Contents Editorial Good advice – hard to find?
Slum Tourism: Exploitation or local development opportunity? Mark Watson, Executive Director, Tourism Concern
Simon Reeve looks like a sensible sort of chap. In his popular television programmes he can be seen making his way around the world through attractively filmed locations, engaging with the inhabitants and gently probing beneath the sun and sand image to find out a bit more of the reality of what life is about. All in a day’s comfortable work for your travelling reporter. A closer look, though, reveals that Mr Reeve is perhaps not as sensible as he might at first appear. Here he is in Mogadishu with an armed escort; another episode shows him in full flak jacket and helmet; in another, he is heading into a closed area to talk to a local warlord. Far from settling into undemanding encounters he is someone who seems to seek out danger – all in the name of a good story, of course. In my interview with Reeve on page 18 I did not ask him if he checks the FCO travel advice before leaving home, but his own guidance for travellers is quite simple: “Wear a seatbelt and keep your wits about you.” Succinct and direct, and it has clearly stood him in good stead. Civil servants, though, might be accused of a dereliction of duty if this was the extent of the ‘Know Before You Go’ campaign. But what do we want to read when we check up on the details of our possible destinations’ suitability? And how should we interpret the advice? If we all believed “it could be you” we would all buy a lottery ticket and we would all stay at home. Andy Cooper (pg. 6) considers whether responsibility for travellers’ knowing about the conditions they are flying into rests with the government or the individuals. Whichever it is, travel patterns this summer are definitely changing as people avoid areas of perceived higher risk. Wherever you choose to go, buckle up and enjoy the experience.
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Travel Advice: Where does responsibility lie? Andy Cooper, Owens Cooper Consulting
Tourism and Terrorism: Is Travel Behaviour Changing? Tom Buncle FTS, Director, Yellow Railroad
Tourism and the EU [working title] Julian Zarb FTS, Visiting Senior Lecturer – Institute for travel, Tourism and Culture – University of Malta
EU Referendum: Funding opportunities post-Brexit? Geoffrey Brown, Director, Euclid
European Tourism Indicators System: 10 Towards sustainable destination management – the European experience Silvia Barbone MTS, Managing Director, JLAG The Black and Minority Ethnic Community: Is wider diversity on trial in the Tourism sector? Brandon Crimes FTS, Tourism Matters
View from Australia: Challenges with the attraction and dispersal of tourists John Stephens FTS, and Peter Dempster, Director, Syneca Consulting, Sydney
Report from Tourism Symposium 2016
An interview with… Simon Reeve
Technology and Digital Marketing: New opportunities for independent accommodation providers Iain Stewart MTS, Director, freetobook
Hospitality: Twenty-three years in the industry 22-23 Martin Couchman OBE MTS, Former Deputy Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association Tourism and Green Growth: Tourism is “Essential” BUT climate change is “Existential” Prof. Geoffrey Lipman FTS, Creative Disruption Architect, Greenearth.travel
Group Travel: Full steam ahead! Mike Bugsgang FTS, Chief Executive, AGTO
Student View: Tourism Society Scotland Student Award winner Sally Peacock, Hospitality and Marketing Management, Edinburgh Napier University
Tourism BIDs: Lessons from Inverness and Loch Ness Graeme Ambrose, Chief Executive, Visit Inverness Loch Ness
Waterways: Romance, transport and relaxation around the world Julia Fallon MTS, Principal lecturer, Welsh centre of tourism research, Cardiff Met
Destination Organisations: Fit for purpose and ready for what the future holds? Dr Constantia Anastasiadou MTS, Reader in Tourism Edinburgh Napier University and Kenneth Wardrop MTS, Kenneth Wardrop Consultancy
Social Travel Britain 2016: Sites, likes and video content Steve Keenan, Co-founder, Travel Perspective
Tourism Society 40th Anniversary 1977 – 2017
The Back Page Hayley Beer-Gamage FTS, Chairman, Tourism Society
Gregory Yeoman FTS Executive Director
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Exploitation or local development opportunity?
Favela above Rio de Janeiro Many people are probably instinctively uncomfortable with the idea of wealthy tourists paying money to look at poor people. However, as tourists seek out new experiences these tours are growing in popularity. Although there are a number of terms used to name this controversial phenomenon – including poverty tourism, slum tourism, favela tours, and reality tours – they all describe the same practice: organised excursions to informal settlements, or ‘slums’. The earliest form of poverty tourism can be traced to the 1800s in London. The Victorian elite developed excursions to see how the poor lived. These trips to slums or ‘slumming’ came primarily from curiosity, excitement, and thrill, but others were also motivated by moral and altruistic reasons. As with tourism in general, slum tourism has expanded and developed into an entire industry in itself, but the driving
motivators for going on these tours remain similar to those that were documented in Victorian London. Today, slum tours are sold as an alternative to traditional tourism and a more realistic form of experiencing a country – getting in touch with real people and the local culture. An estimated 40,000 tourists visit favelas in Rio de Janeiro each year while 300,000 visit the townships in Cape Town. Every day about 1,000 tourists are estimated to visit Soweto, one of South Africa’s most famous townships, and there are tour operators offering slum tours to Dharavi (India) and Kibera (Kenya). Tours can also include visiting street children, who scratch a living from collecting rubbish in India’s main railway stations, or people surviving on debris they can find on rubbish heaps. There are also Bed and Breakfast lodgings in some areas, making it possible for tourists to spend a night or two in a ‘slum’. Despite the growing popularity of slum
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tours they also attract much criticism and controversy. On the one hand, proponents argue that tours can contribute to a change in the representation of the slums and its people and that slum tourism is a legitimate way to fight poverty. They also argue that the tours help tourists to better understand the world and become more compassionate. Opponents argue that it’s exploitative of poor people and really doesn’t add much to the understanding of the complicated issues. Moreover, they highlight the fact that the motivation to undertake this kind of experience is only related to voyeuristic consumption of poverty and that the basic human rights of the local residents to dignity and privacy are often undermined. Additionally the inhabitants of these communities have an uneven access to the benefits generated by tourism. Of course, the reality is more complex. For example, if the tours are community based, where negative stereotypes are challenged
and local residents have control over and benefit from tourism activities, then this could bring real and lasting benefits to some of the poorest communities. However, given that almost every tour operator will market their tour as beneficial to the community, it is difficult for tourists to know which tours are supported by the communities and will bring real benefits and which are just marketing hype and exploitative.
Tourism Concern has been looking at ways we can involve local communities in providing guidelines for tourists, especially in Brazil as the upcoming Olympics are likely to increase interest in favela tourism. There are a number of formal tour operators offering tours in Rocinha, the biggest favela in Brazil with an estimated 200,000 inhabitants, and visiting the location has become a must-do for many foreign tourists. It is estimated that at least 3500 tourists visit Rocinha per month paying around £25 for a tour with an average duration of 3 hours.
Ramshackle huts in Mumbai’s slum tourism would bring financial resources for social projects and generate jobs for local people. As one resident told us:
We spoke to residents in Rocinha on the possible tourism-related benefits and challenges in their community and about their perception of tourists.
“I think all of us see tourism as an opportunity to get some help for social projects, schools, and so forth… the positive is that through tourism we can show that not 100% of the people in favelas are bad people or criminals…”
When asked about actual benefits or what changes tourism has brought to their community the most common answer was “none”. Francisco’s (a mototaxi operator) response was typical:
Despite the belief that these tours will one day benefit the community this doesn’t necessarily mean that the residents agree with the way these tourism activities take place in their community.
“For the community I don’t see any difference, I see difference in the number of people in the community, we see a lot of foreigners, but benefits for the community I don’t see any.”
Residents were clear that greater benefits could be achieved if there was a stronger commitment from the companies who operate tours in Rocinha.
Equally, according to some residents, the way Rocinha is presented in the tours might actually be reinforcing the negative aspects as tour operators exaggerate the negative aspects and ignore many of the positive aspects of life there. As the majority of tour guides are not Rocinha residents it seems there is no real concern about the veracity of the facts presented and how this can affect the perceptions of tourists. Furthermore, any actual benefits reach just a small percentage of the community and are mainly directed to the ones involved with selling souvenirs or handicrafts; despite this residents still believe that tourism has the potential to impact positively on a larger number of people. Residents hoped that at some point
Politicians are also beginning to take an interest resulting in Rio city council considering a bill which proposed to combat exploitative tourism in the Favelas – with the councillor commenting on many of the current tour operators: “They’re not community businesses and they don’t have the slightest concern for the local culture, history, or artists. They come in like it’s some kind of curiosity, like they’re going into a zoo.” Even in South Africa, where township tours are well-established, there is little evidence of the positive impacts tour operators use in their marketing material - and there are concerns that the most deprived households involved in their tours are not fairly compensated. Recent research also identified several barriers that prevent township residents
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The best people to advise tourists are the residents themselves; local people must therefore have a say in any tourist development and will also provide a better understanding on how these tours affect their communities.
Dharavi from successfully developing their businesses and sharing in the material gains available through tourism. Regardless the township dwellers generally welcome tourism because it represents the only industry through which many can enhance their living conditions. In India the popularity of the movie Slumdog Millionaire doubled the number of visitors to Dharavi, a well-known innercity slum in Mumbai. The movie meant tourists arrived with specific expectations for the slum and resulted in potentially damaging and disrespectful mindsets, such as calling Dharavi a ‘posh slum’ that was more organised and less destitute than expected. Despite the concerns with slum tourism there is no doubt that there are some good initiatives, which have improved the lives of residents and resulted in genuine cultural exchange. It also seems that local communities do tend to welcome tourists and enjoy engaging with them if the interaction is respectful and considered. These tours can be beneficial if tour operators genuinely care about and come from their communities, if tourists take a bit of time to understand the issues and if local people are paid fairly – and whilst some tours donate a percentage of income to charity most residents, whether in townships, slums or favelas want decent jobs and a fair wage. As one resident of Rochina told us: “We don’t want charity, we want qualifications, we want to be able to work and earn our livelihood and show our history the way it really is.” Mark Watson l Executive Director, Tourism Concern
Where does responsibility lie? The travel industry has always been significantly affected by world events and crises – and for anyone working in travel, a healthy knowledge and understanding of international relations and activities happening around the world has been an essential skill. There is no doubt that the events with the biggest impacts in recent years have been man-made, and particularly the dramatic rise in terrorism which has affected many tourist destinations.
The recently concluded Foreign Office consultation on Travel Advice has been both a sign of the UK government stepping back to reflect on the steps it needs to take to warn travellers of the destination risks, as well as an opportunity for the travel industry, amongst others, to reflect on the extent to which we can or should warn our customers of the risks in the destinations they may visit. So, what are the results of all that reflection? Can we make the world safer for travellers, or do we have to accept that the world is now so unsafe that travellers will simply have to undertake their own risk assessments and behave accordingly? Sales for the Summer 2016 season certainly suggest that there is a degree of personal risk assessment taking place – and in a relatively buoyant overseas holiday market, holidaymakers appear to regard the risks of travelling to Turkey to be too great at present, with a huge slump in sales to what had become one of the largest destinations for UK holidaymakers. Historically, British travellers have put a value on their own safety, and it will be interesting to assess by the end of the summer if low prices will encourage more people to travel to Turkey. That might ultimately be determined by
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Obviously, terrorism is nothing new, and those of us working in travel for a long time have experienced the campaigns by ETA affecting Spain, the Luxor massacre in 1997, as well as IRA attacks at home, before the step-change brought about by the 9/11 attacks.
Simple advice is not always easy to find whether there are any further incidents Office would expect anyone travelling to that country to do if such a warning is during the season. given. Are we expected, as an old piece Despite the best attempts of law firms to of travel advice for Israel once memorably hold either the UK government or tour described it, to find the location of the operators responsible for the safety of nearest bomb shelter, and to discover how holiday destinations, ultimately the only to obtain gas masks? way for individuals to choose where to For me, that sort of advice is neither travel is by an individual risk assessment. helpful nor relevant. If I go on holiday, For me, the role of governments is to I don’t expect to spend my entire time provide sufficient information to assist each looking over my shoulder to check that of us in making that assessment. I would others walking down the street are not go further and say that travel businesses carrying suspicious bags or large weapons. have a role to play, but that role should The audience of Eagles of Death Metal be limited to directing actual or potential in the Bataclan in November 2015 were customers to sources of information which not expecting to be targets for gunmen, will help their decision making. and a warning that they should exercise As a result, I have become quite nervous extra caution and vigilance would not have about what the FCO sees as its future role saved many lives. Equally however, anyone in relation to the provision of travel advice. walking down the streets of Basra five Their recent consultation has talked about years ago would have recognised that they adding a new level of warning, to indicate were in a high risk environment. a country where there is no advice Ultimately, we all have to make our own against travel but where extra caution and risk assessment – and just have to hope vigilance is recommended. that governments provide us with the best It is by no means clear what the Foreign
information to enable us to do so.
