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.

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.”

Dark Cities wins ‘Highly Commended’ Emerald Literati Award

Our recent paper on dark tourism, ‘Dark cities: a dark tourism index for Europe’s tourism cities, based on the analysis of DMO websites’ has been awarded a ‘highly commended’ award in the 2019 Emerald Literati awards.  This means that the paper is free to download for the next six months.  You can read the abstract of the paper below:

 

ROOTS Project Launch Event

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.

roots project

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.

Drones and Tourism Marketing

Our new paper, on the potential of shared drone videos for tourism destination marketing has just been published in the Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing.  If you don’t have access to it, please just get in touch.

In the paper, we provide the first analysis of shared drone videos of the United Kingdom that examines their value for tourism.  Some of these are beautiful, like this one by TheTravellingClatt:

Our research is the first to categorise and analyse user shared drone videos of a tourism destination, and we make some suggestions for how Destination Marketing Organisations can make better use of these, for example:

  • Making more use of user-shared drone videos of their destinations on platforms like YouTube, and promoting these as well as producing ‘professional’ drone footage;
  • Providing platforms online for drone enthusiasts to share their destination footage, including on DMO websites;
  • Acting as ambassadors for drone video creators by providing safe flying zones and helping drone pilots to get access to protected sites.

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.”

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.

Travel Constraints for City Break Travel: Novi Sad, Serbia

I was recently very pleased to be invited onto the Scientific Committee for the 17th Contemporary Trends in Tourism and Hospitality conference in Novi Sad, Serbia.  With colleagues from the University of Novi Sad, we presented a paper on the constraints affecting city break tourists, based on research by my colleague Dr Miroslav Vujičić into visitors to the city of Novi Sad itself.  This is useful research for researchers and practitioners considering city marketing and urban destination management as it identifies the factors that impact on potential tourists’ decision to travel.  The abstract for this paper is below:

 

TRAVEL CONSTRAINTS FOR CITY BREAK TRAVEL – CASE STUDY: NOVI SAD, VOJVODINA, SERBIA

 

Miroslav D. Vujičić (1)*, James Kennell (2), Tamara Jovanović (1), Đorđije A. Vasiljević (1), Snežana Besermenji (1), Uglješa Stankov (1), Igor Stamenković (1)

(1) Department of geography, tourism and hotel management, Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad, Trg Dositeja Obradovića 3, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia

(2) Department of Marketing, Events and Tourism, Faculty of Business, University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9LS

* Corresponding author: miroslav.vujicic@dgt.uns.ac.rs

 

Travel constraints in general can be described as barriers or blockages that inhibit continued use of recreation service, but maybe a better definition was given by Jackson (1991) which described them as factors that “limit the formation of leisure preferences and … inhibit or prohibit participation and enjoyment in leisure”.  Most researchers distinguish three categories of constraints: interpersonal (attributes of the individual) intrapersonal (social interaction) and structural (characteristics of the physical environment).

 

In recent times cities emerged as principal centres of human activity and can be perceived as places that facilitate a diverse range of social, cultural and economic activities and where tourism and entertainment form major service components. Novi Sad is the second largest city of Serbia, the capital of the autonomous province of Vojvodina and the administrative centre of the South Bačka District. This research deals with limitations for city break travel, for tourists who visit Novi Sad. The authors used the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) method with the aim to rank constraints in city break travel. Preliminary results indicate that structural constrains (0.633) are most dominant, followed by intrapersonal (0.199) and that the least dominant are interpersonal constrains (0.169).  The synthesis of results, 22 items in total, indicate that the most dominant constraints are:

 

  • Travel is too expensive (0.078)
  • Business obligations limit my travel (0.072)
  • Travel involves too much risk (0.060)

 

and the least dominant are:

 

  • I don’t have time to travel (0.017)
  • Too much traffic on destination (0.022)
  • I don’t have enough information about a place I plan to visit (0.029)

 

This research showed that most dominant constraint factors are structural in nature,  as shown by criteria weights on first level of hierarchy and the synergy of the results of criteria weights which acknowledge that fact. The study showed that the consistency ratio (CR), according to the AHP method, is 0.07 (CR<0.1), indicating that the study is reliable and accurate and that therefore there is no need for adjustments in the comparison between criteria.

 

Key words: Travel constraints, city break, Novi Sad, analytical hierarchy process

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:

 

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.