My paper in the conference
In first days of December in HSE of St Petersburg we had the pleasure to have some visit-lectures from Carlos Fernandes, a Portuguese professor from Viana do Castelo. In one of the lectures, he propose me to participate in an international conference in Santiago de Compostela, about religious and pilgrimage tourism, which is the main subject of my future thesis.
I made the application almost immediately which included, except the reasons why I want to participate but also to write an abstract of my future paper, which I will present in the conference. With helping of my thesis supervisor, Valery Gordin, I wrote in this abstract the purpose of the paper, main stages to be studied/researched, methodological tools which I will use and which is the literature research which I have done, already. Furthermore, I needed to write about the limitations that I could possibly have doing my research and which in my opinion will be the value of the paper. Last but not least, I needed to put main key words from my research and 3 to 5 references. After this I send my application and I was waiting for the answer.
After some months, they accept my abstract and they invite me to participate in this conference. Second element of participating there, was to submit the paper and the presentation till a specific date. The paper needed to be 3000 words (around 20 pages) and have a format of a typical research in the International journal of religious tourism and pilgrimage. As a result, the paper needed to be written with a consideration that probably in the future it will be published in the journal.
The title of my paper was Strategic seasonality through religious and pilgrimage tourism in Greece. Firstly, I explain the problem of seasonality in Greece and in the same time I compare the country with other Mediterranean countries by showing graphs with numbers of tourists in every month.
Furthermore, I write about some definitions that exist in literature about religious tourism and pilgrimage and I give some main similarities and differences. Later, I answer the question about why especially these tourism types can help tourism seasonality in my country. One of the most important chapters in my paper was also, my web analysis in which I collect specific data from Trip Advisor and from Yandex to demonstrate evidence and built my argument about why Russian market can help Greece to reduce its seasonality in those specific tourism types. I use also SPSS to collect this data and I made some important conclusions.
I also create a map of Greece with religious sites which are most visited by Russians tourists.
Finally, I make a comparative analysis of Russian monasteries that work with tourists all year round and find some best practices which could help the Greek monastic reality. After writing my paper, I made a presentation about all of these and I send to the conference committee. After this, they send me the confirmation of my participation I start to plan my travel to the conference.
During the conference, everything was well organized and all people were very interesting and of course their papers. I present in the second day of the conference. Everything was very good and in the last day they also give me an award of the youngest researcher which was a good surprise to me. They also invited me to one other conference which will be held in Belgrade, Serbia in October. I will definitely try to be ready to participate in this conference also.
To conclude with, I believe that it was very interesting and important experience for me. I learn a lot about the main subject of my future thesis. I also learn how to present a paper to such a big audience without any fear. Furthermore, I meet people that they are specialists in their subjects and that was really important. My future plans are not only writing my thesis as good as I can but also write in the near future a PhD research in cultural tourism hospitality.