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Conference Atlas Business Tourism Special Interest Group

At the beginning of May, the AtlasBusinessTourismSpecialInterestGroup Conference was held in Porvoo, Finland's second oldest city. Together with scientific adviser Y. V. Shokola and academic program supervisor V. E. Gordin, a student of Master's program presented a report on study called “Usage of the cultural aspect in the promotion of MICE tourism products in leading world centers”.

At the beginning of May, the AtlasBusinessTourismSpecialInterestGroup Conference was held in Porvoo, Finland's second oldest city. Together with my scientific adviser Y. V. Shokol and academic program supervisor V. E. Gordin, we presented a report on our study “Usage of the cultural aspect in the promotion of MICE tourism products in leading world centers”.

ATLAS Business Travel Conference is an annual international forum dedicated to MICE industry issues. This is a great platform for sharing ideas and best practices in teaching and researching business tourism. In addition to our delegation, scientists and practitioners from Bulgaria, Poland, Finland, the UK and Canada came to the event.

Presentations were very relevant and various! The speakers spoke about the problems and opportunities for promoting the DMO brand, business events as a factor in the development of sustainable tourism, creation of the synergies between business events and cultural festivals, using design and modern technologies to create an accessible environment for business events. The topic of space tourism was also featured!

Key conference speakers - Nicole Ferdinand, Senior Lecturer at the Oxford Brookes School of Hospitality Management, and Rob Davidson, Managing Director of MICE Knowledge - addressed issues such as artificial intelligence in business travel and the contribution of universities to development of the scope of knowledge for business tourism.

During her presentation, Nicole Ferdinand asked all the audience in the room to follow the link in the phone browser and answer a few questions. After a few seconds, charts with the opinion of the conference participants were displayed on the screen of the projector. This interactive seemed to me as a useful tool that can be used in a speech, but also gave occasion to think about the possibilities that modern technologies provide us with.

The event took place on the campus of Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences. Spacious bright halls, modern and stylish design of classrooms, a cantine with a huge variety of healthy dishes - everything contributed to the most comfortable and productive work during the two days of the conference.

On the third day, we went on a tour to interesting places near the capital of Finland. The route was the following: Porvoo - port of Helsinki - Suomenlinna fortress (located on the island, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List) - Helsinki - AmosRex Museum of Art - Oodi Central Library. I recommend visiting this huge modern library to everyone who wants to enjoy the Finnish lifestyle and better understand their culture! The fact is that this is not just a place where books are stored. The library building was designed as a space for leisure of citizens, and it seems that there is almost everything: a large collection of literature, a collection of board games, an incredible variety of areas for work and reading, coffee houses and playgrounds, sewing machines and teaching guides for everyone, 3D - printers and even movie showrooms. “Our apartments are very small, so it’s important for us to have a place where we can feel like in a living room, gather with friends or chat with other residents of the city" - the conference organizers explained to us. It inspires, right?

By the way, I would like to talk about the organizers separately. Almost all the processes of the organisation and conduction of  the conference were carried out by a team of students of the bachelor's program of event management. This program involves a minimum of theory and a maximum of practice, so students are actively involved in organizing city and university events. The way the guys handled the conference case was a delight.

A trip to the conference is an invaluable experience for me. Three days of the event seemed a whole month due to its eventfulness, new information and ideas, interesting international communication. Work on the study is not easy, it is time, painstaking collection of information, analysis of the results and a lot of doubts during the work. But at the same time it is a great opportunity to become part of such a large, interesting and diverse world of inquiring researchers. 

Polina Kamenskaya, student of MP “Cultural and event tourism management”