Tourism Policy Research after COVID-19

My new article has just been published in the Skyline Business Journal, called ‘Tourism Policy Research after the COVID-19 Pandemic: Reconsidering the Role of the State in Tourism’.

The article is open-access, meaning anyone can read it. I argue that the decisions that governments around the world have taken to intervene in their tourism industries means that we need to re-think the role of the state in tourism. You can read the abstract below and access the whole article here.

Travel Luggage Sea - Free image on Pixabay

“Over the last thirty years of research into tourism policy, there has been a dominant assumption that the appropriate role of the state in tourism is mostly settled. The state has a legitimate role in the tourism industry, but it is essentially one of ‘steering and not rowing’. This assumption has developed against the backdrop of the neoliberal shift towards small states, powerful markets and light touch policy interventions in industry. This research note argues that the measures that have been taken by governments around the world in respect of their tourism industries, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are sufficiently significant and long-term to warrant a re-appraisal of the role of the state in tourism. Specifically, this note makes the case for a renewed focus on research into tourism policy in non-Western contexts, where the role of the state has not been as constrained by the neoliberal shift, and for an increase in international comparative policy research, which has been notably absent in the tourism policy field to date.”

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:

 

Sustainable Events and Historic Buildings

Our new paper, ‘The Role of Sustainable Events in the Management of Historic Buildings’, has been published today in the journal Sustainability.  This is an open-access journal, meaning that anyone can read and download the paper from here.

Trinity House

As the use of historic building as venues for commercial activity grows, events management professionals working in historic buildings are faced with a number of sustainability challenges, including conservation, preservation, social value and financial sustainability, as well as with satisfying their clients. In particular, these professionals are required to maintain the complex balance between the competing priorities of historic value and contemporary relevance. Little research has thus far investigated the role that sustainable events can play in the management of historic buildings, beyond considerations of the trade-off between conservation and income generation. This research analyses the contribution that events can make to the sustainable management of historic buildings, with an emphasis on understanding the perspectives of event managers within these properties, based on qualitative interviews with historic building event managers and stakeholders in London, United Kingdom. A key finding of the research is that event managers within historic buildings have complex views of sustainability that are specific to these properties and which are not captured in the mainstream events management literature. The paper contributes to the emerging literature on sustainable events and also develops earlier research on the role of events and other income-generating activities in historic buildings

Dark tourism: Cemetery tourism

I was interviewed briefly early in the year for the industry publication, funeral service times.  You can read the final article here, or by clicking the image below.  Along with a colleague, Raymond Powell, I’ve had a book chapter published before on dark tourism and we have a journal article in the International Journal of Tourism Cities coming out on the topic of dark tourism and European cities, scheduled for the start of 2018.

The star of this industry article however, is Sheldon Goodman, the co-Founder of Cemetery Club, who spoke at an event hosted by our Tourism Research Centre in May. Sheldon gives an excellent account of cemetery tourism and the cemetery tours that he leads.  If you’re looking for an interesting case study to support your own research into dark tourism, Sheldon’s work is great place to start.

Events Management: An Introduction – 2nd edition now available!

The 2nd edition of our events management textbook, ‘Events Management: An Introduction’ has just been published by Routledge.  As well as a great new cover, it has updated international case studies throughout, new industry person spotlights, lots of new material and it is now also full of great colour photos.

My freshly arrived copy of the book!

You can buy it from all the usual places, like Amazon, and if you’re a teacher or researcher interested in an inspection copy, just go to the Routledge website to request one.

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.

sustainability-logo

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.

 

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….

 

 

Carrying Capacity – new publication

My contribution to the new Springer Encyclopedia of Tourism, on Carrying Capacity, has just been published.  I blogged about this, and the possibilities for linking this concept to big data, last year -you can read this here.

tourist-in-becak

If you would like a copy of the entry for research purposes, please contact me directly.

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)

UK Tourism Policy and the 2015 General Election

As the 2015 general election in the UK draws nearer, the tourism industry will look with interest to the manifestos of the major parties to see whether tourism gets a mention.   Despite none of the parties mentioning tourism in their manifestos for the election in 2010, tourism was the subject of one of the first policy statements by our Prime Minister, David Cameron, in August 2010.

uk tourism image

I posted a series of blog posts in the run up to the publication of the 2011 UK Tourism Policy, which you can read herehere and here. In these posts, I suggested that the government needed to develop a serious industrial policy for tourism, cut VAT on tourism, invest in skills development and education for tourism professionals and create tourism enterprise zones. Over the last few years, I’ve written (mostly with my colleague Dr Samantha Chaperon) a few papers that evaluate the UK Government’s recent approach to the tourism industry along similar lines.

In 2010, we published this paper on the prospects for English Seaside Towns in the context of the closing down of the Regional Development Agencies and their replacement by new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). We concluded that the LEPs did not place sufficient emphasis on tourism and that they did not recognize the challenges to developing seaside towns associated with their peripheral locations.

In 2013, we published this paper critiquing the UK Government’s 2011 Tourism Policy. In the paper we outlined the major changes that had taken place in the governance and public funding of tourism following the publication of this policy and suggested that the policy did not offer a clear vision of how the government would support the industry in a period of public sector austerity.

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Click on this image to read the current UK tourism policy

Also in 2013, I published this paper, which reviewed the tourism policies of successive UK Governments from 1997-2010 in terms of their relationship to local economic development. This paper shows that, although the current government’s tourism policy continues with many of the assumptions of previous policies about the links between tourism and economic development, it does introduce some new thinking that may create an environment in which the tourism industry can contribute to local economic development.

Thanks to pressure from industry groups such as the Tourism Society, British Hospitality Association and the Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT, it is likely that all of the main political parties in the UK will make statements about the plans for tourism in the run up to the general election.

I think the chances of tourism making it into the published manifestos are pretty slim – tourism isn’t really a doorstep issue. However, we should expect to hear something like this statement from the Labour Party from all of their rivals over the next few months. As they do so, I’ll be reviewing them on this blog and trying to get a sense of what the post-election tourism landscape will look like.