AC 2023
Slide 1
AC 2023
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Alfonso Benvenuto, AEHT President

A few hours before the end of this conference in Antalya/Kemer, what are our president’s thoughts on the event?
This Annual Conference has shown that there is a strong motivation among members of the AEHT, because despite the distance, many of them have come here. Participation in the competitions has also been at a high level. Furthermore, the way the conference has been arranged here in Kemer has enabled participants to meet easily and exchange views, to have conversations that have led to direct contacts with other delegates. I have to admit I was a bit scared before I left home because of this bird ‘fly business. I was frightened at the prospect of potential participants deciding not to come. Well I was wrong, they came anyway. And what is more we have come here to find excellent location, a great climate, and superb organisation and a warm welcome.

I think that for members of the Presidium, Executive Board and General Assembly the conference has been a great success, even though certain questions have been hotly debated. Especially the question of reducing prices for delegates to the conference. We must find other ways of reducing costs, especially for students.

This annual conference is a unique opportunity for networking, and you will have noticed that all three decision-making bodies have approved the admission to the AEHT of professional members, a measure intended to increase funding for the Association in order to ensure greater participation by teachers and students. I should like to draw your attention also to the success of the ACCOR and Irish placements for teachers.

Antalya a was also a fine opportunity to show our gratitude to Gilles Honegger for his working in sustaining our relationship with the ACCOR Group for 18 years, thus enabling hundreds of teachers to carry out placements and to thereby gain considerable professional experience. This also the first time that the AEHT has hosted the ECAI competitions in which many students have taken part. I hope that the ECAI competitions will continue into the future with a view to attracting students from higher education institutions. This will lead to high quality professional training, thus improving yet further the level of expertise required by tourism companies.

Tourism is a factor for peace. Tourism means wealth, thanks to the considerable transfers of money and for this reason tourism improves the quality of life in countries which encourage and practice tourism.

Antalya marks a turning point in the history of the AEHT: Adolf Steindl has announced his retirement, even though he will remain as vice-president for a further year. Our treasurer Hans Russegger has resigned after 14 years of voluntary work in this role. He is replaced by Klaus Enengl. The Presidium, the Executive Board and the General Assembly have thanked these two pillars of the Association in a fitting manner.

I also notice that the former Eastern European countries are very interested in learning new ways of doing things, and it is these countries which are organising seminars and competitions with the support of the AEHT.

So next year in Killarney in Ireland I hope that once again there will large numbers of us taking part in the 19th Annual Conference which, I should point out, will see changes in the Executive Board and the Presidium …’

Dr. Fatma Kizilirmak

In the hubbub of the Antalya Koleji canteen Dr. Fatma Kizilirmak, board member of the institution, makes no secret of her pleasure in hosting in her school, just long enough for a visit and a meal, around 200 visitors from all over Europe.
As she explains, Antalya Koleji is part of the ATAC group which includes construction companies, factories, two hotels, one located in Antalya and the other, the Kemer Resort Hotel in Kemer, as well as the college. The college, founded in 1980, is celebrating its 25th anniversary, has 1650 students from 5 to 18 years old divided into four different sections, one of which is devoted to tourism. 250 people, including 180 teachers, work in the college.

When asked how they handled the organisation of this Annual Conference, she smiles broadly. ‘It’s true that it has not always been easy. The most difficult part was the matter of the price. We received no subsidy from the Ministry of Tourism, though with two other sponsors, one for the coffee and the other for the cakes, we managed to make ends meet!
It was a fine opportunity for us, and for the 60 of our students who are involved in organising the event it was an experience that was both unforgettable and most interesting. Now the Conference is drawing to a close and soon we will be able to breathe easily again! But may I say again that for us it was a great honour and a real challenge to organise this Conference which will, I hope, be a lasting memory for all the participants, and make them want to return to Antalya and to Kemer.

Kemal Topaloglu

Kemal Topaloglu is the national representative of the Turkish schools affiliated to the AEHT as well as director of the Tekirdag Anatolia Hotel Management and Tourism Profession High School, so it is quite natural that he should also have an opinion about this Annual Conference in Turkey. He represents 15 similar schools out of a total of 95 throughout the country, and declared himself to be delighted with the organisation of this Annual Conference, an event which he has been attending since 1997. You could say that he has some experience in the field.
‘I hope that one day we will be able to organise a Conference like this one again in Turkey; and even if the organising school this year is a private establishment, I should nevertheless emphasise that the public school in Kemer, where some of the competitions took place, has also made a contribution. In any case I can assure you that everyone has tried their very best, even if one or two minor problems occurred here and there …

Gilles Honegger

Retirement has caught up with him too: Gilles Honegger has come to Antalya in the company of Frédérique Poggi who will take over from him. All the veterans of the Annual Conference will miss his resounding speeches in which, by constantly insisting on the same point – the importance of continuing education - he eventually gets his message across. Gilles Honegger has been coming to the Annual Conference for 13 or 14 years, his first was the one which preceded Sciacca in Italy. He has been made Honorary Member of the AEHT and was touched by this honour. He proceeded to recount his association with the AEHT.
‘The ACCOR group had asked me to work on an employment policy that would enable the Group to become better known. For this purpose I needed to go into the schools and meet the teachers in order to attract them into the professions. I achieved this mostly through employment forums, where we were guided by the belief that we had to go to meet them in the various departments where they wanted to work.

