UK Tourism Policy – A Punctuated Equilibrium view

Based on our ongoing research into tourism policy in the UK, Dr Samantha Chaperon and I recently gave this presentation at the International Conference on Tourism in Naples, Italy.

In our presentation, we present research where we tested the utility of the concept of punctuated equilibrium, for understanding recent changes in UK tourism policy.  Punctuated Equilibrium draws our attention to two different groups of people and organisations in understanding change and continuity in tourism policy.  Firstly, the policy community involved in framing, creating and implementing tourism policies in the UK.  Secondly, the role of issue networks in attempting to shift the tourism policy agenda – broadly speaking, this would be activity by non-governmental interest groups, such as lobbying and campaigning.

In our presentation, we presented two brief case studies.  Firstly, we explained how the conservative elements of the UK’s coalition government, which was elected in 2010, slowly worked to change the composition of the tourism policy community until they were able to achieve their ideological goal of significantly reducing public sector support for tourism, despite this having no real support from the broader tourism sector in the country.

Secondly, we discussed how a campaign with very broad support from industry, and from many politicians and organisations outside of this policy community had failed to achieve their aims of achieving a reduction in sales tax (VAT) on the tourism and hospitality sector.

We concluded that the perspective of punctuated equilibrium was helpful in explaining why a long period of stability in tourism policy and been broken by a series of quite dramatic changes in tourism governance in the UK.  Punctuated Equilibrium suggests that we should be able to explain the evolution of tourism policy through analysing the tension between policy communities and issues networks – our initial investigations have led us to conclude that, in the case of the UK, the policy community is the dominant part of this equation.  We plan to develop this further for a paper next year….

 

 

MEKST 2015

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.

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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.

Business Improvement Districts and the Visitor Economy

This is a presentation that I gave at last week’s ATCM Summer School.  It shows the first results from a new research project that I am working on with my colleagues Samantha Chaperon and Andres Coca-Stefaniak.  In this project, we are investigating the relationship between Business Improvement Districts and the Visitor Economy, in England and Scotland.  We plan to develop this research over the next few months, in partnership with ATCM, and to publish a report n this topic in the near future.

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.

Heritage, Tourism and Economic Development in Seaside Towns

Yesterday, I gave this presentation at a fascinating event at Turner Contemporary in Margate on local lists and the heritage sector.  I was invited to speak by the Margate Neighbourhood Plan Forum and Margate Civic Society, about the relationship between heritage, tourism and economic development.  This was great opportunity for me to return to Margate, the regeneration of which I published this article about a few years ago.

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.

 

An elephant delighting tourists in Margate (Thanks to Geoff Orton @ Margate Civic Society)
A mechanical elephant delighting tourists in Margate (Thanks to Geoff Orton @ Margate Civic Society)

A visit to Belgrade

Last week, Dr Samantha Chaperon and I, from the University of Greenwich, presented at the Belgrade Tourism Conference 2015, which was being held alongside the Belgrade Tourism Fair.  We were invited to speak by Serbia4Youth, an amazing organisation who are working to present Serbia as a destination for young people from across Europe and beyond.

Serbia4Youth brought together a group of academics for an event that was opened by Gordana Plamanec, the Managing Director of the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia.  As well as Samantha and I, delegates heard from Rob Davidson (MICE Knowledge) and Dr Melanie Smith (Budapest Business School), Miha Lesjak (University of Primorska, Slovenia) and Milan Stojkovic (Tourism Management Consultant).

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Rob Davidson, Melanie Smith, Samantha Chaperon and I

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…

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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.

 

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

Implementing the Witty Review: Universities and Economic Development

I”ve been invited to chair this Inside Government event on 21st January 2014.  ‘Implementing the Witty Review: One Year On’, looks like a very interesting event and, as always with Inside Government events, there is a great range of speakers lined up.

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Click this image to read Sir Andrew Witty’s report

I’ve been to a couple of Inside Government events and I spoke at one back in 2012, when I gave this presentation on tourism and local economic development. They tend to keep their events quite small, for around 50 delegates, and this means that there is lots of scope for meeting people and getting involved in discussions.  In my work with the Economic Development Resource Centre at the University of Greenwich, I’ve been involved for a few years in linking academics to public and private sector organisations seeking to promote economic development and I’m very much looking forward to learning from the other participants in this event in January.

 

A Sporting Chance: the legacies of mega-events for post-industrial British cities

I’ll be contributing to this event at the end of May….

The City Of Manchester stadium, a legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Now renamed as the Etihad Stadium and home to Manchester City football club.

 

A Sporting Chance: the legacies of mega-events for post-industrial British cities

 23rd and 24th May 2012

Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), University of Manchester

Comparing the city of Manchester, ten years after it hosted the Commonwealth Games, with London – host to the Olympic Games in 2012, this two day workshop invites critical inter-disciplinary discussion and evaluation of the legacies of sporting mega-events for post-industrial British cities.

The workshop is funded by the new Urban Experiments research theme at CRESC  and brings together twelve academics whose research is concerned, in various ways, with exploring the socio-economic, political and material transformations brought about by post-industrialisation and/or sporting mega events billed as catalysts for urban regeneration.

Speakers include:

Mike Raco, Professor of Urban and Regional Governance, The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL, London.

Dr Adam Brown, Director and founder member of Substance research cooperative, Manchester

Professor John Gold, Department of History, Philosophy and Religion – Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Oxford Brookes University.

Professor John Horne, Professor of Sport and Sociology, University of Central Lancashire

Dr Larissa Davies, Senior Research Fellow Sport Industry Research Centre Sheffield Hallam University

Dr. Andrew Smith, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster

James Kennell, Director Economic Development Resource Centre, University of Greenwich Business School.

Camilla Lewis, PhD candidate, Social Anthropology, University of Manchester

Beth Carley, PhD candidate, Cathy Marsh Centre for Survey and Social Research, University of Manchester

Gillian Evans, RCUK Research Fellow, CRESC, University of Manchester

Allan Cochrane, Professor of Urban Studies, Social Sciences, Open University

For more information and to reserve a place contact K.D.ho@open.ac.uk

Further Education and Local Economic Development

This is a presentation that I gave last week at the annual Teaching and Learning Conference at Thanet College in Kent, UK.

In my talk, I explored some of the language currently being used by the Government and by OFSTED when they make links between further education and local economic development.  As with much current policy rhetoric in the UK, there are a number of ambiguities in the Government’s views about the future role of FE in local economies and I picked out a couple of these as a way of encouraging the College to think about how it could start to set its own agenda for achieving an ‘excellent’ OFSTED assessment.  In particular, I noted how the culture-led regeneration of Margate and the new Enterprise Zone for East Kent show that the future of local skills development will be in the knowledge economy, meaning that across all areas of the curriculum, teaching and learning should be developing students’ creativity, collaborative skills and flexibility.

I spent half the day at Thanet College and it was a great insight into the current state of Further Education – I learnt a lot from some brief conversations with colleagues there and heard about some fantastic work that is being done.  In particular, it was exciting to hear about how a shift to a student-led, creative curriculum in one subject area had dramatically improved student retention and achievement.