Tourism of all kinds has good effects, remarked Dr. Narongchai Akrasanee (left), renowned economist and Mekong Institute Steering Committee Chairman, during the opening ceremony of the 62nd AIEST Conference. 

The three-day conference, co-organized by MI and the Faculty of Management Sciences, Khon Kaen University, at the Pullman Hotel, Khon Kaen was themed Advances in Tourism Research: Perspectives of Actors, Institutions and Systems, and brought together over 80 international scholars and young researchers. 

The Association of International Scientific Experts on Tourism (AIEST) is a network of over 300 scientific and practical experts with particular interests in tourism from all around the globe, who gather annually to present and deliberate on new tourism research and initiatives. The 2012 conference included speeches, breakout sessions, and excursions on pressing topics related to the study of tourism. 

Speaking on the state of tourism in Southeast Asia today, Dr. Narongchai pointed out that growing numbers and statistics are representative of more open policies on trade and investment. Southeast Asia, he stated, has blossomed economically in a relatively short period of time, but with economic problems in developed nations affecting the export market of Asia, the region must once again focus on becoming more self-reliant. 

Mr. Oswald Pichler, Vice-President for Accor Asia-Pacific, addressed business perspectives on Asian hospitality as a more personal way of doing business. He explained that service tends to be performed more from the heart in Asia, which extends to client-customer and client-staff relationships. 

Both Narongchai and Pichler underlined the importance of quality rather than quantity when referring to the need for growth in the tourism sector, with Pichler adding poignantly that patience is the key to success.

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