It had to be done. The organisers did it! Organising this 25th anniversary without using a member school in the usual way was already a tall order in itself. But organising it on a boat into the bargain, with all the difficulties inherent in this mode of transport, went beyond our wildest dreams!

Thus it was that from November 10th to November 15th, no fewer than 730 head-teachers, directors, teachers and students from 30 countries found themselves on board the Costa Mediterranea, based in Savona in Italy, for a cruise taking them to Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Ajaccio and Marseilles before returning to its home port. It was a completely extraordinary way of celebrating, in an unusual setting, the 25 years of the AEHT’s existence.

Thanks to the flexibility of the COSTA company’s directors, it was even possible not to have to sacrifice the sacrosanct student competitions for which the arrangements, thanks to some often last-minute adaptations, were acceptable and even good.

And so the AEHT’s passengers could also savour the delights of a Mediterranean cruise, in the afternoon enjoying the scheduled ports of call while the mornings were devoted to the competitions, seminars and meeting people. And as an added bonus, the sun shone generously at the ports of call!

But this 25th anniversary was also the occasion to turn a new page in the already beautiful history of the AEHT, with a change at the head of the Presidium, since Klaus Enengl (Austria), elected President for a four-year mandate in Dubrovnik, passed on his functions to Ana Paula Pais (Portugal), the AEHT’s first woman president. And similarly Vice-president Louis Robert (Luxembourg) was replaced by Remco Koerts (the Netherlands).

The atmosphere on board and at the ports of call was of course excellent from every point of view because, as we must emphasise, the board and lodging aspects of the event were particularly excellent, both as regards the cabins and their stewards and as regards the meals which were really excellent, with waiters and waitresses who were attentive and smiling. We had every reason to be completely satisfied.

When you realise that a cruise ship of this size employs a crew of around one thousand of about thirty nationalities, and that the number of passengers (for this cruise) was 2,400, you are entitled to be full of admiration for the wonders that are performed to ensure that the cruise runs as well as possible. And there can be no doubt that this was the case.

And in addition a unique experience for all the professionals and teachers from the hotel and tourism schools who had the opportunity of experiencing in situ an aspect of the industry which is constantly developing.

This 25th anniversary will go down in the annals of the AEHT thanks to its originality and its high quality. And already there were the first stirrings of the next annual conference which will take place in Belgrade in November 2014.

Jo Laengy

13th to 18th November 2017 - in Oostend
23rd to 28th October 2016 in London
5th to 10th October 2015 in Cervia
17th to 22nd November 2014 in Serbia

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