Andy Cooper l Owens Cooper Consulting
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Tourism and Terrorism Is travel behaviour changing? “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” – Henry Kissinger The world is shrinking: tourism to Egypt is down 40%, visitors are avoiding Tunisia, operators selling Turkey have collapsed, and concern about the Zika virus is threatening attendance at the Rio Olympics.
After years of seemingly unstoppable global tourism growth, fuelled by higher disposable incomes and lower airfares, are we about to see a contraction in travel – or at least in the destinations travellers will consider? A rash of recent surveys on the impact of terrorism and my conversations with NTOs, tour operators, and tourism ministers at this year’s ITB suggest something is changing: safety concerns are affecting people’s travel behaviour more fundamentally than ever before. A Different Way of Viewing Risk The crisis in the Middle East, and associated export of terror by Daesh, is different from previous crises. This is not a one-off incident, such as the Oklahoma bombing, 9/11, or the Asian tsunami, from which destinations recover over a period of 1-3 years. Rather, it is changing the way people think about travel safety because of the realisation this could happen anywhere and no end is in sight. And this is influencing people’s destination choice. In a recent TNS UK survey1, more than twice as many people said they would change destination or cancel their holiday in the event of a terror incident “in or near” their destination (53%) than in Oct 2014, when only 21% said safety concerns might affect their holiday plans. Significantly, while UNWTO2 predicts global outbound travel to grow by 4.3% in 2016, IPK International3 suggests “terror angst” will result in 2% less growth than
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Terrorism, natural disasters, violence, conflict, and epidemics have challenged the tourism industry for decades. But tourism is a resilient industry… or is it?
How will Istanbul fare this summer? might otherwise have been expected. The good news is the global market is not shrinking; the bad news is that some countries will suffer severely. Winners and Losers The Middle and Near East, including Turkey and North Africa, sadly, seem to be the biggest losers, but destinations in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean stand to gain. Closer to home, the main beneficiaries this summer are likely to be: Spain – but watch this space for price hikes as accommodation starts to fill up; also Mediterranean islands from Malta to Cyprus, Corsica and Sardinia; probably Greece, if planned fam trips manage to reassure travel agents, journalists and bloggers that resorts and refugees are quite separate from each other on the Aegean islands; the Caribbean, which may attract more first-timers this year, as traditional sun destinations closer to home are perceived to be off limits and the price gap narrows; ‘lower risk’ rural hinterlands beyond European capital cities, and especially Scotland, England and Wales, if European tour operators are to be believed; South East Asia for those with deeper pockets; and, possibly, staycations, as people wait, watch, and eventually decide to avoid the hassle of international
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travel by staying at home. Light at the End of the Tunnel So, is it all gloom and doom for the foreseeable future? No, it’s not. Even the worst-affected destinations are managing to retain a core of intrepid travellers. Business, VFR, and other nondiscretionary travel are, understandably, less affected. But it’s discretionary travel – conferences and leisure – which has taken the greatest hit. There are no silver bullets, but destinations can take steps to minimise the impact of crises and accelerate recovery by focusing on resilient markets and honest, clear, targeted communications. This is addressed in Yellow Railroad’s blog “Finding a Way Out of Trouble: What Can You Do?” http://www.yellowrailroad.com/ blog To conclude with the advice of another American statesman, “the best way to predict your future is to create it” – Abraham Lincoln. 1. http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/ articles/61383/special-report-risk-ofterrorism-is-travellers-biggest-worry 2. UNWTO: ITB World Travel Trends Report 2015/2016 (prepared by IPK) 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCRuMGhQC8 Tom Buncle FTS l Director, Yellow Railroad
Europe – A Sixty-Year-Old Family Model Tourism – A socio-cultural activity that will enhance that model Tourism is a global phenomenon that has grown over the past years (UNWTO, 2010 – 2014) from 488.9m to 581.8m visitors that were attracted to the European Continent.
Europe is still considered the world’s largest source market, generating just over half of the global arrivals (UNWTO), and another trend that should interest this country is that many visitors prefer travelling within their own region. But we need to understand that Europe is not just about economic benefits; it is about the socio-cultural diversity that adds value to the visitor experience. People today want to share cultures, they do not want isolation and enclaving. They are interested in the stories that lie behind the iconic sites of a destination. Being part of this greater region called the European Union has its advantages and disadvantages. Tourism can provide the experience of shared experiences and diversity to a community and country through its ability to build on the socio-cultural features that have been predominant in this activity for centuries. The socio-cultural aspect of tourism focuses on those visitors who really want to be in a destination rather than the ones who happen to be there, those visitors who understand the culture and character of the country they would like to visit, rather than whose destination choice is based on price and availability. This is about a host-visitor interaction that can add value to the quality of life for a community and this interaction is definitely enhanced where there is that synergy, that
Julian C. Zarb FTS l Visiting Senior Lecturer, Institute for Travel, Tourism and Culture, University of Malta
© Malta Tourism Authority – Claudio Brufola
The UK has gone from a destination that attracted 5.8% of total visitors to Europe to one that, in 2014, attracted 5.6%. This marginal difference does not mean that we are becoming any less of a quality destination or an interesting country; it is certainly an indication that tourism trends today are very different from what they were ten, fifteen or even twenty years ago.
Explore your destination’s culture 2. Diversity – We can build a tourism family model such as the European model. activity that is focused on the socio-cultural But there are three key factors which I will factors, especially one that is dependent explain here that will make this synergy on a source market within the same work effectively. These are: region, if we share the same principles and 1. Connectivity – How many of you strategies with that region, preferably if we remember the days before the Open are members of the same bloc and can Skies Policy? Travel in those days was discuss these strategies together rather a feat of endurance as you had to find than on opposite sides of the table. the right connections as well as the 3. Projects – Sustainable tourism is right prices and availability. Success in about investing, it is about building a travel and tourism depends on the right quality of life for the citizens and the connectivity and accessibility as well as visitors at a destination. Benefitting from the price and availability. The importance shared knowledge, educational and cultural here of building strategies and policies of experiences and social enhancement connectivity through synergies rather than requires funding and relationships based as an ‘independent’ and ‘isolated’ country on trust and synergies. The European has more advantages for economies Union can provide these factors if we all of scale as well as customer service. look for these opportunities. The European Union may not have the With very little time before the deadline of solutions for natural disasters such as the 23rd June 2016, we need to take the the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption that right decisions for our country as well as caused such widespread disruption but at for a better tourism activity, one that will least that synergy ensured everyone was be sustainable, responsible and will benefit speaking the same language – working all of us together. to solve the issues together and for the benefit of its clients and citizens. Another issue that can affect connectivity is the problem of terrorism and this is not an issue we can solve alone.
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Tourism as a socio-cultural activity can survive in this global community if we work together, not if we seek isolation and alienation!
EU Referendum Funding opportunities post-Brexit? So, what happens to the chances of the UK accessing EU funding in the event of Brexit? Well, like everything else about the EU, there is no simple answer.
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Firstly, it is important to understand the way EU funding works. Regarding expenditure, in simple terms, there are two types – the European Structural & Investment Funds (ESIF) which include things like ERDF and ESF, and then the trans-national funds, such as Horizon 2020, Erasmus+ and Creative Europe. Regarding income, the EU receives contributions from all Member States on the basis of a common formula – with variations as secured by some of them (e.g. the “rebate” received by the UK). This means that all member states are putting something in, and all are taking something out – but the wealthier countries (including the UK) are net contributors and the less wealthy (e.g. the east European countries) are net recipients. In the event of Brexit, the UK will not be making any standard contributions – though if it decides it wants a Norwaytype relationship, then there will be a cost – and I will come back to this later on. The ESIF are those funds designed to help development and regeneration in the economically disadvantaged areas of Europe. These are funds which are actually given back to the member states to be distributed via Ministries or other agencies – in England, the DCLG and the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) have a key role to play in making the decisions as to the spending of ERDF, ESF and EAFRD (the agricultural funds). In the event of Brexit, these funds would not exist for the UK. However, on the other hand, the UK will not be making a contribution to the EU, so there is an argument that, rather than being given to the EU, this money could be directly allocated to development and regeneration projects across the UK –
without the necessity for this funding to be routed via the EU. While some may argue that these funds should be redeployed to other areas – health, education, defence, etc. – it must be remembered that these funds are currently very important to certain sectors (e.g. agriculture) and it would be expected that those sectors would campaign very strongly to maintain this level of financial support for their own sector. Then there are the trans-national funds – Horizon 2020, Erasmus+, Life+, Creative Europe, Europe for Citizens, etc. These funds are mostly allocated to projects developed through collaborative partnerships of organisations from three or more eligible countries. The 28 Member States are automatically eligible, of course, and then for most programmes there is a list of other countries who are also deemed eligible for that programme. This list includes countries like Norway, Iceland, the countries of the former Yugoslavia, Turkey, and, in some cases, others such as Israel, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. The UK could decide to apply to be included in this list, and there would be many who would be happy to see it there, as a partner from the UK is often seen as desirable. However, in order to be on
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this list for any individual funding programme, each of these countries has to make a payment for the privilege. So the UK probably could remain an eligible country but only if it agreed to make such a payment for each programme in which it wanted to participate. Who knows whether the mood in the UK post-Brexit would accept this arrangement?
And there is another issue: if the UK votes to leave, many in the rest of the EU will be furious, and will work very hard to ensure that the exit deal with the UK is the most punitive they can manage – partly to punish the UK and partly to discourage any others from thinking that leaving the EU is the answer to whatever problems they may be having. In this case, the UK may find it more difficult to become a Norwaytype member. However, if the Norway approach works, then there will be little change in the ability of UK organisations to participate in trans-national projects – they can continue to participate, either as lead partners or as co-organisers. So, for most organisations who are contemplating the opportunities from the EU trans-national funds, there is the possibility that Brexit could mean no change… Geoffrey Brown l Director, Euclid
European Tourism Indicators System Towards sustainable destination management – the European experience Tourist destinations are increasingly being called upon to tackle social, cultural, economic, and environmental challenges.
The European Commission launched the European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS) in 2013 with the aim of helping destinations to monitor and measure their sustainable tourism performance, by using a common comparable approach. ETIS is a measuring and monitoring tool suitable for all tourist destinations encouraging a more intelligent approach to tourism planning and management in order to enhance their performance across a number of sustainability indicators. The first version was tested in a twoyear pilot initiative during 2013-2015 and has been implemented in over 100 destinations across Europe. The 2016 edition of the ETIS toolkit takes into account the feedback from the pilot phase, and has been assessed by the European Commission with support from the ETIS pool of experts. The current ETIS toolkit adopts 43 core indicators with a set of supplementary indicators and provides the primary support with clear explanations of what the indicators are, and how to use them. The 43 core indicators are divided into four sections: Destination Management, Economic Value, Social Cultural Impact, and Environmental impact. The set of supplementary indicators allows destinations to tailor the system to their own particular needs or destination category. A list of supplementary indicators, as a starting point, has been included, covering the following themes: Maritime and coastal tourism, Accessible tourism, and Transnational cultural routes. The tookit also shows how ETIS complements other existing international tools and methodologies. The toolkit is available in all EU languages. Supporting (electronic) documents consist of the destination profile, data sheets, glossary, surveys and an invitation letter template. They are all available for download from
Silvia Barbone MTS l Chair, Tourism Society Europa
Winners of the first ETIS and Accessible Tourism Joint Awards the EC website: (http://ec.europa.eu/ n Ljubljana in Slovenia for its ‘Slovenia growth/sectors/tourism/offer/sustainable/ Green’ certification label. indicators/index_en.htm). n Comunitat Valenciana in Spain for its In recognition of the efforts made by the destinations which completed the ETIS pilot phase, the European Commission organised the first ETIS and Accessible Tourism Joint Awards in Brussels in April 2016. The jury (of sustainable and accessible tourism experts and chaired by the EC) awarded 1 to 3 star rankings to 10 destinations for sustainability, accessibility, and social impact awards in three categories: overall winners, responsible destination management, and sustainable economic development. n Visit South Sardinia was the overall winner for sustainability thanks to its innovative approach combining EU and UN sustainability indicators. n Barcelona Province won the top accessibility prize for its ‘Tourism for All’ approach. n Mali Lošinj in Croatia won ETIS Economic Value Achiever. n Brittany, Destination Brocéliande in France, won ETIS Environmental Impact Achiever for its work developing a green tourism offer. Four destinations were awarded 2 stars as ETIS Social and Cultural Impact Achievers: n Dark Sky Alqueva in Portugal for its light-pollution-free zone and unique ‘night sky’ stargazing offer. n Torroella de Montgri-l’Estartit and L’Estartit Llancà in Spain for balancing economic development with sustainable coastal tourism.
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achievements in improving access for tourists with disabilities.
