Dark Tourism – Free public event in Greenwich – 4th May 2017

Through our Tourism Research Centre at the University of Greenwich, we’re hosting a free, public event on Dark Tourism, on 4th May.  This will be from 5-7pm and will end with a guided walking tour of the dark history of our Old Royal Naval College campus in London.

“Dark tourism can be defined as tourism associated with the visitation of sites which have death, tragedy or suffering as their main theme” (Powell & Kennell 2016:304)

Western tourists look at Khmer Rouge victims (HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

We have three different presentations at the event, from:

This is a free event, but places are limited.  To register please email businessevents@gre.ac.uk with your name and contact details and outlining any special dietary/disability requirements.

This event is linked to the forthcoming special issue of the International Journal of Tourism Cities, on Dark Tourism and Cities, being edited by John Lennon and Raymond Powell.

Conference: New Spaces in Cultural Tourism

Contemporary Trends in Tourism and Hospitality – CTTH 2017 is an International conference regarding research in tourism, leisure, hotel management and multidisciplinary studies such as events and meeting industry, entrepreneurship in hospitality, creative industries etc.  I am on the Scientific Committee for this year’s event, the 17th in a successful series.  Information about the conference from the organisers is below:

This year the conference is being held in September (1-2 September, New Rectorate building, University of Novi Sad) and the working title of the conference is “New Spaces in Cultural Tourism”. The main aim of the conference is to put emphasis on the importance of cultural and event tourism as important factors for improvement of tourism and general economic image of certain country or region. The Conference is traditionally organized by the Department of Geography, Tourism and Hotel Management, Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad and this year it is being held during The Street Musicians Festival because we want to emphasize how New spaces – the refinement of streets and city public spaces that possess valuable architectural heritage, but also the decentralization of the city’s cultural offer and specific cultural contributions to the local community – are very important for cultural tourism.

We hereby invite you to our International conference which regards research in cultural tourism, event and festival tourism, event management, leisure, hotel management, gastronomy, creative industries and multidisciplinary studies. More about the conference can be found at our official website.

 

Important details about Keynote Speakers can be found here.

 

Cultural Tourism in European Cities

Recently, I visited Skopje in Macedonia for the first time to give a presentation on Cultural Tourism and European Cities at the 1st International Conference for Tourism and Hospitality Students, which was held in the Faculty of Tourism and Business Logistics of the University Goce Declev.  This was an excellent event, organised by the winners of the Tuirizimijada case study competition held in Budva, Montenegro, last year.  During the event there was a mix of speakers from industry and academia, including Dr Rob Davidson and Thiago Ferreria, all talking about the role of culture and gastronomy in tourism.

During the event, I was filmed by a local television station, where they asked my the question, “What is Cultural Tourism?”.  You can watch the video of the interview below:

In my presentation, I talked about the role of intangible culture in creating memorable experiences for tourists, especially how the food and the atmosphere of a city contributed to its image.  I wanted to get across how the traditional view of culture as monuments, galleries and landmarks can only convey part of the true meaning of a place, and how destination marketers should think about how to capture and promote the experiences of a place alongside its memorable sights.  I ended with a view observations about Cultural Tourism in Skopje.  You can view my presentation below:

 

UK Tourism Policy – A Punctuated Equilibrium view

Based on our ongoing research into tourism policy in the UK, Dr Samantha Chaperon and I recently gave this presentation at the International Conference on Tourism in Naples, Italy.

In our presentation, we present research where we tested the utility of the concept of punctuated equilibrium, for understanding recent changes in UK tourism policy.  Punctuated Equilibrium draws our attention to two different groups of people and organisations in understanding change and continuity in tourism policy.  Firstly, the policy community involved in framing, creating and implementing tourism policies in the UK.  Secondly, the role of issue networks in attempting to shift the tourism policy agenda – broadly speaking, this would be activity by non-governmental interest groups, such as lobbying and campaigning.

In our presentation, we presented two brief case studies.  Firstly, we explained how the conservative elements of the UK’s coalition government, which was elected in 2010, slowly worked to change the composition of the tourism policy community until they were able to achieve their ideological goal of significantly reducing public sector support for tourism, despite this having no real support from the broader tourism sector in the country.

Secondly, we discussed how a campaign with very broad support from industry, and from many politicians and organisations outside of this policy community had failed to achieve their aims of achieving a reduction in sales tax (VAT) on the tourism and hospitality sector.

