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.
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.
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.
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:
Recently, I was a keynote speaker at the MEKST 2015 conference in Novi Sad, in Serbia. This is an annual conference held in Serbia for students and faculty from around the Balkans, with a focus on the countries of the former Yugoslavia.
This was the third event I have spoken at in the region over the last two years, after the Belgrade Tourism Conference and Turizimijada in Montenegro. These events aren’t really like anything I’ve seen in the UK or Western Europe – groups of students travel together from neighbouring countries and spend their time together hearing local and international speakers, share their experiences as students and take part in social activities.
This was an excellent conference, which covered a range of topics, with a different theme for each day: Cultural Tourism, European Projects and Information Technology in Tourism. In my talk, I used images of diverse cultural expressions in the region to explore how cultural tourism can be developed using non-traditional forms of culture. My main message was that cultural experiences can be surprising and exciting, and that tourism development in the region can use cultural experiences to attract and satisfy tourists. You can view my presentation below:
I enjoyed my second visit to Serbia – the city of Novi Sad is beautiful and Serbian hospitality is (always) excellent. It is hard to imagine a similar working in the UK; we don’t have the culture of student-based academic events like they do in the Balkans. This is a shame, as events like these showcase the talents and energy of the next generation of tourism and events professionals and give participants amazing opportunities for networking. The next event is being held from 23-15 November 2016 and I would encourage UK-based tourism students to attend to develop their careers and make new contacts in a region where tourism development is really taking off.
In my presentation, I argued that, in the absence of strong government policies on tourism and culture, and as public sector funding and control of regeneration reduces, there is an opportunity for heritage groups (like the fantastic Sevenoaks Society, who presented their work on local lists at the event) to influence how their local heritage is presented to tourists and to influence the nature of local economic development.
My main point was that tourists want fantastic, memorable experiences. If heritage groups can present their local heritage to tourists as interesting stories and use exciting narratives, then heritage can be a great resource for regeneration. This might mean them becoming comfortable with the inauthentic heritagisation of their areas, but seaside towns like Whitby and Blackpool show that this can be highly effective in bringing in tourists and generating economic impacts.
The conference was one of the most interesting tourism events that I’ve been involved in for a long time – a chance to hear from academics in a region that is often under-represented in academic circles and to listen to the views of young people from the region about how they see the future of tourism and their own careers. I learnt about the extent and significance of spa and health tourism in south-eastern Europe and the innovative marketing of the European Basketball Championships in Solvenia in 2013, as well as the factors affecting tourism entrepreneurship in the region. You can view our presentations below:
Dr Samantha Chaperon: Tourist Destination Image – Young People’s Perceptions of Serbia
James Kennell: Cultural Tourism and Urban Regeneration in Europe – Lessons for Serbia
As well as a great conference, our hosts showed us some of the traditional culture of Serbia and took us to some of their other events for young people in the city. Belgrade has so much to offer young people as a destination, not least its nightlife! We tried to keep up, but eventually gave in and saved our energy for sightseeing…