Keynote Speakers

Conference Chairs

László Puczkó

László is Director of the Tourism and Leisure Knowledge Centre at the Budapest Metropolitan Puczkó_László-RLA_picUniversity of Applied Sciences. He has been working as a travel and tourism expert for over 20 years. He graduated as an economist specialized in tourism at Budapest University of Economics and following his interests in culture, arts and experiences, he also graduated from Art & Design Management of the Hungarian University of Applied Arts. He completed his PhD in 2000. He has become a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) in 2003. He was manager at KPMG TLT (EMEA) between 2001 and 2004. He founded The Tourism Observatory for Health, Wellness and Spa (2012).He participated in more than a hundred projects in research, planning, product development, experience mapping and design, impact assessment and marketing. László has been lecturing at various international professional and academic conferences. He is the (co-)author of numerous specialised books (e.g.: Health, Tourism and Hospitality, Impacts of Tourism) and articles in professional journals.


Melanie Smith

Melanie Kay Smith (PhD) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality at the Budapest Metropolitan University of Applied Sciences in Hungary where she specialises in cultural tourism and health tourism. She has worked for over fifteen years as a Tourism academic in both London and Budapest. She has been the Director of BA and MA programmes, has undertaken extensive curriculum development, organised, hosted or chaired several conferences and events, and has more than sixty academic publications. She has been an invited Keynote Speaker at many international conferences, and has undertaken consultancy work in a range of countries, including for ETC and UNWTO. She was also Chair of ATLAS (the Association for Tourism and Leisure Education) for seven years, a network through which she made numerous contacts in more than 75 countries. She is currently on the Board of EuroCHRIE.

Keynote Speakers

Sally Brown

Title: Engaging students, engaging staff: how can we foster high levels of staff and student motivation to produce excellence in learning and teaching Higher Education students are sometimes seen nowadays as being under-motivated and as failing to engage fully with learning. This in turn is demotivating for the people who teach them. In this session we will address some of the causes of disengagement and discuss a range of techniques and approaches to bring back the joy of learning to the classroom

Bio She is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, is a Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Senior Fellow and a UK National Teaching Fellow. She is widely published in the field of teaching, learning and particularly assessment. Her latest book (2015) is ‘Learning, Teaching and Assessment: Global Perspectives (Palgrave).

Her areas of expertise and workshops as well as a full list of publications can be seen at the website at

Contact at or

Twitter @ProfSallyBrown


Phil Race

Title: Making learning happen: inspiring students, in and beyond the lecture room Nowadays, with so much great material available to everyone online, there’s little need to get students into lecture rooms just to give them yet more information. But there are other important things we can do when getting students together, not least inspiring them, helping them to learn from each other’s expertise, and motivating them to make best use of everything that is available to them to help them learn successfully. This interactive keynote will explore how we can bring what happens in lecture contexts into the 21st century, and vanquish the enemy of boredom. (Reference materials: Making ‘Learning Happen: 3rd edition’ (2014) London, Sage. ‘The Lecturer’s Toolkit: 4th edition’, (2015) Abingdon: Routledge.)

Bio Phil Race leads highly interactive workshops (and keynotes) on assessment, feedback, learning and teaching in higher education. He publishes widely on such things, and details of his work can be found on his website His passion is about ‘making learning happen’, in an approachable way, without recourse to jargon, acronyms or elitism. He is the author of the ‘ripples on a pond’ way of thinking about seven factors underpinning successful learning, based on asking over 200,000 people in many parts of the world six straightforward questions about how they learn, and most recently written up in:

Race, P (2014) Making Learning Happen: 3rd edition, London: Sage.

Race, P 2015) The Lecturer’s Toolkit: 4th edition, London, Routledge.

He started as a scientist, but gradually became an educational developer. His work was recognised in 2007 by the Higher Education Academy awarding him a National Teaching Fellowship, and the status of ‘Principal Fellow’ in 2012. In 2010 he was awarded the honour of ‘European Educator of the Year’ by EuroChrie, at a ceremony in Amsterdam. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Education’ at Plymouth in 2012. He is known for using lots of post-its in various colours for brainstorming and prioritisation group exercises at his keynotes and workshops, and for bringing humour into presentations and keynotes – but always with the purpose of highlighting important points here and there. He can be emailed on and Twitter address is @RacePhil (He doesn’t do Facebook or Linkedin!)


Jeremy McCarthy

Title: The Rise of Wellness in Hospitality Consumers today are expecting wellness wherever they go: at home, at work, and when they travel. As a result, luxury hospitality operators are having to consider how to meet the wellness needs of their guests in a more comprehensive way. In this presentation, Jeremy McCarthy will present his vision for where this wellness trend is going, how it will integrate with hospitality, and why wellness concepts are important for how we educate the hospitality professionals of the future.

Bio Jeremy McCarthy is the Group Director of Spa for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group leading their internationally acclaimed luxury spa division featuring 44 world-class spa projects open or under development worldwide. He has over 20 years of experience operating luxury spas in resort and hotel properties worldwide. McCarthy teaches courses in the online certification program in Spa and Hospitality Management through the University of California, is the author of The Psychology of Spas & Wellbeing and hosts a blog about holistic wellbeing at


Franz Linser

Title: Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Wellness Hospitality

Bio Franz Linser, born in 1961, is an ever dedicated and inspiring personality. He began by making his mark as a track and field athlete in hurdle races and combined events, becoming an Austrian national champion. Franz studied sports and English, spent two years in the US, and lectured at the University of Innsbruck. He received his doctorate with distinction and was a trainer of the Austrian national ski team and author from 1989-1992. Franz started working as a successful entrepreneur in the tourism industry where he has been excelling for twenty years. Today he is a passionate and renowned strategist, mastermind and engineer in pioneering modern day and innovative hotel concepts. He is the co-chair of the Global Wellness Summit in 2016.









The event is an continuation of and was initiated by the research financed under the Research and Technology Innovation Fund (KTIA_AIK_12-1-2013-0043) called Adaptation and ICT-supported development opportunities of regional wellbeing and wellness concepts to the Balkans.