One star went to two Environmental Impact Achievers: n Podgorica in Montenegro for its longterm commitment to sustainable tourism. n Abano Terme in Italy, which combines its reputation as one of Europe’s oldest spa towns with a green tourism approach. Andalucía in Spain and South Limburg in the Netherlands received a special mention for sustainable destination management and accessibility improvements. In terms of future plans, the Council of Europe is endorsing the implementation of ETIS within the certified transnational cultural routes. In 2016 at least five pilot Cultural Routes will be tested using ETIS. A dedicated ETIS/Cultural Routes task force has been established by the Council of Europe who recently appointed Dr Cinzia De Marzo MTS as coordinator to support the pilot testing phase. To encourage wider adoption of ETIS at destination level there are also plans to establish an ETIS destination network, being led by Visit South Sardinia and other committed destinations such as Broceliande, Andalucía and Montenegro. Tourism Society Europa Chapter will be organising a series of events looking at Sustainable Tourism Development and Management in Brussels during 2016 and 2017.
The Black and Minority Ethnic Community Is wider diversity on trial in the Tourism sector? “Change takes time” – Barrack Obama 23rd April 2016.
The results of the London mayoral office aside, the real reason that I have been invited to provide a piece for the Journal is that I had the opportunity and pleasure to attend three travel industry awards this winter. Whilst these awards have become an excellent vehicle to recognise and celebrate successful individuals, companies and organisations that are contributing to the increased professionalism across the sector I still found myself identifying the ‘elephant in the room’. Without taking anything away from the organisers and sponsors, I could not help noticing that there were very few (and at one ceremony, no) Black and Minority Ethnic award winners. I suspect even at the nomination stage, very low entries and selection make this more evident. I was further surprised that within some of the awards, the criteria would appear too narrow to really address the wider question of diversity. While I accept the industry has made considerable progress, albeit more slowly than other sectors, in addressing the barriers and real challenges to do with representation for women within the boardroom and access to all disability groups, I would certainly be cautious in claiming that fuller diversity has been embraced, and even addressed, when I read the Elevation Network report that, “96.5 percent of those in top positions in the public sector are white”. Having spent much of my career within Tourism Higher Education, I know colleagues are very conscious of the changing student demographic and profile in that time. This has generally been a very positive development in providing an enhanced international student culture
on campus, and equipping students with a very different perspective of the world and student experience. But not without its challenges. The issue about diversity is about removing the barriers and providing equal opportunity to those from underrepresented groups within our society. In my own experience research has identified that students from BME backgrounds performed below the national average, despite the fact the University had above average numbers of students enrolled from the BME community. Whilst we can think about individuals that may not engage sufficiently, Universities collectively reported similar data sets. It has become impossible to ignore this waste of potential and we need to reflect on methods to address the causes. In a way, we did not have a choice. This year’s Oscar nominations caused some ‘embarrassing’ moments for the organisers, with no black African actors included, resulting in high-profile boycotts by leading black actors and a call to review the selection and nomination criteria by an all-white, usually male and ‘blinkered’ board. Quincy Jones commented on the lack of diversity: “It’s ridiculous. It’s wrong.” Can this statement reflect the same within the travel and tourism sector?
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London has a new chapter in its history, with the election of a new Mayor from a member of the Black and Minority Ethnic Community (BME). This could demonstrate not only how diversified and multi-cultured London has become, but also provide an important stimulus for future leaders to emerge from the London ethnic communities.
As a professional body, I suggest we should be considering some fundamental questions about diversity amongst our membership, and appealing to future leaders to see the wider benefits of joining the Society. However, we have our own internal challenges as we currently do not have a clear breakdown of ethnicity within membership! Interestingly, nor does the Institute of Travel and Tourism, or TTG Media who established the ‘30 under 30’ Future Leaders Award. Should this be a concern for our sector, as how can we plan to address the issues if we do not have the data? I am fully aware this is sometimes a sensitive subject to debate openly, but as a sector that claims to be a global industry and has generally responded positively to wider societal change we may take a few more steps to begin not just to address but embrace the recruitment, promotion and recognition of BME community amongst the membership. This piece is part of a research project looking at representation and barriers amongst Black Ethnic Minority Community with the UK Travel Industry. Source: Elevationnetworkf.org Dr Helen Barefoot, University of Hertfordshire BME Success Project; Reducing the BME attainment gap. Brandon Crimes FTS l Tourism Matters
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View from Australia
Challenges with the attraction and dispersal of tourists
Port Neill on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia the top ten in terms of inbound tourism As a destination, Australia has much to receipts, at some 50% of those of France offer, and awareness of its ‘icons’ is high – most people in the developed world know and Spain. something about Sydney Harbour Bridge This is largely due to Australia’s strong and the Opera House, the Great Barrier performance in education-related tourism. Reef, Ayers Rock and Melbourne’s F1 While only 5.1% of visitors come for track, tennis and maybe even Neighbours. education, their long stay and high spend Tourism is heavily concentrated, and skew the expenditure data. A high various reasons are suggested for this, proportion of students are from Asia, including lack of awareness of places away which overall is Australia’s fastest growing from the iconic regions, distance and a market for all types of tourist. degree of risk aversion on the part of Education tourism is concentrated in buyers and agents. cities and motivated by the presence of Even concerns about spiders, snakes and crocs – things they don’t expect to encounter in cities – play a part. Alongside the challenge of getting more people to come to Australia, there is the need to achieve a greater degree of dispersal by both international and domestic tourists. Here our focus is on dispersal, as there are parallel issues within Great Britain. To drill down into dispersal and make some comparisons, we need to look at visitor origin and purposes. While Australia is low down the list of tourist destinations in terms of international arrivals, it is in
universities and other learning institutions. Our focus is therefore on holiday, business and VFR visitors (HB-VFR) and where they visit. Tourism Research Australia (TRA) data show that NSW accounted for a third of all HB-VFR international visitors, while three states – NSW, Victoria and Queensland – together accounted for 81%. HB-VFR visitors averaged 15 nights/ stay and $1,450 per visitor in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, while spend per visitor was markedly lower in South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and Northern Territory; nights spent were also lower in
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these last three. Averages conceal some significant differences in length of stay by journey purpose, but variations generally reflect the destinations’ size, population, economic structure and geography. Western Australia is remote from the east coast states and enjoys long stay VFR visitors and high spending by holiday visitors; visitors to ACT and Tasmania are characterised by short stays and low spend, while NT experiences short stay holiday visitors, long stay VFR and business visitors, but low spend per trip across all visitor types. South Australia, closest and in many ways most similar to the east coast states, experiences short stays and low spending by holiday and business visitors, but VFR length of stay and expenditure per trip are above the national and east coast averages. Unfortunately, the States most in need of an economic boost from tourism – South Australia, Tasmania and post-mining boom Western Australia – together secure only 15% of all HB-VFR visitors. The problem isn’t lack of attractors – all
While the federal government, through Austrade and Tourism Australia, ‘sells’ Australia overseas, it falls to individual State and Territory Governments, regional bodies, business consortia and individual businesses to develop strategies and operating plans. Each State and Territory has evolved its own individual model and organisational structure. Government provides platforms for public-private and inter-business collaboration, enabling competitors to benefit from public funds and from economies of scale, for instance in participating in travel events. Government also provides data and advice, increasingly focussing on use of the internet and social media, reflecting trends in how people plan and purchase travel. To take South Australia (SA) as an example, the State covers some 380,000 square miles with a population of just 1.7 million; it is the most urbanised state in Australia, with over 75% of people living in and close to Adelaide. The city lacks strong ‘icons’ and must-see attractions, but provides an attractive base for touring areas such as the wineries of Barossa and Clare Valleys. SA has to contend with the challenges of attracting more visitors, increasing length of stay, increasing expenditure per trip and, most challenging of all, achieving a greater dispersal of visitor spending to regions remote from Adelaide. Similar challenges exist in Britain, but SA faces additional ones imposed by distances to, and low population density in, coastal and rural areas such as the Eyre Peninsula and the Flinders Ranges. The organisational structure for tourism promotion and development reflects this geography. There is a State Tourism Commission (SATC), plus 11 nonmetropolitan tourism regions which operate independently of SATC. SATC secures and manages events, develops strategic assets, works with businesses and leads policy reform, as well as marketing the State intrastate, interstate
Australia’s icons are very recognisable and internationally. While SATC has identified areas with ‘appeal’ (Kangaroo Island, Murray River, Eyre Peninsula), each of the 11 regions is covered within the strategic plan. There is a sense that there must be something for everyone. Key activities include improving access, especially by attracting new air services, cooperative marketing and promoting the use of digital technology by tourism businesses.
Regions also produce strategies, which range in quality from something akin to a local development plan to a recognisable strategy that identifies key markets and how to capture more visitors and expenditure. At the local level, the key development mechanism is through Destination Action Plans (DAP) which involve SATC and stakeholders that include businesses, the Regional Tourism Organisation and Regional Development Australia. DAPs are very specific and practical, and benefit from access to a vast amount of data on visitors, even at a very small area level. In contrast, Sydney is a magnet for tourists, but the State faces the same challenge of dispersing visitors to places outside Sydney. As a proportion of visitors and visitor nights, regional NSW attracts only some 18% and 16% respectively (in 2015), but in numbers regional NSW has far more visitors and nights than the whole of SA. In NSW the dispersal challenge has important differences, because NSW faces the challenge of what has been called the ‘sea-change’, involving internal migration from metropolitan cities and inland areas
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have beautiful coasts and beaches, and there are attractions such as the wineries of the Barossa and Clare Valleys in SA, Margaret River in WA, and Port Arthur and the Huon Valley in Tasmania – but buyers and agents are strongly aware of the established destination areas, where there are more accessible coast and beaches, from Daintree in northern Queensland through Surfers’ Paradise and NSW to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, with the added attractions of the cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, plus inland attractions such as the Blue Mountains in NSW.
to coastal communities. In NSW and elsewhere this leads to pockets of strong resistance to new residential development and tourism. Some of NSW’s coastal communities could face having to accommodate rapid population growth, often in environmentally sensitive areas, where much of that growth comes from older and ageing populations of retirees and pre-retirees. The challenge is still sharper for those coastal amenities that also attract large and growing numbers of tourists, even though tourism creates jobs which help to hold younger people. A challenge in many parts of Australia’s east coast is to find a balance between new residential developments and tourism, and responsibility for this lies principally with planning. To achieve a balance that can be sustained will require innovation in the design and application of planning instruments, which might include pricing and regulatory mechanisms. These need to be designed to achieve and preserve a separation in time and space between tourists and residents, to avoid the adverse effects of peaks that affect the willingness of settlements to accept both new residents and tourists. Within Australia’s federal structure there are no mechanisms to achieve a macrolevel reallocation of tourists, from places where tourist-driven congestion and environment damage are real issues, to places that could absorb more visitors with none of these downsides, while also boosting the economies of lagging regions. John Stephens FTS and Peter Dempster l Director, Syneca Consulting, Sydney
THE TOURISM SYMPOSIUM Birmingham June 6th and 7th
We are four Tourism Management students at University College Birmingham and on the 6th and 7th June we had the privilege of attending the Tourism Symposium. Not only was it a proud moment to have a prestigious event take place at our university, but also for us individually as students. We gained first-hand knowledge into how companies within the industry are responding to social and cultural factors that are driving the future of tourism. The study tours were wonderful and insightful. There was a lot to take in, and it was interesting understanding how attractions in the city are responding to recently implemented factors of our society, such as social media, events, and how they engage with customers. It was intriguing how much we learnt. Ironically, it also showed us how little we know about Birmingham – a city where we all live and study. Particularly interesting were The Coffin Works (as eerie as the name suggests but actually full of life, holding pop-up events such as food festivals and vintage tea parties) and the ancient Municipal Bank. Many students probably pass this by on their way to the clubs on Broad Street but the derelict architecture has provided a great location for films and television series,
Photos by Debby McAllister
especially the spooky vaults. Most of all, the tours offered delegates a view of how tourism and heritage attractions within the city understand the importance of digital marketing. This was fascinating to hear directly from the people working at the tour sites, as we have modules that incorporate marketing in our studies. It enabled us to understand both the important role heritage plays and how the city uses contemporary driving factors in attracting tourists. The majority of our knowledge about the industry is obtained in an academic environment, so having the opportunity to attend the event and network with other delegates provided us with a direct perspective on how various businesses and organisations work together in the tourism industry. At first we were all a little nervous, but those feelings were quickly overshadowed as we became comfortable with everyone we met. All the delegates were welcoming and interesting to talk to. Not only were they keen to answer our questions about their backgrounds in tourism, but they took an interest in our degree programme. We have many wonderful opportunities at UCB to obtain experience within the industry; being part of events like the Tourism Symposium was an amazing learning experience. For some of us, helping the Tourism Society at the symposium, and also attending as delegates, was the first time we had direct contact with people
and companies from industry. The expertise of the speakers provided new information that can help with future assignments and also sparked inspiration for dissertations. The networking opportunities allowed us to make new contacts with potential future employers or colleagues. To sum everything up, we all loved the two days with The Tourism Society, especially because we were treated as delegates and made to feel like we belonged there. After the initial nervousness slipped away, our confidence built up throughout the conference and it was invaluable to each of us – more so after we were given business cards by some of the delegates. The social settings throughout the two days – including the evening networking event at Aluna Bar – made approaching people easier and more enjoyable. We often exclaimed how in a few years’ time it would be us in the same position, catching up with our friends and business partners in the industry, making new contacts and partnerships, and even being the ones to give keynote presentations on what will be driving tourism at a future Tourism Symposium. We are definitely going to be joining as members of the Tourism Society, and we sincerely hope to have the privilege of attending another Symposium in the future. Nicole Deane, Janson James, Debby McAllister, Sarah Taylor Tourism Management, University College Birmingham
Embracing heritage and social media Beginning in Centenary Square, our tour worked its way through Brindley Place to the Ikon Gallery, before ambling along the canals and finishing at the Coffin Works. I work on the British Tourism & Travel Show which, although taking place in Birmingham, has rarely given me the chance to venture outside of the NEC, so this felt like a great opportunity to see and explore the city. Becky from Marketing Birmingham was a great guide. Her enthusiasm for her city was infectious and she relished pointing out items of interest while creating cohesion amongst the group. At each stop our guides were welcoming, friendly and clearly passionate about their attraction/destination. All were more than happy to answer our questions, highlight new innovations they were trialling and discuss future plans they may have. Their
At the Coffin Works willingness to share their experiences and how candid they were about issues they faced and successes they’d had really added to the experience. Come the end of the tour, my fellow participants and I were left feeling pleasantly surprised and impressed by
Birmingham’s Cultural Cornucopia The Staffordshire Hoard, 6kg of martial goods fashioned in gold and silver in the late 7th Century with cloisonné garnets probably imported from India and discovered by metal detectorists in 2009, has been cleaned (with Pyracantha thorns) and sorted (imagine multiple tiny 3D jigsaw puzzles) in the large conservation room at Birmingham’s Museum & Art Gallery. After seeing the crumpled state of the originals, the replicas of a Christian cross and sword hilt on display are admirable. We were privileged to have many artefacts explained by experts and shown
Birmingham’s offering. The majority of us either hadn’t been to Birmingham before (or hadn’t been in years) and I personally will certainly think of the city in a different light now. Caroline Bissell MTS, Diversified Communications UK to survey the demolition site of the former Library. The ultimate venue for literature lovers must be the Shakespeare Room formed of 19th Century bookcases (including first folios), skilfully reconstructed after half a century in store.
