The three David Thompson Secondary School students who went to Monaco in late November to take part in the Global Travel and Tourism Partnership Research conference returned saying it was an experience they won’t soon forget.

The conference was fantastic and like nothing we have ever experienced before,” said student Leigh Thompson, who presented at the conference with Emily Zehnder and Sarah Zehnder.

Together, the three had written and submitted a research proposal looking at how the Columbia Valley could turn culinary tourism into a major part of the tourism industry here.

That January 2013 submission won them the national competition and earned them a trip to the international conference.

We gained valuable information about tourism from influential and important members of various international companies,” she added. “As we ended up (presenting) first, we didn’t know what to expect. The Global Travel and Tourism Partnership was quite pleased with our presentation and hopes to translate our case study for use as an example for future years.”

The students said the delegations from the other 15 countries gave a diverse range of presentations, some research-based, some interactive and theatrical.

We found that we got a more broad and global view of not only culinary tourism but also how we can all come from such different cultures and societies but still relate on many levels,” said Leigh.

Emily, Leigh and Sarah spent a few days after the conference taking a look around France, which they also enjoyed.

We got to immerse ourselves in many culinary experiences and we also got to see some famous French architecture and landmarks,” said Leigh.

The three expressed deep thanks to teacher Heather Brown and chaperone Barb Mullen, for helping make the trip possible.