For several years members of BEST EN have been discussing ways to move the network towards greater sustainability in its own actions. One of those discussions has been about moving some of our knowledge generating activities online. As our core point of difference to other networks and organizations in tourism has been our cooperative workshopping approach to generating new knowledge this move online has been a challenging one. It is not easy to replicate the benefits of having a group of enthusiastic people spending 2-3 days together in the same physical space focusing their attention on the chosen problem.

But the increasing concerns about the impacts of long distance travel that existed pre COVID and the travel restrictions that have resulted from COVID have come together to generate stronger motivation to get some of activities online. This has been helped by the proliferation of new online and digital platforms and tools that have emerged in response to the global shift to virtual work and education.

So we have launched the concept of a BEST EN linkup. A Linkup is a smaller more focused version of our traditional Think Tank and allows for many different ways to participate.

  1. Interested people can engage in a set of knowledge generating online activities that are aimed at brainstorming the Linkup problem and identifying the dimensions of the problem, challenges, issues, relevant case studies, existing research and suggested research needs, and policy options relevant to the problem. This part replicates the brainstorming and roving idea storm sessions.

    This part will run for 10 -30 days and is open to any tourism researcher, educator, practitioner or other stakeholder with an interest/expertise in the problem who can access the internet.

    Summaries will be made available on the website as these activities progress.

  2. A hybrid live/virtual meeting of 1 day or less which could include keynote presentations (recorded, live in person and/or online), a tourism stakeholder forum (live in person and/or online), sessions of academic papers (recorded, live in person and/or online) as well as a workshopping session. This part replicates several key elements from the traditional Think Tank format.

    These activities will be followed by a series of online meetings between small groups of participants who want to work together to finish a new knowledge output from the various exercises. Potential outputs include guides for practitioners and educators, policy white papers, academic research books, special issues of academic journals and/or research agendas.