From it’s inception in 1991 the emphasis of ISTM has been the traveler. Usually in fact the tourist. Over the years the membership has expanded both beyond Western travelers and health care providers into areas of travel and those who worked there. Over the last ten years both regional meetings and involvement in issues of population movements has spread. No longer just oriented on the tourist experience, the organization has been active in environmental impact, expedition, altitude, wilderness medicine in addition to increasing involvement in travel by and problems of refugees. It has taken a lot of work over the years to reorient even a little from a primary concern with infectious diseases. Face it, we all like malaria. It has a clear path from infection to treatment, lending itself well to Western concepts of curative medicine.
And so, the emphasis of this year’s ISTM conference is on travelers of all kinds, not just tourists. The young Japanese doctor who is the chair of the Refugee & Migrant Interest group had put together an extremely interesting and educational recourse for those of us who want to maximize our learning for the number of hours spent in Barcelona.
Completely aside, this is probably about the 9th or 10th time I have been in Barcelona. There is always something to explore; a museum, a gallery, an old neighborhood . I am finally conversant with the Metro and tram system; leaving me to wonder why I had not made much use of it in the past. Getting from the airport to the Congress turned out to be easy and 4.50€ (compared to taxi or private transfer fees). As an aside another participant asked me in all honesty if a day would be enough to see the city after the conference. Hum, would you expect to be able to do that in Berlin, St Petersburg, London, Paris, NYC? Perhaps five days might be a good start….
So I attended the afternoon course following my early flight from Munich before going to my hotel. I had stayed for the opening remarks but bagged the reception on the grounds of being tired. I’ve free wifi at both conference and hotel resulting in my sparing of our phone budget