participation of prominent industry leaders from within the UAE and abroad.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the event, Professor Kevin Mitchell, Acting Chancellor of AUS, said:
“AUS benefits tremendously from the generosity of Mr. Patrick Chalhoub and the Chalhoub Group through their support of student scholarships and The Chalhoub Professorship of Luxury Brand Management. The AUS-Chalhoub Symposium is made possible by the Chalhoub Group’s continuing commitment to research and education. AUS, with its global outlook, diverse campus community, and commitment to the local context, provides an ideal venue for considering how ideas and concepts developed through research can be useful for business.”
The first keynote address, entitled “Real Time Personalized Services in Tourism: The New Luxury”, was delivered by Professor Dimitrios Buhalis who is the Head of Department of Tourism and Hospitality, Director of the eTourism Lab, and Deputy Director of the International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research at Bournemouth University in the UK. He is also the First VP of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism, an Executive Board Member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Affiliate Members and the Editor-in-Chief of the most established journal in tourism, Tourism Review.
Professor Buhalis’s engaging address was followed by a lively and interesting panel discussion that looked at “Luxury Tourism in the GCC: Challenges, Opportunities and Future Prospects.” Moderated by Dr. George Christodoulides, Professor of Marketing and the Chalhoub Professor of Luxury Brand Management at AUS, the discussion included Patrick Chalhoub, CEO, Chalhoub Group; Rhea Saran, Editor-in-Chief, Conde Nast Traveller Middle East; Dr. Prakash Chathoth, Professor of Marketing at AUS; and Natalie Nasser, Vice President Sales from Shangri-La. The panelists highlighted the various issues faced by the industry in the region as well as ways to enhance its future prospects.
Speaking on the occasion, Patrick Chalhoub, CEO of the Chalhoub Group, said:
“We are very pleased to hold this symposium in collaboration with American University of Sharjah. This partnership is very important for Chalhoub Group, it’s part of our commitment to education and our mission to share the knowledge we build. I really enjoyed discussing insights on luxury tourism and the growth of this industry. It’s always fantastic to connect with passionate students and I am a strong believer that it’s our responsibility to support them by helping them succeed and contribute to the economy.”
Commenting on the importance of the topic and the event, Professor Christodoulides said:
“Data shows clearly that luxury travel is growing faster than overall travel and the region tries to stay at the forefront of luxury tourism by creating immersive and unique experiences for luxury tourists. At the same time, we should recognize the symbiotic relationship between luxury retail and luxury hospitality. Closer collaboration means greater benefits for both luxury retail and hospitality!”
The second keynote address, delivered by Natalie Nasser and entitled “Delivering a Luxury Experience in Hospitality,” was followed by the announcement of the successful candidates who had won prizes in the student competition organized as part of the symposium.
Launched in 2013, the AUS Chalhoub Group Professorship in Luxury Brand Management caters to the need of for a niche academic and talent development program that meets specific demands of the luxury brand sector in the region.
For more information about the AUS School of Business Administration, please visit www.aus.edu/sba.