Events Management Higher Education: Current issues in the U.K.

I recently gave a keynote presentation at the 2nd International Planning and Creativity Competition, in Hangzhou, China.

In my presentation, I highlighted three issues affecting the development of higher education for events in the UK:

  • Articulating the value of a degree in events management, as opposed to ‘just’ having industry experience or completing work-based training.
  • How to effectively teach about creativity and technology, when most events degrees are taught in business schools.
  • The questions of whether we we helping to develop and enhance the ‘profession’ of events management, or just creating individual professionals.

This event brings together academics, industry figures and students from across China for presentations, workshops and and an event planning competition for undergraduate students. Last year, I was able to speak at the event in person, and a group of our students from the University of Greenwich took part in the competition. Hopefully, we will be back next year. You can view my presentation below:

Cultural tourism and the new silk roads

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.

UK : China collaboration in the events industry

I recently gave the keynote presentation below as keynote for the Zhejiang Global Exhibtion Forum in Hangzhou, China. You can view the presentation, below. In it, I emphasised three areas of potential collaboration: the fusion of creative and tech; incentive travel; city-city partnerships for event destinations.

James Kennell presenting

Interpreting History Conference

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.

Alexandra Palace
Alexandra Palace- the conference venue

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.

Cultur WB

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.

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The Cultur WB partners in Sarajevo

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:

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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.

Overtourism vs. Undertourism

I gave the presentation below as a keynote at the 12th International Iguassu Tourism Forum, which was part of the Festival des Cataratas in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil.

In my presentation, I explained the origins of the term overtourism and showed how important it had become in the media for explaining the impacts of tourism.  But, I also suggested that the term wasn’t very useful for tourism researchers as we already had some fundamental concepts that helped us to explain these impacts, as well as the destination management knowledge to fix them.

A core part of this presentation was the idea that a lot of the current media reaction to tourism is the very old-fashioned idea that mass tourism and, by extension, mass tourists themselves, are somehow bad for destinations.  However, the real issue is how we make sure that we harness the great positive impacts of tourism and manage the negative impacts successfully. I also used examples from UK seaside towns and around the world to suggest that the real danger facing most destinations is actually undertourism.

Foz
The fantastic team who organised the event

A new Events Strategy for Visit Greenwich

Along with my colleague, Pamela Zigomo, we have just launched the new Events Strategy for the Royal Borough of Greenwich, following research that was commissioned by Visit Greenwich and the Royal Borough of Greenwich Council.

The launch event was held at the University of Greenwich, and you can view all the presentations and the strategy document itself on the Visit Greenwich website.

JK Events Strategy
The launch event

“This report proposes the development of a strategic approach to the creation, programming and promotion of events in Greenwich, under the brand ‘Royal Borough of Greenwich Events’. The report identifies clear opportunities for Visit Greenwich to take a more strategic approach to events within the tourist and visitor offer of the destination. With its partners, Visit Greenwich should aim to use events to enhance the positive impacts of tourism and visitation in Greenwich.”

ITSA London Office

We have just launched the new London Office for the International Tourism Studies Association (ITSA) at the University of Greenwich.

Kennell

I chaired the event in my new role as Executive Director of the London Office and attendees were welcomed to the University by Professor David Maguire, our Vice Chancellor.

There were also two excellent presentations by Professor Xinran Lehto from Purdue University, the incoming President of ITSA, and Professor Wolfgang Georg Arlt, ITSA’s Vice President for Western Europe and the Director of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute.

ITSA launch photo
A group photo from the event, to celebrate the launch

Attendees included visiting academics and researchers, journalists and industry representatives, as well as members of the Tourism Research Centre, which is hosting the new office.

ITSA is a leading international network of tourism researchers, with offices in China, the USA and now the UK.  If you’d like any more information about ITSA, have a look at the ITSA website or get in touch!

Big Events in Small Destinations

I recently spoke at the 2nd annual International Conference for Students in Tourism and Gastronomy, in Skopje, Macedonia.  My presentation was about how small tourism destinations, especially in emerging economies, can use major events as part of their tourism branding.  You can view my presentation below:

To get an idea of what my presentation was about, have a look at this short video about the recent stage of the World Triathlon Championship that was held in Jersey, a small island of 100,000 people off the coast of France.  With a worldwide television audience of 3 million people, hosting this event provided media exposure that Jersey Tourism could never afford.

This was a great event, which I also spoke at last year.  This year was even more successful, with presentations from Ljupco Janevski  from the Macedonian National Tourism Agency, Thiago Ferreria from Serbia4Youth and Prof. Dejan Metodijeski from the Goce Delcev University of Stip.  I’m looking forward to supporting the event again next year as it continues to grow and become an important tourism event in the region.

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.