Zheng "Phil" Xiang
Zheng "Phil" Xiang

Howard Feiertag Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management Associate Professor Zheng “Phil” Xiang was appointed president of the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT) during the ENTER2020 eTourism Conference, held Jan. 8-10 at the University of Surrey in Guildford, United Kingdom. Xiang, who received an endorsement from the immediate past-president of the IFITT, Iis Tussyadiah, was voted into the position by the attending IFITT members.

“It is a true honor to lead and serve this international, multidisciplinary community,” said Xiang.

“I thank the community for the trust. I've been attending the ENTER conference for more than 10 years, and my first ENTER paper goes back to 2004. I benefited a lot from this community for my professional development. I consider IFITT and ENTER my intellectual home, and it's time for me to give back more to this community.”

According to their mission statement, the IFITT is the leading independent global community for the knowledge and development of information technology in the domain of travel and tourism, and the ENTER eTourism Conference is its annual conference. As president, Xiang will be tasked with overseeing the IFITT’s flagship event, which will be celebrating its 28th birthday in China in 2021. The ENTER conference will be hosted by Nankai University in the city of Tianjin, and Xiang will lead the IFITT board to work with the host to organize the conference.

Xiang’s initial term as president lasts for two years, with an option to stand for re-election at the end of the second year. The president can serve for a maximum of two terms. Along with overseeing the conference, Xiang will also work with the IFITT board to provide strategic direction for the organization, and will engage with various communities and organizations across the globe in order to promote the IFITT’s brand and influence.

“Obviously, this also means more responsibilities and workload for me,” Xiang added. “With the support from the Feiertag HTM Department, I feel this is a great opportunity for me, as a Hokie, to make some real impact on an international stage. I am excited and ready.”

– Written by Jeremy Norman