Library of Birmingham terrace (credit Christian Richters) close up and also under the microscope. Nearby, the Head Librarian took us up to the seventh floor to “the best free view”,
Two floors down and the ‘secret garden’ is probably the most beautiful peaceful place to admire the fast-changing cityscape. With books quite literally at the central core of the building, the edges are study space, much valued. Jean Burbidge MTS, Huntingdonshire Association for Tourism
Film Locations in Birmingham I was intrigued to be offered a range of study tours pre-conference and immediately signed up for two tours – an impossible feat. Over enthusiasm and a severe case of not reading the instructions, always my stumbling blocks, but I made my choice and I was delighted to join Film Birmingham on a guided experience of the film locations in the city. This tour offered a really enticing opportunity to hear about the issues and challenges faced when a film crew land in a location. Martin, our guide, walked us through the cobbled and paved streets of a city that is evolving in front of us. He spoke animatedly and with passion about his work, and fed us tasty morsels of information about filming scenes of Hustle, Spooks, Toast and the Game. Streets cleared of cars, bus stops and
Studying film locations lampposts – all in a day’s work. And blowing out windows in listed buildings, catching showered bank notes and facilitating as Glenn Close encounters zombies... bread and butter to Film Birmingham. There is enormous value in the film
industry to a city like Birmingham, which was confirmed in the content of the presentation by Caroline Norbury MBE of Creative England in the main Symposium proceedings. Laura Locke MTS, University Campus Suffolk
Festivals of Britain
A lively session on Festivals with Martin Green Director for Hull City of Culture 2017 giving his perspective on what it feels like to be a relatively new one-year festival compared with the experience of Edinburgh where festivals have been running for a long time. Julia Amour, Director, Festivals Edinburgh, shared her views on the benefits and tensions of running festivals year after year. This drew out the experiences of the two on how festivals have a great role to play in tourism and consumption of a place. There was a suggestion that for places to be distinctive and as places to go, or to be seen in, they have to be created and
Festivals of Britain panel have to create their own ecosystems to flourish. Alison Clark from Arts Council England suggested festivals should not necessarily be used as vehicles to grow new
audiences to the arts but be seen as stand-alone experiences for locals and visitors alike. Anita Bhalla OBE, Chair, Creative City Partnership
Meetings, Meetings, Meetings This session was timely given the new business tourism remit at VisitBritain. Discussion drew upon insights from a talented panel that between then represented voices from the destination, the gateway, the venue and crucially the business traveller. There is no silver bullet to unlock demand for any destination, but it became apparent that the core ingredients of providing a successful business event visit are little different from those for leisure visitors. Quality of welcome, flexibility of venues, along with collaboration and partnership among suppliers and destinations – locally and nationally – are critical to driving business visits, and to encouraging return visits. The importance of regional gateways, tailoring product to appeal beyond local audiences and avoiding London-
Meetings, Meetings, Meetings panel Unger, Jo Lloyd and Neil Snowball for an centricity, were all discussed – and a entertaining and valuable discussion. salient reminder that sometimes it’s best Chris Foy, to go low-tech with maps and guides for Meetings and Events Director, delegates, lest smartphone batteries are run dry in flight. Thanks go to Claudia VisitBritain
Changing markets and motivations The session organised by the Tourism Consultants Network brought a fascinating international perspective to the conference theme, with presentations by two experienced consultants and a major commissioner of consultancy services. Tom Buncle FTS illustrated the difficulties involved in building a destination brand, when trying to ensure ‘buy-in’ by local stakeholders to a brand identity. The wild desert landscapes of Namibia appeal to a clearly identifiable type of leisure traveller with specific motivations, but the sort of images and messages that might attract that market were found often to offend local sensibilities. The
Roger Carter FTS challenge had been to develop a brand that was distinctive yet worked for both customers and stakeholders. Saudi Arabia is not commonly perceived as a tourist destination, but Roger Carter FTS explained that tourism, surprisingly, is
seen to be the key driver of business for the pharaonic new city known as KAEC, arising out of the sand on the Red Sea coast north of Jeddah. The destination management planning process involved highly detailed market segmentation, in the context of a demanding client and a market limited to religious pilgrims, and domestic, Muslim and business visitors. Tim Manson MTS of Marketing Birmingham is one of the UK’s biggest consultancy clients, having commissioned some £14M of projects since 2011. He shed light on the myriad complications introduced to the procurement process by EU-originating regulations, all in the name of supposed ‘transparency’. Roger Goodacre FTS, Chairman, Tourism Consultants Network
The programme featured four short and snappy sessions presented under the heading ‘Future Opportunities’.
David Massingham, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of DanceXchange, delivered an entertaining and impassioned look at how cultural tourism is changing the traditional tourism landscape. “The industry needs to do away with the idea that heritage and beauty wins the day,” he said. “How inclusive is a destination’s offer? How do young people absorb things?” In what was one of the key messages coming out of the symposium he said there needs to be a wider approach with cultural and tourism organisations working together, not just in partnership but in collaboration. “Collaboration,” he said, “is where you give something up to gain something
Turning to the topic of learning while on holiday, David Stephens MTS, senior research and insights manager with Visit Wales, said the industry focus was often based around the quantity of tourism, not the quality. Quoting a statistic that the average adult will check their mobile phone 85 times a day, he reminded delegates that being active and learning while on holiday offers a rare opportunity for the individual to focus on the task. He indicated that worldwide there were many opportunities for learning holidays, but that the domestic market was still lagging behind. He said that the increase in the older population is seeing a growth in the popularity of learning on holiday, and that this presents new opportunities for suppliers in this sector. Edd Moss, volunteering manager with the Canal & River Trust introduced delegates to ‘voluntourism’. He said that two things make the world go round: volunteering and cake! He highlighted a scheme run by the Trust that gives the opportunity for people to volunteer to spend a week helping to restore the waterways.
Edd Moss leading the trend towards episodic volunteering. It’s an opportunity to have a quick go at new experiences.” Anni Hood, founder and chief executive of her eponymous wellness business consultancy, highlighted a growing trend towards wellness-based holidays. “Today’s consumers, especially ‘millennials’, are changing,” she said. “We’re more aware of what being well actually means. People don’t want to come back from holiday feeling worse!” Anni explained that for many people, wellness is often associated with spas. “Spas are important, but wellness is about the wider holiday experience; mountains; coasts; woodland; and healthy activity.”
“We market the opportunity as ‘Have a dirty weekend’,” he said. “Organisations like ours and the National Trust are
Relaxing at Aluna
Photo credit: www.imagesofgreatbritain.com
Tourism Symposium Sponsors and Partners
Stuart Render MTS, coach tourism consultancy Stuart Render Tourism
Simon Reeve After an inauspicious start on the dole without any real qualifications, Simon Reeve got a job as a post boy on the Sunday Times and hasn’t looked back. His 1998 book ‘The New Jackals’ brought Al-Qaeda to the world’s attention and his television programmes have won him the One World Broadcasting Trust Award for Outstanding Contribution to Greater World Understanding. He spoke to Gregory Yeoman. GY: How did you end up writing a book about terrorism, and how easy was it to research the information? SR: I am very curious about great world events. That was how I came to start researching the book about the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993. It took five years to prepare and write – when it was published in 1998 it was the first book on Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, but no-one took any notice of it at first. When 9/11 happened my phone started ringing before the second tower had been hit and it didn’t stop for about a year and a half.
With guards in Mogadishu, Somalia In a way it was surprisingly easy to research. I didn’t really have any particular credentials to present to people other than I was interested – people just accepted that I was writing a book, and they wanted to talk to me about what was going on as no-one else was asking any questions. I had breakfast with Benazir Bhutto, strange meetings with Pakistani intelligence agents in Swiss Cottage, and meetings with CIA agents. It was astonishing how doors opened. Do the people you feature need much prompting when they are on camera? I find that people are willing and keen to tell their story in almost any situation almost anywhere in the world. They want the rest of the world to know what is going on and that applies whether you’re a sophisticated intelligence analyst in Virginia or a remote indigenous people in the western forest of Burma – we all have a desire to share our stories.
Reeve’s breakthrough book, published in 1998
In relation to you Outstanding
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Contribution award, what is your underlying approach to your programmes? Every series has been an education in its own right and I’m trying to convey that to people in the best way I can. I think travel at its best should inform, it should educate, it should be an experience that people remember. One of the greatest human endeavours still available is to travel the planet and encounter remoter, stranger, magnificent people and learn a little bit from their life and their world and bring it back in your heart and mind – that’s a wonderful thing to do. Is there a favourite journey out of your three trips around the world? That’s tough, but I’d choose Tropic of Cancer. There were a few really epic bits, such as crossing borders that hadn’t been open to outsiders for decades, and we had some very scary, very memorable and pretty raw experiences – the team and I still talk about these late into the night over a whisky or two.
Is there anywhere you would prefer not to have to return to? I just wouldn’t go anywhere that is visually or culturally beige. I am looking for places and situations that hit my buttons and hopefully these will create interesting and watchable television.
We have a small team – just a producer, director, cameraman and assistant producer, and me. Research starts months beforehand – someone will have a flash of inspiration looking at a map and thinking ‘that area hasn’t been covered recently, it’s got history, a story that’s of relevance to the world now’. The concept will get fleshed out in discussions, but there is generally no recce, and no script. We will have a plan, but there’s the opportunity for spontaneity once we’re on location and that makes it more interesting. Incorporating the light and shade is important – it is the reality of these places and it makes for a more memorable adventure and experience. I am appealing to people to travel with their eyes wide open and to accept that the fact that there are positives and negatives doesn’t need to stop us travelling – it just means we can learn a bit more on our journeys. Is it easy to leave your preconceptions behind when you set off on an assignment? At the end, do they tend to have been dashed? I am very open to having my mind changed and preconceptions dashed. I take a lot of stereotyping and baggage with me, and often it will have elements of truth, but reality is much more complicated and interesting than the clichés. One of the good things about not going with a script and just being open to what the journey throws up is that I’m not having to structure situations to bolster some conclusion that I delivered at the beginning of the programme. Your programmes are not travelogues really but insights into how people live in relation to their environment and each other, in different parts of the world. The scenery may change but do you see similar challenges and opportunities being tackled in the different locations, including the UK? The challenges we face on an industrial
When putting together a new television series, how long do you spend on research and recces before starting filming, and what sort of research do you do?
