Close to 400 participants from 31 countries and regions gathered at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district to discuss education and the travel industry at this year’s HONG KONG 2017: 3rd Global Tourism and Hospitality Conference, which recently took place from June 5 to 7.

Among the most frequently arising discussion points across numerous sessions was the apparent disconnect between the travel sector and educational institutions, and how to bridge that gap.

According to some speakers from the private sector, travel industry businesses such as hotels rely on schools and universities to provide them with a good pool of potential talent. However, there has tended to be a lack of focus on practical information applicable to the workplace in many of these institutions’ curricula. Improved communication between the two sides was regularly cited as being the optimal means by which each side could better understand the other’s needs.

Also on the table of topics discussed was research in hospitality and tourism. An awards presentation also took place highlighting high-quality research done by undergraduate students, which covered topics including why restaurants should source local food, customer relationship management and the role of “Generation Y” on today’s tourism sector.

Hong Kong 2017 is organised by The School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

In his closing remarks, SHTM dean professor, Kaye Chon, said: “We at the SHTM consider it vital to unite students, alumni, industry partners, educators and researchers to promote collaboration in hospitality and tourism education and research for the future innovative development of the industry. We are very proud of our talented students who have so diligently put together an enriching programme and created such a unique platform for the meaningful collaboration.”