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The 20th AEHT Annual Conference, organised by the team from the Cornaro Institute in Jesolo, opened on Tuesday October 16th in the Lido di Jesolo ‘Tourism Palace’ in the presence of a number of VIPs and around 600 participants consisting of directors of hotel and tourism schools, teachers, students and those accompanying them.

The opening ceremony took place in a section of the town’s large landmark building, and was compèred by the dazzling Tania Zamparo who had the pleasant task of welcoming the delegates, and emphasising that the 2007 Annual Conference was based in ‘one of the world’s most beautiful cities’ – the nearby city of Venice. The European and Italian national anthems marked the arrival of the delegations, each preceded by their national flag and greeted with enthusiastic applause. A fine parade of students – all wearing their school’s uniform, in accordance with a regulation which came into force for the first time this year – who in turn greeted the guests of honour and the assembly. In turn we saw: Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, Finland, Hungary, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, Holland, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and - last but not least – the impressive Italian delegation. As each delegation entered the hall we were treated to a few bars of their national anthem. Two Italian students had the pleasant duty of warmly welcoming their student colleagues and of wishing them an excellent stay.



Presenter Tania Zamparo



Part of the audience, with the VIPs in the foreground.


Just one part of the Italian delegation

Francesco Calzavara, the mayor of Jesolo expressed his pleasure that his town was hosting this 20th Annual Conference; Jesolo, he told us, was changing its strategy and moving away from low-cost tourism. He thanked those who had played a part in bringing this Conference to Jesolo, notably Ilario Ierace, director of the Cornaro Institute, and Louis Robert, AEHT president; he finished by wishing everyone a pleasant conference.


Francesco Calzavara

Davide Zoggia, president of the Province of Venice, expressed a very similar message, while noting that there were representatives of around thirty countries gathered in a spirit of peace and friendship.

Davide Zoggia

Carmela Palumbo, regional director for education, also wished us all an excellent conference, and emphasised the importance of the world of commerce. ‘The vocational schools have an important role to play in terms of their country and their local area, and they must train people in the skills required to handle the reality of today’s world’, she said with emphasis.


Carmela Palumbo

Louis Robert, AEHT president for his part spoke humorously about ‘what the Italian schools owe to the AEHT, and what the AEHT owes to the Italian schools.’ He was thus emphasising the contribution made by the ‘Italian troops’ to the AEHT, with Italy’s 110-strong membership! He also drew attention to Italy’s riches in terms of civilisation, culture and gastronomy. He quoted some figures relating to this Conference: 301 students, 202 teachers, 110 accompanying persons, 135 schools from 30 countries. He also reminded his audience that this was the third time that Italy had hosted the Annual Conference: the first time had been in Sciacca in 1993, the second time in Arma di Taggia in 2003, and now Jesolo in 2007. In 1988 the AEHT had a membership of around a hundred schools in 16 countries, while in 2007 there are more than 400 schools in 40 countries!
Turning now to the students, he reminded them of what Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, had said: ‘The most important thing is taking part’. ‘You are already winners by the fact of coming here’, he said, and then thanked the organisers: ‘Thank you for offering us all that is best’ – even if he begged everyone’s indulgence for any minor mishaps that might occur during their stay. He then concluded by urging participants to be active in constructing a Europe in which we are all different but all equal – before declaring open this 20th Annual Conference in Jesolo, Italy.


Louis Robert

The entertainment part of the ceremony involved a string orchestra, the "Piccolata Orchestra Veneta" of the ‘Musica Viva’ Association conducted by Giancarlo......with the soprano soloist Lorenara Zanchetta. This was followed by a performance from the singer Simone Grandi and his dancing girls, the hip-hoppers of the "Ballet Studio School" and to finish, a performance from Shvari Devi alias Monica Rizzardi in a world-famous Indian dance routine.


The string orchestra

Simone Grandi
Dancers Shvari Devi
Following the ceremony the invited guests made their way to the "Hall room" for the inauguration of the ‘Menus and Conviviality’ exhibition, an overview of gastronomic events in various European capitals between 1870 and 1930, organised by the Archives of the Modern Age under the brilliant direction of Giorgio Conti.


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