In Bangladesh with local guide Tanjil or economic level in the UK are the same about their impact, which is really key as in national parks in Africa – how do how to make it sustainable rather than we balance development with protection just making a quick buck. Some cities such as the emerging resorts in the Gulf get of the environment without killing the it wrong with the ‘pile it high’ approach, golden goose? It’s a tough one as it’s very without a thought for the overall carrying hard to make poor people richer or bring capacity. This produces unsustainable development to beautiful areas without unauthentic experiences that are not inflicting some damage on that area or representative of the real host community. causing harm to the natural world. From the range of situations you have reported on, how would you say humans are managing their position of responsibility towards the world’s environment? I think we are doing very badly. In the time I’ve been travelling I’ve seen the world changing and it ought to be clear to everyone that humans are transforming the shape and nature of the planet; but travel and tourism has a key role to play in protecting key wilderness areas. It pays and provides for the upkeep of ‘wildlife arks’ – national parks and marine reserves – which are our last real chance of protecting the iconic species. I think it’s critical that people understand that they have not just the responsibility but also the ability to protect these creatures through travel and tourism. Have you seen examples – good and bad – of the impact of tourism that particularly stand out from your travels? Blue Ventures is an organisation in Madagascar that runs scientific tourism programmes with a light footprint in the community. They’re thinking long-term
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Do you think geopolitical developments over the last 15 years have changed travelling patterns for good, or are we just seeing the latest combination of restricted and open areas? There will always be no-go areas, and it is easy to get depressed about the state of the world but we need to adapt to changing situations. Mozambique and Burma are opening up; hopefully Iran will open up more. It’s an extraordinary time to be travelling. Wear a seatbelt and keep your wits about you – you will be safe out there. What is the piece of equipment that you would never embark on a trip without? Flapjack. Torches. Multitool. Minstrels (important for keeping the cameraman happy). How do your trips overseas affect your family life? It’s not easy, and I have a young son now. The trips are often split into three-week sections because of logistics with visas and permissions but my time away can add up to half a year overall. It’s my job.
Technology and Digital Marketing New opportunities for independent accommodation providers
These owner-run and managed B&Bs, hotels and vacation rentals have witnessed massive change, all driven by technology and their customers’ use of new technologies, giving ‘global reach’, improving cash flow, simplifying processes and creating digital marketing opportunities. The flow of, and access to, data has meant new skills, processes and models are needed. Developing these is not always easy when you have limited time and a wide variety of responsibilities; however, the benefits are clearly evident. Good use of booking, payment, mobile, digital marketing and engagement (social media) technologies can make processes more efficient, help cash flow and ultimately improve the bottom line. Just by letting a ‘booking engine’ take the bookings means you are open for business 24/7 even when you are asleep and it can probably speak languages you can’t. These systems can also be translated across mobile platforms further increasing the reach of independents. Collecting payment has become much easier and quicker with many new payment systems available. These are built specifically for small businesses offering almost instant access to banking infrastructure that used to require reams of forms and weeks of waiting. New companies such as Stripe and Braintree enable payment settlement in many currencies and can help reduce fraud, so you can take payments from customers all over the world. When you consider the historical issues with payment collection and cash flow for independents these systems are shaving hours and percentages off the past. Digital marketing opportunities have become more accessible with much more user-generated content available. This
generation and sharing of content can really help build a ‘reputation’ and identify new revenue opportunities without much effort or expertise – just spend an hour reading reviews about your business and those around you. These platforms also encourage and increase engagement with customers to drive that content. Here smaller properties typically achieve higher scores or ratings on these reviews because they are closer to their customers and with fewer management layers they provide greater customer focus. That’s a real advantage over larger chains. There are also the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) that can provide instant exposure across their huge paid advertising networks. That ability effectively to switch on your global presence is something never experienced before in any sector – all your content automatically translated and put out to a highly targeted segment (you didn’t even know existed) with the use of clever algorithms and data analysis. This new business generation obviously comes at a cost with commission paid to the OTAs. The difficulty for many independents is in ensuring that they maximise the benefit from this cost and that requires active management of their distribution channels along with a good post-sales process that encourages direct repeat business. These technologies are developer-led
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For small independent accommodation providers today’s business world is a very different place from what it was just five years ago.
and based on simplifying the integration and adoption process to ensure they can achieve global scale quickly and efficiently. This leads to some great value products that are often servicing markets that were previously thought of as unprofitable i.e. some payment systems are better value than traditional merchant accounts. Here these payment systems leverage their data analysis to apply risk management and their scale also helps spread risk. Airbnb is an amazing example where the technology has effectively created a market and it’s just for independents, encouraging hundreds of thousands to move into the accommodation sector. Much of the technology is designed for first time users and often free at the point of access or offered on a pay-as-you-go basis. All this helps make it more accessible, further increasing the levels of adoption; however, there is a cost involved in learning how to use these technologies. The speed at which these technologies are changing the business landscape means the dilemma faced by most independent accommodation providers across the world is which ones to use and which ones to trust. Here we are seeing more and more consolidation, which may make their decisions easier in the short term. One thing is for sure, these technologies are growing at their current rate because of the demand from both the businesses and their clients. Iain Stewart MTS l Director, freetobook
Twenty-three years in the industry What highlights does one remember after twenty-three years with the British Hospitality Association?
In retrospect, it’s a combination of these and the daily task of lobbying for our industry. One big change has been devolution, with the individual nations developing different regulations and approaches from one another. For example, England, Wales and Northern Ireland operate the complex and often criticised Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, but Scotland has the simpler Food Hygiene Information Scheme, preferred by operators, regulators and consumer bodies. European Regulation plays a greater role than it did in 1993, with the Working Time Directive a frequent target for criticism. But some changes introduced by Brussels are now part of the furniture: laws on parttime and fixed-term work, for example, and at the British Hospitality Association we get few, if any, queries about these.
However, we now face the Chancellor’s
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Perhaps more significant has been the role regulation now plays in the cost of labour,
following the introduction of the National Minimum Wage in 1999. For many years, the Low Pay Commission, which fixes the NMW rates, has been well-regarded, coming up for the most part with fair and sensible conclusions. Occasionally, there have been disagreements - the longest of these lasted for fifteen years from 1999 to 2014, when eventually the Commission accepted our argument that the offset for staff accommodation ought to reflect more closely the market cost of housing.
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Is it the big successes, like winning millions back for the industry in the Copyright Tribunal, or the dramas, like the London Bombings in 2005 or Foot and Mouth Disease?
invention – the National Living Wage – which arrived on the scene on 1st April. It reflects the political argument that wages ought to rise significantly with commensurate reductions in the state’s contribution to earnings through benefits. The issue can be argued, but only the next five years will tell whether the National Living Wage will impact on jobs, on service levels or on competitiveness. The frustration of such innovations is the political theatre that accompanies them, with consultation and sensible discussion of the options taking second place to the Ministerial desire for headlines. Certainly, one obvious change over the past decades has been the growing significance of major and increasingly multinational chains, especially in the hotel sector, while the combination of regulation, recession and market developments has made the life of independent operators harder. But many independents are still in the industry as members of the BHA and, for me, one of the great pleasures has been visiting their businesses around the country, gathering members round the table and discussing current issues and feeding views back to Whitehall and Brussels and to the governments in Scotland and Wales. The genuine feel for
hospitality, for giving real value to guests is an abiding memory of the many members I’ve met over these years, from all sizes and shapes of business. It’s important for trade associations to innovate and campaign, even if so much of the work is reactive, responding to government initiatives.
People can sometimes disparage what can be termed ‘slow burners’ and I recall my first meeting on VAT in 1994 at the British Tourist Authority, but at last the Treasury’s opposition is softening. One day, I think that cut in VAT will happen. Mention of the BTA, a title now reborn out of the recent political decisions on national level tourist organisations, brings into focus the changes in structure over many years, not least the demise of Regional Tourist Boards and Regional Development Agencies in England. For hotels and increasingly for restaurants, a major change has been the arrival - and now the dominance – of the internet and Online Travel Agents. Perhaps the industry was slow to spot the danger, perhaps its structure of over 90 per cent small and micro operators contributed, but OTAs now effectively control the pricing structure of the industry.
Credit LosRobsos – fotolia.com
It’s not healthy for the industry, which pays massive commissions, or for the economy generally or for customers, denied competitive choice through the operation of Rate Parity. Helpfully, at last, the competition authorities, both here and at
European level, are starting to take action, but it’s an uphill task against powerful internet giants. My advice to customers is ‘book direct with hotels and restaurants’; to hotels and restaurants, it’s ‘make sure your customers can find that easy to do’. Trade associations can also play a role in encouraging good practice: we gave members advice over many years about ensuring that their contracts with agency cleaning companies ensured that the cleaners those companies employed were being paid the proper minimum wage. More recently, BHA members, working with the Food Standards Agency and with environmental health experts, have rewritten the Catering Industry Guide to Hygiene Practice, a Highway Code for the industry, with significant advice on good practice to ensure rising hygiene standards. Another area of good practice recently in the headlines has been the handling of service charge. The tax rules are very helpful to the industry: discretionary service charge paid to the staff through a tronc system comes free of VAT and National Insurance Contributions. In 2009, we published a Voluntary Code asking restaurants to specify to their customers, for example on the menu, what happens to the service charge money – does it all go the staff via an independently operated tronc system and are any deductions made to cover the credit card commission and payroll costs of the system? It was a good code, but, with recent social media and trade union pressure on restaurants not to make any of those deductions, Ministers set up an inquiry into industry practices and have now followed this up with a consultation based on a wide range of options, including offering greater transparency, strongly supported by the BHA, to give customers a better understanding of what happens to service charge. Frustrations? Yes, not least the inability of
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So, it’s been a privilege to work in an association which introduced the Big Hospitality Conversation to the hospitality industry, giving approaching 60,000 unemployed young people a job opportunity, and to have been closely involved in the campaign to Cut Tourism VAT.
governments to be consistent, whether it’s been the almost constant hiring and firing of Tourism Ministers, certainly in England, though the Scottish and Welsh have successfully gone for greater longevity in Ministerial appointments.
Training structures are constantly dug up by the roots and replanted elsewhere: any bets on whether the Apprenticeship Levy will last unchanged beyond the next Election? Greatest of all has been the failure of politicians to understand this industry, though that is changing: our work with Oxford Economics shows that hospitality industry employment has risen by a third of a million over the past four years and the message of job creation and, via the Big Hospitality Conversation, of job opportunities for young people is gaining traction. As I write, there is the referendum on EU membership to come: we await the electorate’s decision on 23rd June, which could affect the industry’s ability to continue to attract inbound visitors and staff from overseas to meet skill and job shortages. I’ve been looking back at just twentythree years, but the British Hospitality Association is the same registered company formed in 1910. Its first members’ bulletin in December 1913, just before the First World War, reported on three topics – the employment of foreigners, problems with licensing laws, and the quality of hotels. Perhaps things haven’t changed that much, though, to be fair, hotel and restaurant quality has improved greatly in recent years, as has the choice available to customers. So, as I look back on my time with the British Hospitality Association, there has been a great deal of improvement in the industry situation: it has grown and it has become a more significant employer, making an ever greater contribution to the national economy. Martin Couchman OBE MTS l Former Deputy Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Tourism and Green Growth
Tourism is “Essential” BUT climate change is “Existential”
I committed to write an article about the SUN Program (Strong Universal Network) - and will get to that - but first I want to underscore the themes in the title.
As for the existential – humanity must get control of carbon in the next five years and programme a progressively tightening ‘no carbon’ era by 2050; or our grandkids will freeze or fry – we are sadly less engaged. The propaganda say we are leaders in that, too, but occasional keynotes, awards, indicators, certification programmes, green marketing and small scale eco-tourism say otherwise. Historically, hotels and tour operators have undertaken reporting, certification, conservation and community outreach. Cruises have endorsed strengthening maritime environmental regulations and benefits of technology. Aviation has responded comprehensively to noise and pollution imperatives, as well as crafting a ‘4-Pillar Plan’ to increase fuel efficiency, embrace new technology, improve operations and go carbon neutral by 2050. But while the plan has been hatching, the norms on climate response have shifted. Now the prospect of a 2050 aviation carbon footprint half of today’s looks
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Most tourism and travel stakeholders will accept the two points above and then give endless attention to the “we are essential” case. We’ve actually been making this for the past quarter century. Our data, institutions, leaders, budgets and staff are all pre-programmed to reverberate the same message: “We account for some 5-10% of GDP, Trade, Jobs and Investment: doubling every 10-15 years: we are a catalyst for development and a force for good.” untenable, without a monumental shift in bio-fuel production. Today it’s a new ballgame created by widespread realisation that climate change is existential. 2015 Paradigm Summits – Paris (Climate), New York (Sustainable Development Goals – SDG’s) and Addis (Financing) – create a 2030/2050 Roadmap for a more caring, sharing and ultimately, no-carbon world. We must step up to the plate with a response worthy of a sector that rightly considers itself “essential”. It has to be coherent with growth aspirations and impacts – renewable energy based, inclusive, conservationist and cyber-driven. It has to be in the leadership cadre of global norms, executed at local levels – smart cities, ocean strategies, nature-based solutions, socially responsible and the like. It has also to reflect the many shades of green growth - sharing, circular, blue, steady-state etc.