It ended up with everyone knowing me, after a lot of public relations work; the official message from ACCOR was: we are interested in the European education system because Europe is the largest job market and the largest country in the world for the hotel and tourism industry. I became a member of the AEHT and began to collaborate in the AEHT’s large events, so that I could manage to develop a strategy and be certain that all teachers pass on to their students the knowledge and skills which we expect. In fact it is a matter of ensuring that we keep up with the social development of European society and with the expectations of clients and tourists. To enable them to update their knowledge and skills by experiencing the reality of the industry in ACCOR hotels.

So I saw several developments: a rise in the number of teachers coming to stay with us, a considerable increase in the number of trainees sent by the schools to all the various categories of our hotels, a number of non-specialist teachers coming to discover what the industry is really like, and almost all the 500-odd teachers who are entirely satisfied with their placement and would like to return to our hotels.

Then what I like about the AEHT is the natural conviviality, the amazingly rich cultural exchanges, the friendship and cordiality which goes with it. I can no longer miss out on an AEHT meeting and I’d like to thank all those who decided to confer on me the title of Honorary Member.

This said, here is my vision of the AEHT in five years time: the constant rise in the number of tourists in Europe – soon there will be 500 million of them – means that everyone will have to get moving. If Europe wants to keep its place as the number one, it can do so only by making sure its young people are ready to ensure the quality of our hotels, and by working in partnership with the hotel schools and the hotel industry to ensure that the notion of quality becomes reality and that the performance and knowledge of the young people in the professions are adequate for the expectations of these tourists and others …

Rok Kerin et Rok Per, Slovenian students aged 20

Sitting at a table with glasses in front of them beside the pool at the Kemer Resort Hotel, they are enjoying together a moment’s rest after the competitions. Both have their accommodation at the Celim Han hotel, but they can enjoy the same facilities as the others at the Kemer Resort Hotel thanks to their plastic bracelets.
The first competed in the food service contest, the second in the culinary arts competition. Both of these 20 year-olds are happy to be in Kemer.
‘I felt good in this competition in which there were around 40 competitors’ says Kok with a broad smile. ‘And I’m happy to be here. We’ve met some cool people.’
Same story from Rok Per abut the conference atmosphere. However, as a cook he suffered in the small overheated kitchen at the school where the competitions took place. ‘Conditions were difficult but it doesn’t matter, it was nevertheless a damned good experience and it’s the first time I’ve competed at this level …’

Sanela Zekovic , Slovenian student aged 21

With a broad smile, Sanela joins her two friends. Her accommodation is in the Grand Haber and she has taken part in the tourism animation competition. She is very confident and says, ‘I think we were good! We worked together perfectly. All four of us from different countries. It was great. And this Conference lets us make new friends and meet new people.’

Serafettin Og

Serafettin Ög is calm and discrete: in real life he is the husband of Suheyla Ög, the organiser of the first Antalya conference. He has come here with his wife, and he casts a keen outsider’s glace over what is around him. It was interesting to have the views of someone completely external to the event on a conference that is to say the least extraordinary.
‘The ultimate goal of the AEHT? I think that it is useful for exchanges, for sharing experiences, for meeting people, for opening your eyes, for being more realistic, for clearing away the scales form your eyes, for getting rid of prejudices and preconceptions …’

Hans Russegger, Treasurer

Hans the Austrian’s stature is taller than average and his gentle nature is legendary – and both of these have made him into a notable figure in the AEHT. Since 1992 Hans has been treasurer, a heavy task which he has assumed on a voluntary basis until this 18th Annual Conference, at which he announced his resignation. It was the right moment to ask him how he saw these years as treasurer. This is what he said:
It was at the second Annual Conference in Athens in 1989 that I began my connection with the AEHT thanks to my director Reinhardt Ginsel who brought me with him. Following the resignation of John Rees Smith who had been the first treasurer, I was appointed treasurer at the same time as Sibylle Schoch became general secretary. And I used the ‘D-Base’ records which John had created at the time. I began with around 50 schools among which, may I point out, there were about the same number of French as English – whereas we are now almost 400 schools.
There was a lot of work, especially with identifying the Italian subscriptions because very often you had to try to find out which school the subscription came from: the payment was made by IPSSAR plus something else which never appeared on the bank statements! And then I had to manage the new membership applications, the invoices, the reminders. I think I can honestly say that every day I had something to do for the AEHT! Things are a lot easier now with e-mail.

What made me happiest? I’m an ardent European and when I was at school my greatest wish was to be able to meet other young people from other countries. Well, thanks to the AEHT this wish has come true. There is a lot of enthusiasm during the conferences, human contact is excellent at these events, and it’s quite something to receive mail from all over Europe. I felt I had links to all these countries and I’ve met so many people thanks to the AEHT.

What now? Well of course I’m not leaving the AEHT but I’m responsible for the continuing professional development of French teachers in Upper Austria. I will have time to look after them much more and to organise seminars to motivate the teachers …’

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