AEHT, proliferating links…
It was a real challenge for a ‘small’ hotel school such as Bled in Slovenia to host the 17th AEHT Annual Conference from 12th to 17th October 2004. Well, the whole team from the Vocational College for Catering and Tourism Bled well and truly rose to this challenge.
True, the town was celebrating its 1000th birthday in 2004; true, the town of Bled itself is a real jewel set amidst the Julian Alps with its countless tourist attractions, very similar to those of its larger neighbour Austria; true, external support was apparently considerable. But despite all this, for those who know what it means to organise an event like this for more than 600 people with accommodation, meals, competitions, visits and all the various transfers involved, it was no small venture – and one that totally succeeded!
It is also true that for the purposes of this event the School had been closed during the Conference to enable the teachers and the students to give their full attention to the thousand and one detailed arrangements that needed to be refined, corrected and organised. But all are agreed that this 17th Annual Conference was perfectly put together, without any visible problems. Everything seemed natural, stress-free, snag-free, as if it all went without saying.
True, because of the layout of the town, things were relatively simple because everything or almost everything could be done on foot. The only exception was that some of the competitions were held in Radovljica, and that people travelled to the Svinjac discotheque in Lesce.
And if here and there a problem arose, it was quickly diagnosed and solved. Essential training for future tourism professionals, for whom this conference was a very authentic workshop.
It is appropriate to point out how much this Conference is not only useful, but actually indispensable for all these young people who in the coming years will need to come to terms with the jobs market. They have had direct contact with the 125 schools from 34 European countries. Each year we see the magic of the Conference doing its work. And when, as often happens, tears are shed at the end of the Conference, it is because these few days of exchanges, of shared experiences, of competitions and related stress have cemented new friendships and an incredible new view of the world. This is the AEHT’s proud achievement: it is a proliferator of links.