THE LAST EVENING AND THE PRIZE-GIVING CEREMONY
Following another long-standing tradition, the so-called Gala Evening marking the end of the Lisbon Annual Conference took place on Saturday October 9th in an historic site, the Convento do Beato Monastery, on the opposite side of Lisbon from the Marriott hotel.
The transfer of all the guests, bedecked in evening wear, went off according to plan. They were served a welcome cocktail upon their arrival - ideal to pass the time as they waited for the doors to be opened to the large hall, where magnificently laid tables awaited.
Among the guests of honour at the VIP tables were His Excellency Paul Schmit, ambassador to Lisbon of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Mrs Schmit; Mr Theodor Siegl, Head of department at the Austrian Ministry of Education, Mr Nuno Santos, Mrs Ana Mendes Godhino and Teresa Monteiro, Vice-president and General Secretary of Turismo de Portugal respectively ; and several representatives of the event’s partners and sponsors.
The service was rapid and attentive, being carried out by students from the different hotel schools, which had also provided the kitchen brigade. The arrival of each new dish was greeted with a short musical interlude, during which the lights were dimmed. In the course of the evening charming hostesses handed to each of the students a small souvenir dish bearing the crest of Villeroy & Boch.
When the time came for the prize-giving ceremony – it was already midnight – a trio of young percussionists, the Orquestra Metropolitano de Lisboa, played with obvious pleasure on an amazing instrument made of empty bottles, on a vibraphone and on – a set of dustbins! This great art was applauded as it richly deserved.
The restaurant and kitchen brigades, the latter under the orders of the chef Antonio Alexandre, were also given a standing ovation when they took their bow in the dining hall.
Mr Nuno Santos, addressing his audience, said how happy he was to have seen such a spirited atmosphere within the AEHT. ‘Now you have gained rich experiences, many thanks to the partners and to the sponsors, as well as to all those who have organised this conference. We are convinced that tourism in Portugal is travelling in the right direction, and this year Christmas in Europe, held in the Azores, is part of this success.
Last to speak was the AEHT President Klaus Enengl: ‘You can see a very proud president standing before you, looking at students from 152 schools from 31 countries. Many thanks to the organisers. The Executive Board team will do all it can to ensure a successful future; I am proud of the work of all of our students in the course of this week, you have been excellent representatives of your schools, and I congratulate you on this.
He then presented gifts as souvenirs to Paulo Revés, Lidia Serras and Ana Paula Pais, to thank them individually for their contribution to the organisation of the Annual Conference. He also thanked all the judging panels as well as everyone who had come to Lisbon. Then a video was played, showing highlights from the previous four days – a pleasant reminder of the best moments of this Conference.
After the prize-giving ceremony, there was the usual leave-taking and the wait for the buses to take delegates back to the hotel - and the end of the 23rd Annual Conference in Lisbon. It was two o’clock in the morning of Sunday October 10th and for some delegates it was already time to leave for the airport. See you next year in The Hague!