WHAT IS ATMC? From Past to Future

As unique as its name in the field, the initiative of the Advances in Tourism Marketing Conference (ATMC) started in 2005. Its first meeting was held in Akyaka (Turkey), and attended by more than 70 researchers and practitioners from more than 15 different countries. Three distinguished key note speakers were invited: Turgut Var (Texas A&M University, USA), Peter Tarlow (Tarlow Consulting, USA),  Juergen Gnoth (University of Otago, NZ).

The second conference was held in Valencia, Spain, in 2007. It was coordinated by the University of Valencia (Spain) and Mugla University (Turkey with the University of Otago (New Zealand) joining forces. That conference attracted over 200 attendees. This was followed by the induction of Bournemouth University (2009, UK, 230 attendees), University of Maribor (2011, Slovenia, 90 attendees), University of Algarve (2013, Portugal, 140 attendees) and University of Eastern Finland (2015, Finland) respectively.

As its mission, ATMC aims to bring together researchers, PhD candidates, policy makers and practitioners to provide a forum for the discussion and dissemination of themes related to marketing travel and tourism, and to critically evaluate how they may contribute to advancing knowledge and practices in the field. In addition to this general goal, each conference is charged with a topical theme and to provide both scholars and practitioners with an opportunity to engage and explore that theme in a series of focal discussions. While offering a general forum for issues in tourism marketing and behaviour research, the forum created around themes distinguishes the ATMC conferences from others.

Themes 

While focusing on updating and canvassing topical issues in international tourism marketing, it has become a tradition of ATMC to create a specific theme for every conference. Each theme is drawn from the conclusions of the preceding meeting, trends in the tourism industry, and priorities in tourism marketing research.

Hence, the 2007 ATMC aimed to analyze "Destination and Event Marketing: Managing Networks", a topic of high relevance to researchers, public institutions, the tourist industry and other stakeholders (tourists, local community, media, among others). Key note speeches were given by Eduardo Fayos (World Tourism Organization)  and Evert Gummesson (Stockholm University)

The 2009 Conference had a specific interest in "Marketing Innovations for Sustainable Tourism Destinations: Operations, Interactions, Experiences". This conference had a particularly strong industry-focus with many practitioners participating. Keynote presentations were be made by: Kaye Chon, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China SAR; Tim Coles, Exeter University, UK; Christine Ennew, Nottingham University, UK; Jean Marc Flambert, Sri Lanka Tourist Board, Sri Lanka ;Simon Hudson, University of Calgary, Canada; Peter Keller, Former CEO, Swiss Tourist Board, Switzerland; Geoffrey Lipman, UN World Tourism Organization; Victor Middleton, Independent Consultant, UK and Luiz Moutinho, University of Glasgow, UK.

Under the conference theme of "Transforming Experiences: Tourism Marketing from both Sides of the Counter", the 2011 ATMC set out to build on the success of the three previous conferences. Participants benefited particularly from an integrated analysis of host-guest interactions. Keynote speakers in Maribor were Steve Vargo, Vargo, Distinguished Professor of the Hawai'i University in Manoa, Ms Sandra Carvão, the Communications Manager of the UNWTO, Frédéric Dimanche of the Skema Business School in Provence, France, Terry Stevens from Stevens & Associates (Swansea, UK), Pablo de Diesbach from École Hôtelière de Lausanne and Maja Pak, director of the Slovene NTO.

The 2013 ATMC created another specific theme of "Marketing Spaces and Places" in order to highlight the differing ways that tourists learn about and engage with residents' places. Key note speakers in Portugal were Chris Ryan, University of Waikato Management School, NZ,  Juergen Gnoth, University of Otago, NZ, Alan Lew,Northern Arizona University USA, Carminda Cavaco, Lisbon University, Portugal, Gilberto Jordan, CIEO of Andre Jordan Group, Portugal and Pedro Lopes, administrator of Pestana Group Hotels, Portugal.

The 2015 ATMC has a clear focus on "Tourism engagement: co-creating well-being".  Again highlighting host-guest interactions, this conference focuses on creating well—being for all stakeholders.

Publications 

With the interest and support from internationally well-recognized publishers, ATMC has created an additional tradition and mission namely to publish an edited volume for each conference by selecting a number of high-calibre papers presented at the conference.

As a direct result of the first conference held in Turkey, Kozak and Andreu published the book Progress in Tourism Marketing (Elsevier, 2006). Kozak, Gnoth and Andreu then published the book Advances in Destination Marketing (Routledge, 2008) which was a direct response to papers presented at the Valencia Conference in 2007; Fyall, Kozak, Andreu, Gnoth and Lebe then published the book Marketing Innovations for Sustainable Destinations (Goodfellow Publishers, 2009) with papers presented at the Bournemouth Conference in 2009. With the inclusion of a selected list of papers out of the Maribor Conference in 2011, Kozak, Andreu, Gnoth and Lebe edited the book Tourism Marketing: Both Sides of the Counter (Cambridge Publishing Scholars, 2012). The editorial team (Gnoth, Correia, Kozak & Fyall) has now completed editing another book proposal entitled Marketing Spaces and Places including t papers presented at the Algarve Conference in 2013 (Emerald, 2015). For more information about the books see:

http://www.bookdepository.com/Progress-Tourism-Marketing/9780080450407

http://www.bookdepository.com/Advances-Tourism-Destination-Marketing/9780415492386

http://www.bookdepository.com/Marketing-Innovations-for-Sustainable-Destinations/9781906884055

http://www.bookdepository.com/Tourism-Marketing-On-Both-Sides-Counter/9781443842594

To summarise, the ATMC moves on the right track to explore, analyze, and evaluate the state of the art in tourism marketing from an international perspective, and to bring together researchers, policy makers and practitioners. The ATMC provides a forum for the discussion and dissemination of themes related to the tourism system under a marketing approach.

Therefore, the initiative of ATMC represents an important contribution for tourism marketing as a particular research field. The general outcome of the ATMC focuses on facilitating the analysis and interchange of sustainable approaches and international practices as a basis for knowledge and innovation management in tourism marketing. Having grown every other year in number, the conference advisory board still works towards its mission announced in its first series and conveys its responsibility to strengthen the field of tourism marketing by keeping its focus on updating and topical issues:

… We hope that the conference attendants will return to their academic institutions and home countries feeling intellectually enriched and will also continue to contribute to this growing field and meet every two year in a different destination…

To date, ATMC has attracted the presentation of papers with a diverse variety of research topics authored or co-authored by over 1,000 scholars and practitioners representing almost every single part of the world.  The conferences also hosted over 25 internationally well-respected scholars and practitioners who, invited as the keynote speakers contributed to the themed discussion. It is inspiring to see how the ATMC family has expanded both in quality and quantity, how it has created new friendships and networks and how it promises to continue to keep up its standards.

ATMC Advisory Board