Free Webinar – Economic Turbulence and the creative sector

I will be presenting in this exciting free webinar aimed at cultural and creative businesses in the south-west of England.  It is being delivered by ‘ThriveBath’, a training and support programme for the cultural and voluntary sectors in the Bath and North East Somerset area. I will be discussing the impact of economic turbulence on the creative and cultural sector in England and suggesting ways that businesses can adapt to uncertain times.

 

thrive

You can sign up for the free webinar by clicking here.

Advances in Tourism Economics 2014 – Event motivations and attendee spending

Last week, I presented a paper on event motivations at the 5th Biennial Advances in Tourism Economics conference in Lisbon, Portugal.

The Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa campus
The Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa campus

The paper was written by four of us and my co-authors were Denise Hawkes, Emma Abson and Paul Booth.  It was an analysis of the relationship between motivations to attend events that were part of a festival, and attendee expenditure.  We carried out quite an extensive review of the literature, and found that this relationship had not really been explored before; most published research looks at the relationship between motivations and attendee satisfaction, or how to target marketing towards motivational segments.  This is the presentation that I gave at the event:

The abstract for the paper is below, if you’d like to read more, then get in touch.  We’re hoping that the paper will be published in one of the post-conference publications.

This paper explores the impact of motivation factors on spending at a local authority’s programme of cultural events.  This paper takes a closer look at the motivational and demographic data collected as part of the study and, using regression analysis, it identifies large variations in spending by different motivational groups of attendees. Attendees motivated to attend to ‘meet new people’ were found to be the highest spending group by some margin. In addition, the data shows that local audiences are the lowest spenders at these events and that there is no link between previous attendance and event expenditure.   We identify a significant relationship between event attendee motivation and event expenditure, which suggests ways in which these public sector events can be developed and marketed in the future, as local authorities balance the competing priorities of local inclusion and generating local economic impact, through their event programming.

Local Economic Development and UK tourism policy

I’ve just had this paper published in the International Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, on the relationship between local economic development and UK tourism policy.  In the paper I review the economic development aspects of the United Kingdom’s tourism policies under the New Labour government and then concentrate on the most recent tourism policy, published in 2011.  Another of our recent papers critiques the 2011 tourism policy in more detail. I end this paper with some suggestions for how tourism policy could contribute to local economic development, in light of the global economic crisis: using Social Return On Investment (SROI) models, creating events, and responding to glocalisation.  The abstract for the paper is below.  If you would like to read the paper and you don’t have access, please contact me.

Relaxing visa rules for Chinese tourists - a benefit to the UK economy?
Relaxing visa rules for Chinese tourists – a benefit to the UK economy?

“This paper examines the relationship between government tourism policy and local economic development in the United Kingdom. The economic contribution of the tourism industry in the United Kingdom is discussed and the ways in which the tourism policies of the previous thirteen year labour party government attempted to harness this for local economic development are critiqued. The tourism policy of the United Kingdom’s new coalition government is then analysed in the context of the global financial crisis. In order to evaluate the relationship between tourism policy and local economic development, three modes of local economic development are proposed, the third of which, progressive local economic development, is particularly relevant in the current economic context. This analysis shows that, although the current government’s tourism policy continues with many of the assumptions of previous policies about the links between tourism and economic development, it does introduce some new thinking that may create an environment in which the tourism industry can contribute to progressive local economic development that promotes sustainable economic growth. The paper ends with three practical ways that the state could support this contribution.”

Cultural Tourism and Cultural Regeneration in Europe

Today, I gave a presentation at the IACSS 2013 conference in Istanbul.  You can view the presentation below. It is based on a chapter I wrote recently for the Routledge Handbook of Cultural Tourism. If you’re interested in reading the chapter and you don’t have access to it, please get in touch.

An analysis of the UK Government’s tourism policy

We’ve just had this analysis published in the journal ‘Cultural Trends’. You can download the article from here.  If you don’t have access, please contact me.  The abstract is below, as well as a presentation of the article that we gave at the Tourism Trends and Advances in the 21st Century conference in Rhodes, earlier this year.

“This review considers the UK Government’s 2011 tourism policy document. The policy was produced during a period of public sector restructuring in the UK and also during the global economic crisis, which began in 2008. The policy sets out a number of reforms to the governance of tourism at the national and local levels, which aim to increase the level of private sector involvement in leading and developing the tourism sector and to reduce the sector’s dependence on public funding. During a period of economic slowdown in the UK, the tourism industry can make a significant contribution to growth, but it is not yet clear whether these proposed reforms will support or impede the future development of the tourism industry in the UK.”

