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Otago to host World Leisure Congress

Leading international leisure and tourism researchers will visit Dunedin next week when the University of Otago hosts the world’s largest leisure academic conference.

The 17th World Leisure Congress will be held from December 11-15.

This year’s theme of ‘Leisure: Learn well, live well’ is inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on wellbeing and how it highlights the importance of leisure in our lives.

Professor Neil Carr, of the Department of Tourism, is thrilled to welcome world-class academics to the city, reinforcing Otago’s status as a leader in the field.

“As such, it is a massive opportunity to showcase Dunedin, the University of Otago, and the field of leisure studies,” he says.

“I’m looking forward to meeting old friends and new people working in the area. The presentations by PhD students and recent graduates are always amongst the best to listen to – they are often at the cutting edge, pushing the boundaries not just of their own knowledge and ways of knowing, but everyone else’s as well.”

The five-day conference features a range of workshops, meetings and seminars to allow attendees to collaborate and promote informative, stimulating and challenging discussion on the latest issues in leisure.

Professor Carr says leisure is central to our lives, even if it often goes unnoticed.

“Not only is it a time to relax, reconnect with loved ones, and enhance our social and personal wellbeing, but it also plays a key role in the economy. It is important to ensure everyone has access to that leisure in a sustainable manner.”

The conference is overseen by the World Leisure Organisation, a membership-based NGO that promotes the importance of available and accessible leisure pursuits as an integral part of human health and wellbeing.

This can be participation in sports, travel, the arts or other such activities and encouraging access and inclusion for all.

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