OPENING CEREMONY: THE CONFERENCE GETS OFF TO A FINE STARTThe ideal place for a perfectly planned opening ceremony, the great hall of the University of Lisbon was the setting for this event on the morning of Wednesday October 6th.
The organisation of the transfers of nearly 700 people from the Marriott hotel was faultless. The delegates were greeted on the vast ceremonial staircase by a mascot and by smiling hostesses, as well as by the standard-bearers of the countries present – all of this auguring well for an opening ceremony worthy of our conference.
On the stage was the Light Music Orchestra of the Portuguese Army, with the VIPs in the front row: Vitor Costa, Director for Tourism in Lisbon; Lidia Serras, Director of the Lisbon Hotel School; Nuno Santos, member of the Managing Council of Turismo de Portugal; Major-General Rosario Aleixo; and AEHT President Klaus Enengl flanked by his Vice-Presidents.
In accordance with tradition, the true start of the Conference was symbolised by the parade of the delegations of uniformed students from the 31 countries represented in Lisbon, to enthusiastic applause from the auditorium. The military band conducted by Captain João Oliveira for its part gave of its best throughout the ceremony. Three singers, Cyndi Ferreira, Raquel Monteiro and João Campus, all of them from the Army, gave brilliant performances in the various musical medleys, while two students, Mariana Duarte and Frederico Lorenzo, took turns to make the announcements.
Vitor Costa had the honour of being first to speak; the Director for Tourism in Lisbon welcomed the participants on behalf of the City President, adding that 'Lisbon is to be lived as a personal experience’ and enumerating the impressive list of prizes which Lisbon had been awarded by worldwide bodies. He wished the students good luck in their work, with the encouraging phrase ‘Tourism presents you with a challenge’.
Lidia Serras, director of the Lisbon Hotel School and a key player in the Conference organisation, seized the opportunity to present her school, a model of its kind, which would be the venue for two of the contests; she also gave an account of the courses offered to the school’s students.
For his part Nuno Santos, member of the Managing Council of Turismo de Portugal, also spoke in glowing terms about the quality of the Lisbon school, ‘one of the most recent and most innovative of the Portuguese tourism schools'. He spoke of the technological projects for Portuguese tourism, and mentioned that the new school in Oporto would be officially opened ‘next week’. ‘We are determined to pursue excellence’, he asserted, ‘and to reinforce the sector’s image in Portugal as one which brings employment’. He also expressed his pleasure that his compatriot Ana Paula Pais was an AEHT Vice-President.
Following the showing of a video on the treasures of Portugal, the AEHT flag was brought onto the stage, and to conclude this ceremony Klaus Enengl declared open this 23rd Annual Conference in Lisbon – while Lidia Serras vigorously rang a bell!