“SUN will provide a new form of human and electronic support, for measured, progressive change, by a sector that must be in the vanguard – as communities, companies and citizens.” 24
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It has to track a continuously evolving framework of carbon targets, ratcheted higher as we move to the ‘point of no return’ over the next decade, with a clearly identified shift from a 2oC maximum increase, towards 1.5oC. And a mind-blowing background of 17 SDGs, 169 Targets and 304 Indicators, already evolving rapidly across the international community. It has to be bottom up as well as top down, because all global agreements on Climate and SDGs recognise transformation must be aggregated from a changed base, over a multi-decade time frame. We will need as a minimum: n Proper measurement, linking growth and environmental accounting in one benefits/impacts balance sheet n International stakeholder engagement, including NGOs with a seat at the table and accountable delivery n Cross-silo governance engaging disparate departments and sectors whose policy actions drive the Travelism operational framework n Revamped education and training systems to build climate resilience and green growth at the core rather than the periphery.
Design of SUN Ark And the biggest challenge – it will be constructed in the frenetic cyber world of 24/7 dynamic communication, instant information and entrepreneurial change where the only fixed target is avoiding existential climate mayhem. It will have challenges and opportunities that the World Economic Forum calls a 4th Industrial Revolution. In summary, we face dynamic and often unpredictable change where, over the next decade, Green Growth becomes the norm, current systems transform more rapidly than ever foreseen and most solutions come from outside our sector. It will be complicated – trillions of changes, in millions of places. It will take constantly evolving thinking, perpetual adaptation, new collaborations and open minds. And this is where SUN comes in. Crafted under the tough guidance of my friend and mentor Maurice Strong – one of the true fathers of sustainable development and Secretary General of the Rio Earth Summit – the Strong Universal Network is a testament to his vision that our sector must be a leading global sustainability change agent, through Green Growth action, innovation and education. SUN will provide a new form of human and electronic support, for measured, progressive change, by a sector that must be in the vanguard – as communities, companies and citizens. It will do this through an innovative system of solar powered, interconnected ‘SUNARKS’, tracking change, sourcing global innovation, sharing good practice and finding funding. Each prefabricated unit is delivered in a container and positioned throughout the world in a range of communities linking
national parks, urban centres and tourism destinations. SUN-ARKS will be permanently connected via the internet cloud, with access to massive publicly available global data sources for research, measurement and analysis. They will be linked to national SUN Chapters, developed with the support of ICTP (International Coalition of Tourism Partners). This will bring together interested stakeholders around a local university, managed by a team of three trained, ‘glocally’ focused post-graduate researchers, to provide Green Growth & Travelism-related data insights, funding advice, innovation sourcing and strategy support. This Team will be fused to all other SUNARKs in the increasing global network, giving each destination real-time access to an expanding system of information, data exchange and programme delivery. Destinations will also have access to a Green Growth Transformation Hub, where global and local companies will be able to offer commercial support services necessary to measure, adapt and evolve, as well as to deliver and promote the new green products. It is this international Green Growth network – part human, part cyber – that will help Travelism to move to the forefront of climate resilience and sustainable development. SUN-ARKS will act as policy support units, educational hubs, capacity building centres and demonstration sites for Travelism, local climate resilience and SDG adaptation initiatives, as well as training venues for policymakers, practitioners and students. The first SUN-ARK will be placed in the National Park, Hoge Kempen in Limburg in Belgium in 2016. The Park is perfectly positioned as a global model, with a
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renowned environmentalist Director, Ignace Schops, whose Re-connection approach, linking nature, people and cities, will be integrated into the SUN system. Its major IPCC-linked science project, with the University of Hasselt, to measure real-time climate impacts will also be reflected, as will the tourism dimensions of the University’s mobility and architectural groups. Last but not least, our community cultural role will be well covered through close links with the nearby studio of world famous artist Koen Vanmechelen and his ‘Open University of Diversity’. We have assembled a Board that reflects the brave new world of climate resilience, SDG transformation and the 4th Industrial Revolution – with Felix Dodds, former Director of the Multistakeholder Forum, Tom Goldberg MBE, Chair of the SUNARK construction group, Brindusa Fidanza, CEO of the Ground Up Project, driving small business impact investment, along with Ignace and myself. 2016 will be spent on bedding down the concept, testing the model in Belgium, putting in place key web-based sharing structures, sourcing funds and framing outreach – particularly national chapters to galvanise the system. 2017, the international Year of Sustainable Tourism, will see establishment of the regional SUN system around the world, with global deployment thereafter. It is also incidentally the year in which Hull, where Tom Goldberg and I grew up, takes on the mantle of European Capital of Culture – and where a SUN-ARK could send a very important global message about the links of culture, travelism and green growth. We will need friends, collaborators and partners everywhere – the task is existential. If you’re interested, please take a look at www.thesunprogram.com Prof. Geoffrey Lipman FTS l Creative Disruption Architect, Greenearth.travel
Full steam ahead! Living close by to Kings Cross and St Pancras stations as a child inevitably led to a love of trains. Standing at the end of platforms enveloped by steam from the Flying Scotsman, Mallard and the like was part of everyday life. It is therefore pleasing that a good few decades on, I am once again involved with railway heritage through my work with the Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO). Interest in rail travel generally and steam trains in particular is going through something of a renaissance. There is no doubt that much of this can be attributed to the hugely popular television series, ‘Great British Railway Journeys’. Its presenter, Michael Portillo, he of the garish jackets, was a recent recipient of the Tourism Society Award and he has done a sterling job in motivating group organisers to arrange trips to the many heritage railways with which Britain is blessed. Perhaps not surprisingly, the UK has more heritage railways per square mile than anywhere else in the world, attracting 10 million visits a year. This fact has not been lost on the Government, which produced a Parliamentary Report on the sector in 2013 that highlighted the importance of heritage railways to tourism and the benefits they bring to local economies. In fact, earlier this year, the Government launched a £1million competition aimed at heritage and community railways to make them more accessible for people travelling around the country. The competition will offer grants to rail operators for innovative ideas to meet this objective. Tourism and Heritage Minister, David Evennett, said: “We want more tourists to experience the best of Britain beyond the capital and help boost local economies across the country. Heritage railways are a huge draw for tourists and this competition will encourage more visitors to see some of the hidden gems the country has to offer.” Once the preserve of rail enthusiasts,
Mike Bugsgang FTS l Chief Executive, AGTO
On the Swiss Chocolate Train itinerary these railways have taken on a much major overhaul and we are very excited broader appeal with group organisers using about its visit to the Severn Valley in September.” them for a whole range of experiences including shopping trips, travel to festivals Another AGTO member, Success Tours, and gourmet dining. part of the Albatross Travel Group, offers a wide range of specialist itineraries for According to AGTO member David groups incorporating rail journeys both Steele, there’s an old adage in group within the UK and overseas. Albatross organiser circles that goes: “Put together Managing Director Denise Bridges MTS an itinerary featuring a steam railway believes that some people incorrectly journey, a boat trip and a garden visit and assume that coach and rail are two totally you will have a happy group.” separate products whereas they actually Clare Gibbard of AGTO member compliment each other: “Journeys on Severn Valley Railway said: “Groups are heritage railways as part of an itinerary are very important and positively influence an important feature of our programmes our visitor numbers each year. Group particularly in Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, organisers book with us year after year Norfolk and the Lake District; whilst due to the truly unique visitor experience in Europe, our Swiss Chocolate Train that we deliver. experience has proved extremely “The Severn Valley Railway offers groups popular.” the chance to step back in time to the The Government’s initiatives to stimulate golden age of steam – to enjoy steam interest in heritage railways combined with train rides along our famous and scenic extensive media coverage of the return 16-mile span, to get hands-on with our into service of the Flying Scotsman will interactive exhibits at our Engine House certainly assist the group travel sector Visitor Centre and to enjoy some of our in its promotional efforts. However, the hugely popular events like ‘Step back to aforementioned Parliamentary Report the 1940s’ and the ‘Santa Steam Specials’. added a note of caution by stating that “Heritage steam is very much in the spotlight at the moment with the Flying Scotsman’s re-entry into service after its
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operators of these attractions need to improve their websites and social media activities.
Student View Tourism Society Scotland Student Award winner I am currently in my second year at Edinburgh Napier University, studying Hospitality and Marketing Management. Living in Scotland’s capital means I get to study in one of the UK’s most beautiful cities with some amazing tourist attractions and experiences right on my doorstep. On 25th February I was presented with the 2016 Tourism Society Scotland Student Award.
The award has not only reinvigorated my enthusiasm for my course, but receiving a year’s complimentary membership to the Tourism Society is providing me with an extra opportunity to engage with the industry. Thanks to my win, I was invited to attend Napier’s Hospitality, Tourism, Festival and Events Awards Lunch where many of the guests were tourism professionals. In just a couple of hours spent speaking to new people my eyes were opened to the vast array of opportunities and career paths open to me. I chose to study Hospitality and Tourism while I was taking a year out after school. During the year I went to Annecy in France to work as an au pair. While working my confidence grew being away from home and I started to consider what sparks tourists’ interest to visit this place and what they were there to do. I could understand the appeal of a French town: beautiful mountains, clear blue lakes and pleasant climate. So what brings people to Scotland? While I was there I met a man who was going on holiday to my home town to ride mountain biking trails just 10 miles from my house in Dumfries. This made me realise just how many tourist activities there are, almost in my own back yard. The fact tourism spans the entire world
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I was overwhelmed when I heard that I had won it as it was completely unexpected! I won the award for achieving the best-in-class grade for the first year module, ‘An Introduction to Hospitality, Tourism and Events’.
Palais de l’Ile jail and canal, Annecy and everywhere is of interest to someone is an amazing concept. This fuelled my enthusiasm for starting my course in 2014. I chose to study in Edinburgh because it is so beautiful and vibrant, offering a wealth of tourism opportunities. It is always possible to experience something new and to be a tourist in your own city. Its location is excellent in the central belt, just an hour by train to Glasgow, plus the highlands are also very accessible. Growing up in Scotland has given me a real passion for my own country with the countryside being one of my favourite parts. There are incredible forests and hills for walking and mountain biking or rivers and lochs for water sports. The number of exciting activities available in so many areas means that Scotland, despite its existing popularity with visitors, still has untapped tourism potential. Scotland is so much more than just its large cities and the iconic lochs and glens. One of my interests is how the use of social media can influence and generate tourism anywhere in the world. Blogs or Instagram posts spark a lust for travel in almost every location, which I find
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fascinating. A feature on the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, for example, can generate the desire for a holiday despite Iceland not adhering to more mainstream views of what a holiday comprises, i.e. sun, sand and sea. Social media challenges traditional views of a destination, inspiring consumers to think outside the box. For all of these reasons I am excited by the prospect of working within the tourism industry, which is in many ways at the epicentre of digital transformations in the age of social media. When I graduate I am hoping to work within hospitality and tourism, either in hotels in a visitor-facing role or marketing in Scotland. Working in tourism will give me the opportunity to channel my passion for the industry, for my place of work and for Scotland. I hope to enthuse visitors and look forward to sharing my local insights to ensure they get a ‘real’ and authentic Scottish experience, not missing any of the highlights that perhaps only we Scots are aware of. Sally Peacock l Hospitality and Marketing Management, Edinburgh Napier University
Lessons from Inverness and Loch Ness
Inverness and Ben Wyvis The Inverness and Loch Ness Tourism Business Improvement District (Tourism BID) or Visit Inverness Loch Ness (VILN) as it is now known, was established in March 2014 following a successful ballot of all potential levy-paying tourism businesses. Despite a modest turnout of 41%, 81% of those who voted, voted in favour. This represented 57% of the total rateable value of businesses included in the ballot. VILN today has over 400 levy-paying members ranging from major hotel chains and visitor attractions to guest houses, self-catering properties and restaurants. It also has approximately 50 businesses which have chosen to ‘optin’ voluntarily. The organisation covers a large geographical area that includes Loch Ness and surrounds, the city of Inverness (excluding the city centre which is covered by Inverness City Centre BID) and east of Inverness to and including Inverness Airport. The goals of VILN are to attract more visitors to the area to stay longer and spend more and improve the visitor
experience, thus creating a more sustainable local tourism industry. In order to achieve these goals there are six objectives: n To better market and promote the area. n To grow the value of business tourism and attract more conferences. n To support new and existing sustainable events and festivals. n To deliver improvements in the tourism infrastructure. n To provide business development opportunities for members. n To be a voice on issues of concerns to tourism businesses. To deliver this agenda VILN has an elected voluntary Board of twelve, ten of whom are from the private sector as well as a small management team of four. So how in March 2014, did VILN become the first Tourism BID in Scotland? Arguably, the success of VILN was ten years in the making and ultimately based on recognition by key businesses in the
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area that this was the only way that, as a tourism destination, the area could grow and be more able to compete with other destinations both nationally and internationally. To understand this, step back to 2006. Inverness had no representative tourism organisation and Loch Ness, although known the world over, was increasingly being perceived by press, media and visitors as ‘tacky’, a place only to come and ‘take the photo and move on’. This was reflected in the low level of visitor spend in the area and high level of economic leakage. A new approach was required, private sector-led with the public sector in support, and an organisation called Destination Loch Ness (DLN) was established in 2006. Over the next six years it gained good support from local businesses by focusing on the marketing of the Loch Ness area and also on trying to improve the tourism infrastructure. In this respect, it had a degree of success but ultimately the organisation was too small in size to make significant impact because
Loch Ness trail: visitor infrastructure Many properties are owned by persons outside the area, indeed some overseas, who not only were very difficult to contact but also had little or no interest in being part of a Tourism BID.
it relied not only on financial support from the public sector to sustain it, but also on voluntary contributions from the private sector. By 2012 it was clear that DLN had achieved as much as it could within these financial constraints.
