Tourist motivations for small european cities

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.”

Tourism, Governance and Sustainable Development

With my colleague, Professor Francisco Antonio dos Anjos, we have just edited a special issue of the journal Sustainability.  This is an open-access journal, so it is free to everyone to read and download.  There are fifteen papers in the special issue which deal with issues related to sustainable tourism in countries as diverse as Iraq, Colombia, Slovakia and Indonesia.

One of our aims with this collection, was to add to the tourism governance literature, with research from developing countries and on using new methods and approaches.  This special issue certainly does that, and you can read a summary of the contents in our editorial piece.

Sun, Sea and Shrines – Cultural Tourism in Phuket, Thailand

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.

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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

Call for Papers – Special Issue “Tourism, Governance and Sustainable Development”

With my colleague Professor Franciso Antonio dos Anjos, from Univesidade do Vale do Itajaí in Brazil, we are editing a special issue of the journal Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050), on ‘Tourism, Governance and Sustainable Development’.

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You can read the full call for papers here, and find out more about the journal here.  If you are interested in submitting for this special issue, please just get in touch with any questions.  The final deadline for manuscript submissions is 22nd February 2019.

Effective governance is a fundamental condition for the sustainable development of tourist destinations. The inherent complexity of tourism also requires that its development be accompanied by efficient planning and management processes based on the basic principles of sustainability.

Previous studies in tourism governance have identified the shift from government to governance in tourism policy; the emergence of new networked and postmodern forms of governance affecting tourism; the changing roles of destination management organizations and the complexities of tourism governance in a globalized world. However, much of this research has been carried out in the developed core countries of the international tourism industry. There is a need to bring together new research on this topic from more diverse geographical and socio-economic perspectives, as well as to re-examine the area of tourism governance in light of the many contemporary crises affecting the sustainability of tourism destinations.

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

Sustainability – journal editorial board

I have just joined the board of the open-access journal Sustainability. The journal is an international and cross-disciplinary scholarly, open access journal of environmental, cultural, economic and social sustainability , which provides an advanced forum for studies related to sustainability and sustainable development.  I have joined the editorial board for the ‘Sustainability of Culture and Heritage’ section.

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The journal has an impact factor of 1.789 and is indexed in SSCI, SCIE, Scopus and other well-used research databases.

I have been reviewing for this journal for a while, and I’ve been impressed by the diversity and the quality of the papers, and the speed of their reviewing and publishing process. Typically, reviewers’ comments are fed back to authors within a month and publication takes place online within a week following acceptance.  If you are interested in publishing in this journal, in my area, or if you would like to propose a special issue, please just get in touch for a chat.

 

The Economic Impact of the Self Catering Sector in England

With a colleague, Ewa Krolikowska, we recently published a report for the English Association of Self Catering Operators, on the economic impact of the self-catering accommodation sector in rural and coastal England.  This was the first national study of its kind and you can download the report from the EASCO website by filling in your name and email address here.

James Kennell & Ewa Krolikowska at the House of Commons launch for the report
James Kennell & Ewa Krolikowska at the House of Commons launch for the report

There has been a lot of public attention given recently to the sharing economy in tourism, especially air bnb and uber, and although this is an important new entrant to our visitor economy, it isn’t yet clear what the future of this sector is on many levels, not least in terms of its social and economic sustainability, and its integration with the country’s wider tourism product.

In contrast to this, Self-catering accommodation is an established, well-regarded and often very high quality product that makes a significant contribution to our tourism industry, especially in our rural and coastal communities.  Despite this, it is hardly ever mentioned in the many reports, policies, strategies and destination management plans that have been produced by government and industry alike.

One of the reasons for this is its lack of visibility – paradoxically, one of the great strengths of this accommodation sector is a weakness in this regard.  Self-catering is a low-impact, sustainable solution for integrating visitors into a local economy – it creates jobs in family businesses, as well as domestic SMEs, and makes use of accommodation and services like village pubs and public transport that might otherwise struggle to survive without tourists.

We’ve carried out the first national study of the economic impact of this accommodation, using actual booking information, that has allowed us to estimate the economic impact of self-catering accommodation in rural and coastal areas in England. We’ve used the same multiplier calculations that are used by our public tourism bodies.  We’ve actually been quite conservative in our calculations.  We haven’t made assumptions about how much self-catering tourists spend, we’ve just looked at how much they pay to book their accommodation and what happens inside these properties.

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We have calculated that these self-catering properties contribute an additional £3.04 billion to English GVA each year.  We haven’t looked at the impacts of additional spending by these tourists, but it is clear to us that this figure would significantly increase this impact.

In addition to this, the sector supports more than 20,000 FTE jobs in our rural and coastal communities.

There are three main conclusions that we have drawn from this:

 

  1. It is clear that the more than £3bn economic contribution made by self-catering properties alone to rural and coastal economies in the UK is significant, and under-acknowledged.  To give some context, the government’s own statistics suggest that the entire contribution of agriculture and fishing to these same communities economy is only £10.7bn
  2. It is clear from the booking data that we have analysed that this economic impact involves a significant transfer of economic activity from the prosperous regions of the UK, especially London and the South-East to the countries rural and peripheral areas, not least the south-west and the north-west.  This has implications for the rebalancing of the economy and the government’s approach to our rural economy
  3. The sector should receive much more attention, not just from researchers, but from policy-makers and tourism agencies, who have a sustainable, high-quality, services industry available to them to support growth in often disadvantaged areas, with high potential for future growth.

We hope that this report helps politicians and policy makers to look at the self-catering sector with fresh eyes and makes a contribution to the current debates taking place within government about how to grow the English economy outside of London.

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.