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.

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

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’.



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.

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.


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.


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.

An ERASMUS visit to Germany

I’ve recently returned from an ERASMUS teaching exchange visit to Germany.  I visited the Fachhochschule Stralsund – University of Applied Sciences, in the beautiful medieval city of Stralsund, in the north-east of the country.  While I was there, I taught MA and BA students studying tourism management and destination development.

The Hanseatic town of Stralsund
The Hanseatic town of Stralsund

My teaching in Stralsund focused on issues connected to sustainability – in particular responsible tourism and product development for sustainable tourism.  In a similar way to my recent talk on responsible events, I concentrated on my view that the concept of sustainability is a failed one – we’ve been talking about sustainability for 30 years and it is about time that we generated some new ideas and new behaviours.  I’ve put up some of my slides from my ERASMUS teaching below.

The Business School at the Fachhochschule Stralsund
The Business School at the Fachhochschule Stralsund


Responsible Events

I recently gave a talk on ‘Responsible Events’ at the Event Horizons conference in Cornwall.  You can see the presentation below.  ‘Responsibility’ is a new way of thinking about sustainability.  In this presentation, I argue that ‘sustainability’ has been the least successful policy agenda of the last 50 years.  Top-down policies, frameworks and industry standards haven’t delivered sustainable events or helped us to make global development more sustainable in general.


The concept of responsible events puts the emphasis on what the events industry is good at: bringing people together, using technology creatively and producing amazing experiences.  Instead of implementing dry management standards to brand events as ‘green’, we should be designing events that help event managers and event customers to share the responsibility to create positive impacts on the environment and society.

The presentation below was originally just made up of images – text has been added.

Event Horizons 2014

I’ll be speaking at the Event Horizons conference in Falmouth, Cornwall, next week. The conference run from 6-7 February and will be bringing together the regional cultural and events sectors to explore two key issues – digital technology and sustainability. I’ll be speaking on 7th February on the topic of ‘responsible events’ and taking part in a panel discussion about the key issues facing the events sector in the next twelve months.

It looks like a really interesting programme and there are some more details below:


The day includes: digital production opportunities (AV3), audience development within the virtual environment (Eventbrite), digital marketing applications within event activity (Barefoot Media), and digital event design. The day concludes with a plenary session where Dogbite, Miracle Theatre and Cinegi will discuss their recent NESTA funded live streaming project

Workshop seminars focus on the creative aspects of sustainability, and a panel discussion asks “what are the main challenges for the sector in the next 12 months?” Guest speakers include Mike Richmond (Richmond Event Management: REM), and WRAP (Circular Economy,Resource Efficiency Experts).

1 day £40. Both days £75.

Thursday 6 February 2014, 09:00 – Friday 7 February 2014, 17:30
The Performance Centre, Falmouth University, Penryn Campus, Penryn, TR10 9LX
01326 259349 or email

Tourism Carrying Capacity : due a big data comeback?

I’ve just written an entry for the 2nd edition of the Encyclopaedia of Tourism, on tourism carrying capacity. This is a concept that has become quite unfashionable in recent years – it is certainly one that I hadn’t thought about making use of in a practical way in my work in tourism destinations. Writing this entry encouraged me to revisit this concept and I was struck by the fact that carrying capacity could be a concept with much more utility now that we are seeing the possibilities offered by big data, especially the sensor-based approach to this being taken in the Smart Cities movement.


Simply put, carrying capacity is a measure of the maximum number of tourists that can use a tourism resource (which could be a resort, beach, attraction, town or any other kind of tourism destination), before unacceptable changes in the destination take place. This maximum number of tourists can refer to multiple factors, including the environment, local support for the tourism industry, economic development and tourist perceptions of overcrowding. The concept originally came from the natural sciences where it had been used to measure stocking limits in livestock management or the capacity of a rural area to accommodate the introduction of new species. The scientific, practical roots of carrying capacity have meant that it has fallen out of favour in the tourism studies field, which has more recently developed a tendency to look for multiple, contrasting narratives on tourism development and where many academics have moved away from what they see as simplistic, positivist approaches to our understanding of tourism.

In addition to this, although the concept of carrying capacity helped to inform the emergence of sustainable tourism, it has been overtaken by this newer concept.  Sustainable tourism tends to see destinations as made of up of a mix of local and global influences and has come to de dominated by environmental issues, especially the issues connected to carbon and global climate change.  Carrying capacity, a very locally specific way of measuring the impacts of tourism, has fallen out of favour within sustainable tourism approaches to development.

While I was researching this encyclopaedia entry,  I found a fascinating article: ‘Carrying capacity assessment for tourist destinations: Methodology for the creation of synthetic indicators applied in a coastal area’ by Jurado et al (2012). In this article, the authors develop a methodology that is based on the design of synthetic indicators that measure change in key variables related to tourism growth in the Eastern Costa Del Sol, in Spain.


These indicators included climactic data, measurements of water health, GDP, resident satisfaction with tourism, municipal budgets, beach crowding and a long list of others.  Crucially, these indicators mixed environmental sensors, statistical data, surveys and a Delphi study.  Collecting this huge range of data, and integrating with it Geographic Information Systems (GIS), meant that the authors were then able to produce real-time, dynamic maps to show where tourism carrying capacity thresholds were being reached or exceeded in the region.  This information can be used to guide tourism destination management decisions and contribute to tourism planning.


This approach has enabled the authors to operationalise a much more sophisticated approach to measuring and communicating tourism carrying capacity than has been the norm in tourism studies.  New technologies and the lowering costs of collecting big data sets now mean that possibilities for creating new approaches to tourism carrying capacity are opening up.  Bringing together quantitative and qualitative data, and presenting it in accessible ways can re-invigorate carrying capacity and address the concerns of many of its critics.

Discussions about Smart Cities around the world have tended to be driven by the desires of property developers to sell units or planners to attract high-value, high-tech businesses.  Now is the time for the tourism industry, where sustainable development is a huge concern,  to engage with these debates, to get access to data and influence over what is measured.