However, in the latter part of 2012, DLN was approached by Inverness City Centre BID suggesting that DLN might wish to consider the BID model with its compulsory payment of a levy by all member businesses, albeit only guaranteed for a five-year period. A Steering Group of key private sector tourism professionals was quickly established and began the development of a Tourism BID bringing together both Inverness and Loch Ness as one destination in recognition of their interdependence for success. The development of VILN took 18 months and it was a process which presented a number of challenges. An expected challenge was resentment from some businesses about the imposition of what they saw as ‘just another tax’ and also the challenge of gaining sufficient funding for the process. As a developing BID VILN received a single grant payment of £20K from the Scottish Government but the actual cost of development was approximately £55K. On the other hand VILN faced the unique challenge of ensuring face to face consultation with businesses spread over a large geographical area, a task that was expensive both in time and travel. A large area was required to help ensure viability of the Tourism BID but also to include businesses in remote areas that would benefit and which had indicated they wanted to be included. Another challenge was simply engaging with many of the small tourism operators, particularly in the self- catering sector.
That these challenges were successfully addressed was down to three key factors. Firstly, a strong and committed Tourism BID Steering Group who freely gave their time to assist the Project Team in meeting the legal requirements of the BID process. Secondly, strong ground support from Loch Ness businesses who had been part of DLN, many of whom were happy to help with the challenge of positively engaging with potential levy payers. Thirdly, two key decisions made in the development process, decisions which were only possible because of the inclusion of Inverness. Inverness with its large number of hotels and visitor attractions gave the Tourism BID ensured viability in terms of generating sufficient revenue to deliver real difference to the area. As a result the entry level non-domestic rateable value was able to be set at £2K thus excluding 300+ very small/parttime tourism businesses and accusations of unfairness and also the exclusion of geographical areas which had in the consultation process not indicated any desire to be part of the Tourism BID. Whether-or-not VILN has been a success will not be known until the re-ballot in 2019. However, if the delivery of the business plan is an interim measure of success, then VILN has to date made good progress. That said, the business plan on which potential levy payers voted was a pragmatic rather than an ambitious plan, and it is recognised that future success relies on VILN delivering in the next three years a project(s) probably in partnership
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with the public sector, that ‘would not have happened without the existence of the VILN’. For tourism destinations to be truly successful today, whatever their economic base, they need to drive improvements in the visitor infrastructure that are transformational. VILN will not achieve transformational change within three years, but if businesses can be inspired as to what is possible through the ambition and additional project delivery of VILN, then hopefully success at the ballot will follow. Of course success is also very dependent on convincing those opponents and doubters amongst members that VILN does benefit their businesses. So for a destination considering developing a Tourism BID, we would suggest, firstly, think very carefully whether this is the right model for the destination. It will not work for every destination – a potential Tourism BID close to the Loch Ness and Inverness area was comprehensively rejected by potential levy payers six months before VILN went to ballot. Secondly, while we would all like to think that ‘tourism is everyone’s business’, the reality is that this is not how it will be perceived by many businesses. Think about which sectors of businesses to include. This will be informed by the consultation process but there is a strong case for tourism BIDs being single sector-led. VILN has a large number of hotels and their support is to an extent based solely on VILN growing business tourism and the conference and events market. Thirdly, and finally, while social media is an integral part of business today, it needs to be used carefully in the development of a BID, tourism or otherwise. As has been the case for a number of BIDs once opposition to a BID gains momentum on social media, it is very hard to stop. Graeme Ambrose l Chief Executive, Visit Inverness Loch Ness
Romance, transport and relaxation around the world
Canals and waterways support tourism activity throughout the world by providing both access and spectacle. They are also an amenity supplying outdoor space for locals and visitors alike.
However, times have changed and regeneration and restoration has taken place in the UK, thanks to the volunteers that support the network. The Canal and River Trust website clearly illustrates canals and waterways’ as places for escape, providing social, environmental and economic benefits including approximately £30million contribution to the visitor economy. Moreover, as visitor attractions and local amenities featuring the built and natural environments they proffer resources for place sense making and meaning. In this article, examples are taken of destinations around the world where water transport infrastructure has also been incorporated into a sense of place identity leading to tourism activity. Venice, in north-eastern Italy, is wellknown for its canals and lagoon surrounding a large cluster of island settlements. The 400 bridges that create connections, the historic Grand Canal next to churches and palaces provide enduring romantic images often captured in film and literature. It is, therefore, no surprise that Venice’s promoters are encouraging wedding tourism. Indeed, a Google search for the most romantic places in the world results in seeing the typical image of Venice, ie. a gondola and serenading gondolier. It is also worth noting that water features in all the images from this web search and this illustrates the human connection with water and the sentiments it evokes.
Floating market, Bangkok After long success as a maritime base, Venice is a comparator for water transport systems and tourism activities elsewhere. Across the Atlantic Ocean from the UK in Mexico City, which like Venice was built on water (in this case a lake), there is a network of 180 kilometres of tree-lined canals. This area, known as the Xochimilco, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the late 1980s and is full of floating gardens (chinampas) where city residents once grew food. Nowadays, it’s possible to visit and travel on a trajinera (gondola), either as part of a group celebratory fiesta or as an individual sightseer. The unpowered water craft allow visitors access to a range of attractions although essentially it is the experience of travelling on the water itself that gives the essence of the place. The brightly-coloured boats often seat 14-20 people for meals and drinks accompanied by local (mariachi) music. So successful is the Xochimilco experience, the party on boats aspect has been replicated near the hugely successful Mexican mass tourism resort of Cancun. Moving east to Thailand, the former capital Ayutthaya built on a former flood plain
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Even when they have been well used by passionate enthusiasts like anglers, these water courses have often gone unrecorded in the tourism context. Historically, the space has often been ignored especially when it became less important for the carriage of freight.
had a system of canals for transportation and for supplies with floating markets at strategic junctions. Such was the extent of the network that early 16th-century visitors from Europe called Ayutthaya ‘the Venice of the East’ and this nomenclature later applied to the newer capital, Bangkok. Here, the canals are a more recent addition than the aforementioned Mexican constructions and were mainly built for military reasons, but in 1857 one canal was built with a walkway, in recognition that these were attractive places to stroll and where many beautiful flowers could be seen. These days, travelling on the water in Bangkok is a welcome alternative to the overcrowded roads and is a valued visitor experience. This is quickly evident upon arrival because the river route is near main attractions so taking a boat along the river to places like the Grand Palace is a popular choice for visitors to Bangkok, especially when many of the superior graded hotels alongside the river have their own boats. The Peninsular Hotel for example has its own historic looking boat especially for its residents moored at its own landing stage and this can be used to connect with
A scroll through recommendations on Trip Advisor brings up many reviews from contributors recognising that a visit to one of the Floating Markets based on the canals in the city’s outskirts offers a unique opportunity both to marvel at the activity and also participate, especially as
Credit JFL Photography – fotolia.com
Grand Canal, Venice different sides of the city. The rather more rudimentary canal boats can be hired for tours of the waterways busy with local commuters travelling from A to B. These canal routes show a fascinating view from the water, revealing a mix of waterside development. Jetties are straightforward affairs where passengers alight or disembark swiftly; one local said he found this mode of travel far too hazardous but it is very cheap and efficient. However, there is more to Bangkok’s waterways than just acting as transport routes.
many tourists use their visit as a chance to sample Thai cuisine at the numerous cafes and restaurants nearby. Closer to home, our own UK Second City of Birmingham, like both Mexico City and Bangkok, has been compared to Venice and this was heard whilst watching Timothy West and Prunella Scales in their Great Canal Journeys series, when they were joined by their son Samuel West to help with the locks, for a journey on the Grand Union to Braunston. Upon leaving Gas Street Basin and reflecting on the cleanliness of the canal water and the attractive waterside development since they were last there in the 1980s, they referred to Birmingham as the ‘Venice of the North’. The basin was the junction between the Birmingham Canal Network and the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and the now surrounding area of Brindley place is a central point for the arts, shopping and entertainment. The Canal & River Trust website shows caution in answering the question whether there are more canals than in Venice, but what they do say is that the network in Birmingham is one of the most intricate, reaching approximately 100 miles in length. The central hub is named Gas Street Basin, which doesn’t inspire the same romantic image as the Grand Canal of Venice but this canal junction was significant historically and so busy with boats carrying freight that gas-lighting was installed to ensure 24-hour operations (hence the name).
Brindley Place, Birmingham
Activity here was crucial in supporting Britain’s growth at the time of the Industrial Revolution and it is an
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appreciation of this historical role that influenced the regeneration and restoration of the canals and surrounding area therefore enhancing the value of a visit. To encourage visitors, waterways enthusiasts hold special events like boat cavalcades, where richly decorated boats form part of the celebrations and the historical period they represent is mixed with other traditional activities and trades from the past, like Morris dancing and craft real ales. Participating in such events creates connections for locals and visitors alike. By taking the examples of Venice, Mexico City, Bangkok and Birmingham, four very different cities that have in common an infrastructure that supported the movement of freight and people, each can demonstrate that the water and travel on it is a valuable attraction for tourists. Tourists benefit from these infrastructures, are drawn to the water and its surroundings whether perceived as romantic or simply memorable and these feelings forge a connection with a place, its landscape, history and people. Whether travelling on a boat being serenaded, looking at the landscape and architecture, appreciating nature and its beauty, water sports or travelling from one place to another, there is a romance to taking a boat on holiday. Often it’s about taking time and observing what’s going on. It’s true to say that many selfie-sticks were in evidence on a Bangkok boat but at the same time there was a marvelling at the experience, and this is what the waterways bring to tourism. Julia Fallon MTS l Principal lecturer, Welsh centre of tourism research, Cardiff Met
Fit for purpose and ready for what the future holds?
Dr Constantia Anastasiadou, Prof Henrik Halkier and Dr Laura James presented findings from research with destination leaders in Denmark and the UK, focusing largely on the shifting priorities and challenging environments that destination organisations are operating in because of public sector reforms and centralisation of authority. Carron Tobin then discussed the range of initiatives and working partnerships formed at Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative focusing on the successful communication structure between the AITC and the local tourist associations and the influence of local council initiatives in supporting tourism product development. Stephanie Hodges, Head of Civic Partnerships (Europe) for Airbnb, discussed how Airbnb has worked with destination organisations including Amsterdam, London, Rio de Janeiro and Glasgow in planning and managing the impacts of the sharing economy and the development of alternative accommodation models. The roundtable discussion focused on issues surrounding the role of destination organisations as customer or industry facing, the significance of core versus project funding and the impact of the digital revolution for data gathering and information dissemination. Rationale for Local DMOs Destinations are about holistic experiences and collective cross-industry action is required to create consistent customer journey experiences. Local businesses expect DMOs and other tourism bodies to offer local marketing and will drive business to them. People who volunteer with local tourist associations are time poor, which is why DMOs are necessary,
© viperagp – fotolia.com
Tourism Society Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University Business School organised a thought-provoking seminar on 12th April 2016 on the current state and the future of destination organisations with contributions from approximately 40 academics, destination managers and tourism practitioners.
Do Destinations have the right tools for the job? particularly in rural areas. funding, but they can also be a source of potential conflict, e.g. retail businesses may In Scotland, the current landscape is one not see themselves as tourism. The TBID of many regional and local partnerships on the Isle of Wight was voted for by ‘real’ leading some to ask, “Is this without tourism businesses, and then retailers were structure?” However, the Scottish Tourism invited to join. Alliance (STA) is effective in assisting local level organisations such as DMOs in Information Gathering and aligning their strategic objectives with the Sharing national tourism strategy (‘Tourism 2020’) DMOs could act as local market priorities for action. The STA drawing intelligence hubs to address existing on ‘Tourism 2020’ has also created a limitations in available statistics. For highly effective communication framework instance, VisitScotland collects data using among stakeholders. the Scottish Tourism Activity Monitor Resource Availability and Allocation
The availability of core funding is critical. Without an element of core funding, DMO staff spend too much time chasing future funding. This short-termism also means far too much reinvention of the same wheels and loss of skills and expertise. Demonstrating tangible outcomes, outputs, ‘value added’ and meaningful ROI is crucial in making the argument for public sector funding intervention. This has been a central aspect of the debate around Transient Visitor Levy (TVL) or Bed/Tourism Tax in Scotland. The delegates discussed at length the Scottish Enterprise Tourism Destination Development Fund, which offers funding packages of up to £300,000. A future evaluation of this fund could provide useful insights to the impact of government assistance on the effectiveness of DMOs. Creating Tourism Business Improvement Districts (TBID) is another approach to
Dr Constantia Anastasiadou MTS l Reader in Tourism Edinburgh Napier University, and Kenneth Wardrop MTS l Kenneth Wardrop Consultancy
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(STEAM) which is not detailed enough in its coverage. Data is disaggregated down from national level so not really meaningful at local level, or they are extrapolated upwards from a small sample based on data from hotels when the bulk of accommodation in rural areas is in B&B. The lack of connectivity especially in the UK’s rural areas, and the slow internet connections, are seriously hindering further engagement with digital technologies for the purposes of knowledge management and information sharing. In conclusion, destination organisations have a great deal of the right knowledge and some tools but still need assistance. Currently there is no level playing field: available funding, skills and knowledge vary from organisation to organisation depending on the local set up and destination size. Internationally, there is great variety of DMO models and still a lot to learn from the experiences of other organisations and destinations.
