I recently gave a keynote speech at the 2020 World Culture and Tourism Forum in Xi’an, China. I spoke about the role that cultural tourism could play in the new Silk Road developments.
In my presentation, I focused on how cultural tourism could form a part of the new ‘Silk Roads’ in the context of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, but also about how cultural tourism might change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can view my presentation below.
Our latest article has just been published in the journal Sustainability. It is open-access, meaning anyone can read it with no paywall. In the article, we propose a new fuzzy-logic model for analysing tourist motivations, which shows how they can change across different age groups. The research was carried out in Novi Sad, in Serbia, which is typical of many small European cities who are trying to develop sustainable urban tourism by attracting different age-groups. Hopefully, the findings of our research will be useful for other cities facing similar issues. You can read the whole article here, and the abstract is below.
“Tourist motivation, as a core of travel behavior, significantly influences consumer intentions and has attracted academic attention for decades. A plethora of studies analyse sets of internal and external motivators, while methodologies that exclusively focus on a single factor, such as age, that can sometimes have a determining influence in multi-attraction destinations, are less prevalent. This study introduces a fuzzy logic approach to develop a new model for analysing the internal motivations of different-aged consumers in multi-attraction urban destinations. Fuzzy models, as a mathematical means of representing vagueness and imprecise information, have the capability of recognizing, representing, manipulating, interpreting, and utilizing data and information, which typically for urban tourist motivations, are vague and lack certainty. This research tests the model in a real-life setting, using the example of Novi Sad, a mid-sized European city, which is typical of many similar cities who are attempting to develop sustainable tourism by attracting older tourists. The new model shows how tourist motivations for multi-attraction destinations are affected by age, through a specially developed m-file for MATLAB, so that it can be applied and tested in other tourism contexts. Theoretical and practical implications for sustainable destination management and marketing are described.”
On 19th September, I’ll be speaking at the Interpreting History conference at Alexandra Palace in London. This looks set to be an excellent event, with a focus on how to interpret historical sites and stories for visitors and tourists. I’ll be talking about dark tourism, and ways in which destinations can interpret their dark histories to attract this market. You can view the whole programme and book here.
Curated by the England’s Historic Cities consortium, the host of this one day conference will be Dr Jonathan Foyle, architectural historian and self-confessed “historic buildings obsessive” whose TV appearances uncover those stories that makes history relevant to today’s audiences. Jonathan will be joined by a raft of UK and international speakers from leading visitor attractions, tourist boards, heritage bodies, and companies which are currently leading the agenda in digital and interpretation innovation.
Alongside the conference, there will be an exhibition to allow participants to see demonstrations of or to experience for themselves new interpretive technologies and to discuss in depth with their developers. And there will also be an opportunity for everyone to experience the £27m renovation of the Theatre and East Court at Alexandra Palace, this wonderful Victorian landmark.
Dark tourism is a topic of increasing interest, but it is poorly understood when considering its significance for mainstream and commercial tourism. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the significance of dark tourism in the top ten most visited European tourist cities and propose a dark tourism index for Europe’s tourism cities.
Data were collected from the websites of the cities’ Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) using a content analysis methodology, based on keywords related to dark tourism taken from the research literature in this area. Descriptive statistics were produced and the variance between the frequencies of keywords related to each city was analysed for statistical significance. These results were then used to construct a darkness ranking of the cities.
There are significant differences in the extent to which dark tourism products and services are promoted by the DMOs of Europe’s top ten most visited European cities. The ranking of cities by darkness does not correspond to the ranking by visitor numbers, and further qualitative analysis suggests that, that the ranking is also independent of the actual presence of dark sites within the destination. This implies that European city DMOs are engaging with the emerging dark tourism market with to varying degrees.
The purposive sample of ten cities can be extended in future research to increase the validity of the findings of this paper. A further limitation is the selection of keywords for content analysis, which have been developed following the literature review contained below. Future research could develop an extended list of keywords using a systematic review process.
This paper shows that it is possible to create a ranking of tourist cities in terms of their darkness, and that this methodology could be extended to a much larger sample size. This links dark tourism research to the urban tourism literature and also offers possibilities for creating a global ranking that could be used by destinations to judge their success in engaging with the dark tourism market, as well as by tour operators seeking to develop products for the same market.
This paper will offer DMO’s and others the opportunity to hone their tourism products more effectively in a way which offers a better understanding of tourism, and therefore provides for better management of its issues.
Dark tourism is a growing niche area of study, and this paper seeks to provide a framework to better understand supply-side aspects of it.
Next month, I’ll be speaking at the launch event in Ireland of the ROOTS project, an EU-funded project that has the aim of supporting small businesses across Europe to take advantage of cultural tourism opportunities.
Along with partners in Ireland, Romania, the U.K., Denmark and the Netherlands, we’ve been working together over the last eighteen months to develop this project, with ERASMUS+ funding, which will soon provide a series of free online manuals and training kits that will be rolled out to train small business owners and managers.
At the launch event, which is free to attend, I’ll be speaking about how small destinations can use events to promote themselves and to encourage tourism, using examples from cultural heritage destinations across Europe.
Last week, I was very pleased to be invited to speak at the launch of the Cultur WB network, in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Cultur WB is a new network to support the development of Cultural Tourism across the Western Balkans region that has been set up with ERASMUS+ funding in a project with partners from Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, The Netherlands, Austria and Germany. When I was there the project was also bringing in new contributions from the UK, Greece and Albania.
The Cultur WB project aims to not only strengthen ties between people working on cultural tourism as practitioners and researchers in the region, but also to to develop life-long-learning programmes for people working in tourism and new Masters programmes in cultural tourism. At the launch event, I gave a presentation on how small and emerging destinations can use cultural events to develop their tourism, and how we should think about measuring the impacts of these events. You can view the presentation below:
The launch event was fantastic, with presentations from politicians, academics and practitioners. Sarajevo itself is an amazing city and the organisers of the event, Sarajevo Meeting of Cultures, are doing an incredible job of trying to get their city onto the Cultural Tourism map, which I have no doubt they are succeeding in.
Our new paper on the diversification of tourism in the Thai island of Phuket has just been published in the journal Geographica Pannonica. This is an open access journal and so the paper is free to download and read – just click here to open the PDF.
In the paper we look at the need for diversification in the tourism offer of Phuket, away from ‘sun, sea and sand’ tourism that can sometimes be problematic for the destination, and towards cultural heritage tourism that makes use of the many attractive heritage sites on the island.
In order to make recommendations for the diversification of tourism products on the Thai island of Phuket, this paper applies the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) method to rank the attractiveness of six cultural heritage sites in the island of Phuket to make recommendations for sites that could be incorporated in to cultural tourism development in the region. In addition, it applies a quantitative-qualitative evaluation structure with weighted criteria, based on local expert opinion. The research identified which of the many potential cultural tourism sites would be the most attractive to tourists and shows the utility of the AHP method, combined with quantitative-qualitative evaluation, for decision making in tourism destination development contexts
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.