CAUTHE 2024 Conference – A recap

Cauthe (pronounced core-thee OR cow-thee depending on where you’re from) brings together professional and student researchers to discuss the latest issues and challenges related to the tourism, hospitality, and events industries. Cauthe stands for the Council for Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education and is the largest and most prestigious academic conference for hospitality, tourism, and events in Australasia. The 34th annual conference was held in Hobart this year and the focus was on ‘diverse voices: creating change in tourism, hospitality, and events. Committee member Lexi Connors had the opportunity to attend, represent YTN and share her experience.

Before the conference officially kicked off, students had the opportunity to join in a day-long workshop for PhD scholars and Early Career Researchers. The morning involved breaking the ice and getting to know one another followed by two afternoon workshops. Attendees could choose to learn more about collaborating and networking in academia, mindfulness and wellbeing or navigating promotion in the New Impact Era before a mentor session. Cauthe is both incredibly hardworking, but incredibly social. One minute you’re sitting in front of a panel of experts from the top universities in the country and the next you’re at an ever so decent pub crawl.

The conference runs in concurrent sessions (sometimes up to 7 at a time) which usually last twenty minutes each and are all organised into themes. The themes provide a fresh perspective on current topics such as regenerative tourism, influencers and destination marketing, gender and LGBTIQ+ perspectives in events, Indigenous tourism, and trends in food consumption. To say it covers the breadth of tourism, hospitality and events is an understatement. The keynote speaker on day one was a real highlight, where Associate Professor Rebecca Bennett from Murdoch University spoke about the diversity dichotomy. Her presentation asked us to learn about diversity by learning from, not about, others and states that to “to learn from diversity, we need to position ourselves within it”. Not only was her presentation enlightening, particularly learning about Noongar pedagogy (an Indigenous undergraduate subject taught at Murdoch University featuring 100% Indigenous content). But it also set the tone for the rest of the week ahead.

For students looking to present at Cauthe, the process usually starts in October and begins with making a submission of your paper or poster. From there, your paper is reviewed and sent back to you with any edits required before receiving a confirmation. Presenting at Cauthe can be nerve wracking, especially for a first timer – you are essentially allocated fifteen minutes to present a years’ worth (and then some) of work. Afterwards, there are 5 minutes for questions from the audience. It can be particularly tricky to navigate answering these questions from someone who has more than double the research experience than you, but the support from newly made peers helps to calm the butterflies. 

For those interested, you can become a Cauthe member which brings a range of benefits, such as: networking and collaboration opportunities, free online access to the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, entering their year-long mentoring program and a discounted rate to their annual conference. Overall, Cauthe is a highly rewarding and beneficial experience for both personal and career growth and a gateway for those seeking to explore the world of research. Absolutely recommend.