We concluded that the perspective of punctuated equilibrium was helpful in explaining why a long period of stability in tourism policy and been broken by a series of quite dramatic changes in tourism governance in the UK.  Punctuated Equilibrium suggests that we should be able to explain the evolution of tourism policy through analysing the tension between policy communities and issues networks – our initial investigations have led us to conclude that, in the case of the UK, the policy community is the dominant part of this equation.  We plan to develop this further for a paper next year….

 

 

Policy Change and Tourism Policy in the United Kingdom

Along with Dr Samantha Chaperon, I have recently had a paper accepted for the 6th International Conference on Tourism, which is being held in Naples, Italy from 29th June to 2nd July this year.

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The paper builds on our earlier joint work on UK tourism policy, and my own work in this area.  In our paper, we conduct a review of tourism policies in the UK between 1997-2015.  The abstract for our paper is below:

Under the New Labour government of 1997-2010, tourism policy in the United Kingdom was characterised by a high level of continuity between the policies of successive administrations.  Since 2010, the United Kingdom has had two different new governments. Each of these governments has launched a new tourism policy.  The Coalition government’s policy made fundamental changes to the funding and governance of tourism and the new Conservative government have enacted significant changes to the National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) for the United Kingdom and England.

This paper analyses the changes in the United Kingdom’s tourism policy between 1997-2015, using a combination of structural explanations based on exogenous factors and the perspective of punctuated equilibrium theory.  Research was conducted through content analysis of key policy and strategy documents including national tourism policies, policies of the devolved administrations of the United Kingdom, and other key documents such as NTO strategy documents and consultation records.  Although this study is based on the United Kingdom, the approach taken could be used to analyse periods of tourism policy change in other countries, especially those that have seen recent changes in government following the global economic crisis.

The paper concludes by showing that although structural explanations of tourism policy making are useful in examining the determinants of tourism policy at any given time, punctuated equilibrium theory helps to explain periods of change in tourism policy by drawing attention to the role of policy communities in setting policy problems and selecting potential solutions By utilising a theoretical approach that has not been applied widely in studies of tourism policy, but which has been used extensively in studies of other policy arenas, this paper shows the utility of incorporating theoretical perspectives from other parts of the policy studies literature when considering changes in tourism policy.  Recommendations are made towards the end of the paper for how this could be applied in future studies, including for international comparative analysis of tourism policy.

 

Tourism and Economic Development in Suffolk

This is the presentation that I gave last week, at the Suffolk Inside Out event in Ipswich.  This excellent event was organised by Events Management students from University Campus Suffolk, who brought together some great speakers and delegates from Suffolk to discuss the development of tourism and the visitor economy in the region.

The main points of my presentation were:

  • Tourism makes a strong contribution to the economic growth priorities of Suffolk,  and tourism stakeholders need to make that clear when they talk to politicians and policy makers
  • The majority of tourism in Suffolk (94%) is day visits, but day trip spending is around £25 per day, way below the national average of £31.  Increasing day visit spend should be a big regional priority.
  • The growth of staycations offers the opportunity for Suffolk to grow a high value domestic tourism market, but this is very competitive and tourism businesses should consider how to offer even more high quality, high value products to the top end of this market.

My contribution to Serbian TV

I recently spoke at the MEKST 2015 conference in Novi Sad, Serbia.  You can read my post about this here.  During the event I was interviewed by Dusan Kristic from Radio Televizija Vojvodine for a programme that they made about the conference and you can view the programme below.  It is 25 minutes long and also features contributions from Angela Benson  and Alan Godsave, who were also speaking at MEKST.

In the video, I suggest ways in which tourism in Serbia could be developed to attract more international tourists and the role of festivals and events in tourism development.

MEKST 2015

Recently, I was a keynote speaker at the MEKST 2015 conference in Novi Sad, in Serbia.  This is an annual conference held in Serbia for students and faculty from around the Balkans, with a focus on the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

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This was the third event I have spoken at in the region over the last two years, after the Belgrade Tourism Conference and Turizimijada in Montenegro.  These events aren’t really like anything I’ve seen in the UK or Western Europe – groups of students travel together from neighbouring countries and spend their time together hearing local and international speakers, share their experiences as students and take part in social activities.