UK Tourism Policy

Today, we gave a presentation of our analysis of the UK Government’s tourism policy at the University of the Aegean’s fith annual conference on tourism in Rhodes, Greece.

You can view the presentation below. This presentation was based on this article: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09548963.2013.819662#.UeGLScu9KK0

Social Enterprise and Employment in the United Kingdom

I’ve just had a new article published in Perspectives on Workthe journal of the Labor and Employment Relations Association in the USA.

photo

In the article, I give a brief overview of the Social Enterprise sector in the UK and comment on the impacts of social enterprise on economic development and, specifically, job creation.  The main points that I make are that:

  • Many social enterprises operate at the margins of the labour market, so their impacts on general unemployment caused by the economic crisis and industrial restructuring are not always significant
  • The barriers to becoming a social entrepreneur are no less high than to becoming an entrepreneur in the private sector.
  • Some of the most important lessons to be learnt from social enterprises are:
  1. How to support marginalised individuals and groups into the workforce
  2. How to involve employees in firm decision-making
  3. How to grow businesses whilst devoting a higher than average proportion of turnover to wages, training and development.

 

 

London vs. New York: Who is winning?

These are the details of an event being run by the London branch of the Institute of Economic Development.  I became secretary of the branch a few months ago and I’m really looking forward to working with them, especially on events and where we can develop links into our work in EDReC at the University of Greenwich.

This free event is on Tuesday 4th December, at 5.45pm at the central London offices of Buro Happold. Speakers will make comparisons between the economic outlooks of New York and London and there will plenty of time for debate and networking.  Click on the image below to see the flyer for the event as a PDF and read more details.

Don’t wait for the state…

This is a short blog post that I’ve written for the Crossovers blog, that we’ve been developing to help stimulate some debate before the Crossovers event on 19th September, which I’ll blog about later in the week.  The post is based loosely on a chapter that I’ve written for the new Routledge Handbook of Cultural Tourism, which is being published in January 2013, and it is about the future of cultural regeneration.

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As public funding for both culture and tourism continues to shrink, and with the private sector feeling the effect of an extended period of economic gloom, it is easy to think that the long boom in cultural regeneration is over.  For two decades and more, cities and towns in Europe have been through cultural regeneration schemes of one sort or another, often focussed on high-profile, expensive new cultural icons.

 have cultural producers have bought into the cultural regeneration rhetoric?

The success stories that our attention is usually directed towards include Bilbao, Newcastle / Gateshead, Lille, Glasgow – cities that have used flagship cultural developments to help them grow their economies in response to decades of industrial change.

Right now, everywhere in Europe is facing the kinds of economic challenges that the regeneration schemes of the long boom were designed to tackle.  What role can the cultural sector play in meeting these challenges and who is going to pay for it?

We’ve heard for years how the cultural element of regeneration helps to promote things like community cohesion and sense of place, how it can address low aspirations and create new kinds of employment and educational opportunities, especially for young people, and how it can be used to re-brand and promote areas that are in need of investment, often through attracting high-spending cultural tourists.

What will be put to the test now is not whether civil servants and regeneration bureaucracies believe in the power of culture to achieve these things, or whether private sector investors understand the role of culture in attracting employers and employees to an area, but whether cultural producers have bought into the cultural regeneration rhetoric as much as policy-makers and funding bodies.

 is this the new model for cultural regeneration?

In Stokes Croft in Bristol, local activists and artists came together to improve and promote their neighbourhood, from the bottom up.  This meant working at street level with residents and visitors and not waiting for the state to step in with grants or the private sector to open a new shopping centre to attract tourists.  Stokes Croft designated itself as Bristol’s cultural quarter and over time has become known as a cultural tourist destination famous for its vibrant street-art scene and its energetic DIY culture.  Sometimes this brought it into conflict with the local authority; the recent protests against the opening of a Tesco in the area are a testament to its continuing anti-establishment stance.

What has happened in Stokes Croft show us that the positive impacts of cultural regeneration can be achieved by cultural producers, activists and others working together as a community, without the need for masterplans, grants, public-private partnerships or consultants.    We’ve seen this approach being taken in cities across the world from Berlin to London to New York, but historically the developers move in and start buying things up once an area becomes ‘successful’.

Now the developers are keeping their hand in their pockets, is this the new model for cultural regeneration?

Tourism and Local Economic Development in the UK

 Recently, I’ve been working on this topic as part of my work with the Economic Development Resource Centre.  Below are a presentation I gave at an Inside Government event on the visitor economy and the paper that supports it, which was published in the proceedings of the 13th International Research and Practice Conference of the Russian State University for Tourism and Service, ‘Tourism and Service: Education, Challenges and Prospects’, 28th October 2011.