TRC learned with great sadness of the passing away of former Governor of the Province of West-Flanders prof. dr. em Olivier Baron Vanneste and one of the founders of TRC.
TRC learned with great sadness of the passing away of former Governor of West-Flanders prof. dr.em. Olivier Baron Vanneste and Honorary member of TRC on 17 September. Olivier Vanneste was the founder of WER (West-Flemish Development Council) and WES (Wes-Flemish Study Office) in 1954. Tourism is a very important economic activity in the province of West-Flanders. The Belgian Coast and the art city Bruges are well known tourism destinations in Europe., Taking into account the role of tourism in West-Flanders he took the initiative to start with a tourism research department within WES in 1962. Very soon WES became an important player in tourism research not only in Belgium but worldwide.
Based on the publication ‘Le Littoral et son Hinterland (O Vanneste & G. Declercq, 1955), Prof.W. Hunziker, President AIEST, invited Olivier Vanneste to join the AIEST in the late 1950s. The link between AIEST and TRC is rather close. On the occasion of the 25th Tourist Research Centre (TRC) meeting in Bruges, in 1990, Rik Medlik wrote on the history of the young TRC. From his text I quote: ‘the TRC was formed in the mid 1960s by a small group of researchers who felt the need to meet and exchange experience of research in tourism. Their decision at the time was to a great extent a reaction to larger organizations and their conferences, in which participants tended to talk at each other from the platform rather confer and discuss’. Rik was very polite. The origin of TRC was to a certain extent a discontent with the AIEST working in the beginning of the 1960s. A number of AIEST members were of the opinion that AIEST was not the ideal platform to discuss in depth the methodological aspects of tourism research. Olivier Vanneste was one of the reactionaries. TRC started in 1965 with a first meeting in Bruges. But he and other TRC members promised Prof W. Hunziker, that TRC members always should be an AIEST member
He always was a great defender of TRC also as governor of West-Flanders. He invited TRC two times in the provincial palace on the occasion of the annual meetings in Bruges.
We will always remember his pragmatic and purposive leadership.
Honorary President TRC
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Date: October 2014