Social Travel Britain 2016 Sites, likes and video content MORE than 70 domestic tourism professionals gathered in Bristol for two days in April to learn and discuss best practice in marketing tourism through social and digital media. © darenwoodward – fotolia.com
It was the second Social Travel Britain conference and brought together PRs, DMOs, academics, digital creators, students, bloggers, photographers, videographers, attractions and tour operators. Some highlights of the conference: The man from Instagram Gord Ray is brand development lead at Instagram. “We are not searching so much these days as discovering,” he said. There is truth in that: so much good content is now out there that it is a pleasure to browse. “The most popular locations on Instagram are not the most beautiful - but the ones that create emotional connection,” tweeted Emma Mead of VisitBritain. Bloggers create, DMOs curate That was a line from blogger Kash Bhattacharya, aka The Budget Traveller, and summed up a continuing theme, that the role of tourist boards is changing fast. Malcolm Bell FTS, CEO of Visit Cornwall, said that six years ago, he had 68 staff. Now it’s six – but becoming a Community Interest Company in 2015 meant dropping public sector involvement – and costly interference (a route Devon has recently taken, and one Dorset is also looking to take). Cornwall invests heavily in video, available to members with little or no branding. It is trialling live Facebook video: one shot received 82,000 views in the first 24 hours. Malcolm described his operation as a media distribution hub, an approach many international DMOs also take. Indeed, and Estonia’s tourist bodies now refer to themselves as digital creative media agencies. Feedback surveys on visitor experiences and brand management are now also within the remit of Promote Iceland, as well as self-generating income from
Virtual Reality – a glimpse of the future website adverts: possibly selling holidays which they agreed to travel for free: they’d and knowledge too? But Jon Chamberlain, never been asked by a destination before. marketing manager of Destination Bristol, The two young gamers have a combined warned not to throw the baby out with following of some tens of millions. the bathwater: the city prints 400,000 Filming Britain guides to Bristol annually – and every one No-one has done more to video the is distributed, he added. best of Britain’s green tourism highlights Marketing to Minecrafters than Richard Hammond, CEO of Emma Mead of VisitBritain is International Greentraveller. He has created travel Media and Influencers Manager. Influencers reports on national parks and Areas of tend to be early social media adopters Outstanding Natural Beauty for years: EU who built audiences on Twitter and grants then enabled him to offer car-free Instagram and who became full-time travel videos to the NPs and AONBs. His bloggers. They can also write, take video team has just completed eight projects, and collaborate with other bloggers in showing the protected Welsh landscapes, collectives to help distribute their content. for showing this summer. And increasingly, they work for DMOs like VisitBritain for a fee, working to a brief and handing over ownership of content produced. Keith Jenkins, CEO of the biggest travel blogger collective, iambassador, first touted the idea of bloggers being paid to visit six years ago: new research carried out for the conference by Travel Perspective and World Travel Market shows that 11% of the travel industry now does so. VisitBritain has a number on its books: of the 1,000+ media that VisitBritain invited in 2015/16, 200 were considered influencers. Now the net has widened. Emma told how VB recently invited two German Minecraft gamers to Wales to do rough and tumble outdoorsy things, to
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Virtual reality and audio In the week of the conference, a survey from Invest Bristol & Bath said that 75% of respondents expect VR to have a significant impact – mostly on the gaming sector (60%) – but that travel ranks fourth, behind only gaming, entertainment and education. The conference saw a draft VR project for a museum in Dorset, produced by Blueflame Digital. Travel blogger Michael Turtle, aka Time Travel Turtle, promoted audio – he was a radio reporter in Australia before he hit the road but his love of the medium has not diminished. He publishes interviews with travel industry figures, and is someone who believes podcasts and audio reports are on the rise. I am, too – I love the medium. Steve Keenan l Co-founder, Travel Perspective
Tourism Society 40th Anniversary 1977 – 2017
Then and Now: booking holidays in the 80s and today The Society’s members represent not How things have changed over the last 40 just a huge repository of information and years. anecdotes covering the last 40 years, but Looking back, life may have seemed also a fount of collective creativity that simpler then without the background will carry the industry and the Society noise of modern technology and the extra forwards. To help us celebrate our demands it seems to make on our time; important milestone I am keen to hear 70s fashions have achieved cult status and from you with your recollections of key even old punks are now to be found in moments in tourism since the Society responsible jobs. Cars were smaller, there was founded, and also where you think was no Euro (and no EU; it was the EEC) developments will take the industry in the and your ‘friends’ physically existed. future. If you have any old photos that you The world was certainly a bigger place, are happy to send in as well, please do too. Weekend city breaks to anywhere and I can include them in a special edition more than 50 miles away were only for of the journal. I am also keen to hear your the real jet-set and the majority of us were views on what the Society means to you still glued to the (very large) television at and what you would like to see us achieve the weekend for top travel tips from Judith in the years ahead. Chalmers and John Carter. To get the ball rolling I asked three Society Tourism has changed hugely – more members for their views: people are on the move, quality of product and welcome has improved, people’s sense “As a member since 2010, I first joined as a student and have continued my membership of adventure has evolved, the view of the as I’ve gone on to launch my career. I find sector as a career option has matured, the insights the Society offers from across and innovation carries on apace. Since the UK and from all parts of the visitor 1977 the Tourism Society has provided economy via Tourism invaluable. I have an opportunity for professionals working always found fellow members to be generous in this arena to meet, discuss ideas, swap with their knowledge and expertise, buying experience and develop the agenda of the into the community that the Tourism Society tourism and travel industries. facilitates.” Next year we will celebrate our 40th Helen Adams MTS, anniversary and will look forward to the next 40 years. Lothian Buses
© Thomas Cook; georgejmclittle– Fotolia.com
Ruby, ruby, ruby, ruby!
“As a relatively new member of the Tourism Society I value the opportunity membership provides to network, share best practice and learn from colleagues. The Society provides a critical link in the chain between theory, policy and what is happening out on the coalface in the industry. By promoting continuous professional development and connecting organisations and individuals on a common goal, The Tourism Society can ensure that the sector can respond and adapt to changes in this fast-growing global industry.” Michelle Gorman MTS, Visit County Durham “Over the last 40 years Tourism has become mainstream and a global phenomenon. Recognition of its importance is now more readily given by government and community leaders. During this time The Tourism Society has been a constant element to support the development of skills and knowledge of tourism practitioners, provide essential insights and share best practices whilst challenging abilities to provide high quality services.” Michael Hirst OBE FTS, Consultant CBRE Hotels All contributions are welcome – please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep an eye on the website for more information about how we will mark our 40 years during 2017.
Gregory Yeoman FTS l Executive Director
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Membership News Welcome to the following new Company Members: Kim Churchill MTS, and Nina Watkins MTS, Southeastern; Tom Freshwater MTS, and Susan Wilkinson MTS, National Trust. Welcome to the following new Society Members: Lekha Bharam MTS, Westminster Kingsway College; Md Faruk Miah, Royal Society of Medicine; Jonathan Wall MTS, Elman Wall Limited; Caroline
Hook MTS, Bath Tourism Plus; Inmaculada Gonzalez Segura MTS, Travelodge; Mike Newman MTS, b2me Tourism Marketing Ltd; Sally Peacock, Edinburgh Napier University; Louise Stewart MTS, Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust; Simon Jones MTS, Digital Visitor; Ian McCaig MTS, Plan B; Sharon Earp MTS, The Dandelion Hideaway; Dr Julie Scott MTS, Touch TD Ltd; Peter Suddock MTS, Scheme Leaders Management Consultancy; Dr Beatriz Rodriguez Garcia
Events calendar 2016
July 1st – Tourism Society Wales Summer Lunch, Fonmon Castle
MTS, TACC; Lesley Judge MTS, Smart Tourism; Jonathan Karkut, Student Touch TD Ltd; Claire Riches MTS, Travel Waves Marketing Ltd; Cinzia De Marzo MTS, European Tourism Quality asbl; Tom Cassidy MTS, Liverpool Football Club; Larry Oguabia Oguabia, Royal Air Force Museum London; Andrew Dalip MTS, Dalmart (Sales & Services) Limited. n Full business and contact details can be found on the Society’s website.
October 4th – Media Masterclass, London
Date tbc – TCN session at World Travel Market
6th – Tourism Society AGM and drinks, London
Date tbc – Tourism Society Scotland Trends event November
Date tbc – Tourism Society Scotland Christmas Dinner
6th – Tourism Consultants Network AGM, London
9th – Seminar at World Travel Market
Date tbc – President’s Debate
Notice of Annual General Meeting 2016 Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of The Tourism Society will be held at the offices of The Crown Estate, 16 New Burlington Place, London, W1S 2HX on Wednesday 6th July 2016 at 3.30pm for the following purposes: 1. The Executive Director to read the notice convening the meeting. 2. To receive apologies for absence. 3. To receive and, if agreed, to adopt the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Thursday 9th July 2015, previously circulated. 4. To receive and consider the reports of the Board and of the Sections, Groups and Chapters for the year ending 31st December 2015. 5. To receive and consider the Accounts, Balance Sheet and report of the Auditors for the year ending 31st December 2015. 6. To appoint the auditors at a fee to be agreed by the Board. 7. To elect members of the Board. By Order of the Board 8. Any Other Business. Gregory Yeoman Executive Director June 1st 2016 To be followed be a networking drinks reception.
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The Back Page Chairman’s View with Hayley Beer-Gamage FTS MTMI
I start to write this article on the back of a great couple of days at this year’s Tourism Symposium in Birmingham where I certainly left inspired. You would have already read much about it in the Journal but the variety of both delegates and speakers was testament to how diverse the sector is. However, there is one thing in particular that stood out for me on the main day of the Symposium, and that was the venue and venue support. This year’s Symposium took place at University College of Birmingham – UCB. The venue’s facilities were outstanding and we had the use of the most up to date conference facilities and technology – things have come a long way since I went to University with my electronic typewriter in hand! Aside from the venue, however, we were fortunate enough to have help and support from a very professional set of students who were studying tourism at UCB. These students should be a key target market for our sector – we want the next generation to see tourism as a valuable career and should be encouraging them. On speaking to them they said that they had really enjoyed the event, learnt a lot and it was great to meet ‘tourism professionals’. We should be making every effort for the next generation to become the sector’s future leaders. Whilst I have sat at many a conference or boardroom table where individuals have spoken about the importance of engaging with students, saying it and doing it are two very different things. That is not to say it is not being done already, but could we do more? At the Tourism Society we pride ourselves in welcoming students to the Society and indeed we would like to see many more join us and attend our events. At the annual dinner this year we welcomed students from the University of Hertfordshire and we are also delighted to be sponsoring the Association of Tourism in Higher Education’s ‘Making the Case for Tourism’ awards this year.
Photo – www.imagesofgreatbritain.com
Leading by example for the next generation
Tourism Symposium 2016 at University College Birmingham But could we do more as an industry to In fact, one of the Government’s ‘points’ encourage the younger generation? in the 5-Point Plan for Tourism is Whether it is working in the industry itself around skills and jobs and driving and or studying tourism - are we ‘selling’ it as a retaining talent in the sector to good career choice? encourage growth. I am one of the rare individuals whose first In the Visitor Information Centre that degree was actually in tourism and who Experience Oxfordshire run in Oxford we stuck with the sector. are fortunate enough to have a wealth of The skills that were learnt are adaptable students, particularly international students, to the business world but it’s the vibrancy come and help us out and gain insight. of the sector that made me want to Whether it has been as part of their continue in it – I believe that is true across course or just for experience it is a the sector having worked in a range of placement they have enjoyed and we businesses including hotels, bars, sports have been able to offer permanent jobs to venues, tour operators, Local Authorities many of these afterwards. and now DMOs, and having had a variety In fact, at the Tourism Society we have a of roles, my first one being a chambermaid! track record of encouraging student help As a sector it is full of inspiring individuals and support and long may it continue – if and the people really do make this a there are any student members reading sector to want to be part of, and I have this who want to get more involved with personally always remembered those who us then please get in touch. inspired, encouraged and supported me So my closing thoughts are let’s engage on the way. more, inspire and genuinely encourage To a large extent we are still seen as a low that next generation – they are the leaders paid, low skilled ‘woolly’ sector. of tomorrow and I am sure we will all be However, this is the only sector that reporting in to them one day, so it makes during recession predicted and achieved sense to forge those good relationships growth. now!