This was an excellent conference, which covered a range of topics, with a different theme for each day: Cultural Tourism, European Projects and Information Technology in Tourism.  In my talk, I used images of diverse cultural expressions in the region to explore how cultural tourism can be developed using non-traditional forms of culture.  My main message was that cultural experiences can be surprising and exciting, and that tourism development in the region can use cultural experiences to attract and satisfy tourists.   You can view my presentation below:

I enjoyed my second visit to Serbia – the city of Novi Sad is beautiful and Serbian hospitality is (always) excellent.  It is hard to imagine a similar working in the UK; we don’t have the culture of student-based academic events like they do in the Balkans.  This is a shame, as events like these showcase the talents and energy of the next generation of tourism and events professionals and give participants amazing opportunities for networking.  The next event is being held from 23-15 November 2016 and I would encourage UK-based tourism students to attend to develop their careers and make new contacts in a region where tourism development is really taking off.

Dark Cities?

This is a presentation based on research that my colleague Raymond Powell and I have been carrying out into Dark Tourism in Europe.  Raymond gave the presentation at the 2nd Annual Conference of the Association of Cultural and Digital Tourism in Athens, Greece.  Dark tourism can be defined as tourism associated with the visitation of sites which have death, tragedy or suffering as their main theme. Commonly such visits are conducted with commemoration, education or entertainment in mind (Stone, 2005). Europe has an abundance of such sites, both real and imagined, which offer ample opportunities to experience dark tourism in all of these ways if so desired. However, they are rarely conceptualised as dark products, and as such categorisation of individual attractions is, at the moment, confused. In the paper that we presented, we begin the process of ranking European cities in terms of how ‘dark’ their tourism offer is.  We hope to develop this over the next couple of years, firstly by carrying out some case studies to verify this initial ranking process.  You can read the abstract of our paper below.

 

Despite the recent growth of research into dark tourism (Dale & Robinson, 2011; Lennon & Foley, 2000; Stone, 2013; Tarlow, 2005) and the growth of the dark tourism market (Biran & Hyde, 2013; Stone 2005; Stone & Sharpley, 2008), there has been little interest shown in understanding the relationship between dark tourism and urban tourism (Page & Hall 2002). This paper presents the initial findings of a research project that investigates the dark tourism products offered by European cities. A series of keywords were developed following a review of the dark tourism literature and this was used carry out a content analysis of the Destination Marketing Organisation websites for Europe’s ten most visited cities.  The content analysis used Stone’s (2006) Dark Tourism Continuum to evaluate the dark tourism products offered in each destination and to present a descriptive overview of Europe’s city-based dark tourism offer.   The paper concludes that there are a wide range of dark tourism products available to urban tourists in Europe, but that these are rarely conceptualised as such.  The mixture of ‘light’ and ‘dark’ dark tourism products presents difficulties in categorisation and standardisation of the urban tourism offer, but this is a potential area of new product development for DMOs across Europe.

Turizmijada 2015

Last week, I gave a presentation at the Turizmijada 2015 event in Tivat, Montenegro. This was the 8th annual event hosted by the International Association of Students of Tourism and Hospitality.  You can see my presentation, on ‘Sustainable Tourism Development in the Adriatic Region’, at the end of this post, or by clicking here.

Tivat, Montenegro
Tivat, Montenegro

The event was held in the beautiful Bay of Kotor, on the Adriatic coast and brought together hundreds of students and faculty members from a range of countries.  It was a very international event – most of the delegates came from Balkan countries such as Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, but there were representatives from much further afield, including the UK and Japan.  One of the supporters of the event was Porto Montenegro, a huge new luxury super yacht marina development which is making a massive contribution to tourism development in Tivat, and in Montenegro more widely.

Bay of Kotor, Tivat, Montenegro
Bay of Kotor, Tivat, Montenegro

Turizmijada has three strands to it – the academic conference, a sporting competition for universities in the region and entertainment for the delegates.  The academic conference was excellent, with presentations from academics from Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and the UK.  The second day of presentations was hosted by the always excellent Dr Rob Davidson, a former colleague from the the University of Greenwich and now the director of MICE Knowledge.

Peter Gulobovic, the organiser and host of Turizmijada
Peter Gulobovic, the organiser and host of Turizmijada

This was my first time at Turizmijada, and my first time in Montenegro. I’m sure I’ll be going back in the near future.  The event is well organised and full of energetic and engaged tourism students, who are really focused on how to develop tourism in the region.  The opportunity to meet colleagues countries that have fast growing tourism industries is excellent and I’ll be looking to include many of the projects that I’ve encountered as case studies in my teaching at the University of Greenwich next year.