Where’s the flag got to?
The ceremony of presenting the delegations, always a colourful part of the proceedings, took place according to plan with the parade of the students marching behind each country’s national flag carried by a student wearing the appropriate national costume. This time there was a small problem – the French flag had disappeared! But don’t worry, this didn’t spark off a diplomatic incident. The students from the French schools marched behind the AEHT flag, which came at the end of the parade.
The reception bells
This was a sort of complicit wink at all the hospitality professions: to mark the end of the opening ceremony of the Annual Conference, four hotel reception bells were rung by Louis Robert (then still AEHT president), Andro Vlahusic (mayor of Dubrovnik), Marija Vuckovic (deputy regional governor) and Radovan Fuchs (Croatian minister of tourism). And to cap it all, they released a cloud of soap bubbles. It was a novel idea, which attracted loud applause.
The Dubrovnik Conference’s Front Office
For the duration of the Annual Conference the Dubrovnik school had opened a ‘front office’ to deal with all the numerous requests from the delegates. Thus, under the watchful eye of their teachers, students had the chance to put into practice the theory they had learned at school. And of course they did it with great efficiency and a real sense of hospitality.
Nowhere in the world is there ever a meeting without a minor or even major computer problem. There was no exception to this rule at the General Assembly, to which several AEHT officers had brought their laptops for one purpose or another. But when the moment came to use the machine, nothing could be done – this otherwise amazing machine refused to budge. Even the audiovisual technicians could do nothing about it.Preparations While the competitions were taking place, three Dubrovnik students were busy attaching three-coloured ribbons to the medals to be given to future winners. Their work went unnoticed but was so important when the moment came!
Take number six – and it’s free!
The organisers had thought of everything. By agreement with the Dubrovnik municipal transport company, those who wore the Annual Conference badge could use bus number six at will and at no cost: it stopped just outside the Valamar Lacroma Resort, the Argosy and the President and dropped you off in town.
The Austrians throw a party in the bar
The Austrian delegates threw a party for Klaus Enengl, the director of the Bad Ischl hotel school, on the evening after he was elected president. And Klaus, according to some witnesses, took up his guitar and gave the best performance of the evening’s party which it is said was not only pretty boozy but also very convivial.Timetable for the Extraordinary and Ordinary General Assemblies
The Extraordinary General Assembly took place at 9am, but since there were no speeches, the meeting ended well before the allocated time – an hour – was up. With the agreement of everyone present, it was decided to continue immediately with the Ordinary General Assembly. The only problem was that a number of late-comers were thus deprived of a part of the meeting. As for the green, yellow and red voting cards, there was really no need for them: the decisions were made by acclaim or by applause.
Director of the hotel school and president of the Dubrovnik diving club
The ubiquitous Antun Perusina, director of the Dubrovnik hotel school, is also president of the town’s diving club. This explains why Annual Conference delegates were treated to an introductory dive. My informants tell me that they saw Antun Perusina emerging from the swimming pool wearing his flippers and the other accoutrements of this sport, then appearing two minutes later in his suit and tie (what could be more natural – the tie (French cravate) was invented in Croatia) to resume his responsibilities as director and chief conductor of this Conference!
The little conference gifts
As well as the usual folder containing tourist brochures handed to every participant, the organisers had planned two surprises for us. During the gala evening they distributed 800 manually minted silver coins representing on one side the arms of the town of Dubrovnik (formerly known as ‘Ragusa Civitas’), and on the other Saint Blaise, the town’s patron saint.
As well as a small personalised porcelain dish as a lasting souvenir of this 22nd Annual Conference.
Ever since they joined the AEHT as partner members, they never miss their appointment at the Annual Conference. Marco from la Casadelladivisa, Moïse Déglon from the professional cutlery firm of the same name, and Serge Sevaux from Grand Marnier. Each of them presented on their stands the products which they had brought along for display. You could try them, try them on and also taste them!
Buffets with something – delicious – for everyone!
The meals at the Valamar Lacroma Resort were set out as buffets. There was something for every taste, and for once there weren’t endless queues for the diners. The reason for this was that the various dishes on offer were spread out in several places while still being close together. If the latecomers had to do any waiting, it was for places to sit down.
The tourism desk
Those wanting to register for the excursions on the programme needed to complete only one step: give their names to an office specially set up for the purpose on the route between the bedrooms and the restaurant – so you couldn’t miss it. The two teachers who took it in turns to staff the desk had their work cut out at certain times of the day.
There were always several well-stocked stands along the route between the bedrooms and the restaurant, offering local artefacts to the delegates; also on display was a manual weaving loom operated by a craftswomen. She produced some beautiful objects.
Portable kitchen cubicles
Kitchen cubicles had been specially installed for the Annual Conference in the kitchen section of the Valamar President. These cubicles were used for the kitchen competition but will be dismantled and re-assembled in the Dubrovnik hotel school.
Council of Elders
For the moment the Council of Elders consists of five members: Alfonso Benvenuto, Jürgen Clausen, Adolf Steindl, Michel Gaillot and Roy van Sassen. Only the first three had been able to make the time to attend the Dubrovnik Annual Conference. But they are always so happy to meet again in the great AEHT family.