Post-Pandemic Tourism: Recovery or Reform?

Oia, Santorini, Greece. By User: Bgabel at q373 shared, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22682391

by Dr Heather Skinner

Almost overnight the travel and tourism industry has gone from focusing on the problems of overtourism to undertourism, and in many cases, the real prospect of no tourism at all in 2020 due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. However, as the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recently warns that international tourism could fall by as much as 80% in 2020[1] and as many countries have started to ease their strict lockdown measures, it is time to think about what we want for the future of post-pandemic tourism when we come out the other side of this crisis. By number, well over 90% of all tourism businesses are categorised as Small and Medium sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs), and many of these are micro-businesses employing few if any others outside of immediate family. The demise of tour operator Thomas Cook in 2019 hit many of these businesses hard. Now in 2020, tourism business have been hit by the response to COVID-19, an unprecedented global crises that has brought about travel bans, border closures, event cancellations, closure of tourist accommodation, and the grounding of flights all over the world.

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Naked Yoga on the Beach

Labyrinth on Arillas Beach, Corfu. Image: Green Corfu

by Dr Heather Skinner and Pepé Soomers

In a special issue of the International Journal of Tourism Anthropology focusing on “Niche Tourism and Residents’ Well-Being in Island Destinations” Dr Heather Skinner, IPM Senior Fellow and Chair of the IPM’s Visiting Places Special Interest Group, and Pepé Soomers, an independent researcher and member of the spiritual community in the small village of Arillas situated in the North West of the Greek island of Corfu, have written an article based on their research into the way spiritual tourism has had a transformational effect on the place and its residents.

Skinner, H. and Soomers, P. (2019) ‘Spiritual tourism on the island of Corfu: Positive impacts of niche tourism versus the challenges of contested space’ International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 7(10), pp. 21-39. DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2019.098099

Corfu is a relatively small island, only 64km in length and 32km at its widest point, with a permanent resident population of around 120,000, 40% of which live in the main town. The island, situated between the East of the boot of Italy, and West of the border between Greece and Albania, has attracted tourists since the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, since the boom time of the 1980s and early 1990s there has been a decline in numbers of tourists visiting the island. Those that do visit, especially those taking All-Inclusive packages, are spending less time and money in local tourism-related businesses such as restaurants, tavernas, bars and shops. The tourist season that used to see resorts all across the island full of holidaymakers from April to October is now basically reduced to the high season of July and August in many places.

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Understanding Responsible Tourism

Overtourism
Amsterdam: One of the cities in Europe trying to push back against overtourism

by Dr Heather Skinner

While the term “responsible tourism” is widely used these days, are we really sure we understand what the term means, and who is actually “responsible”? This article will address both of these questions, along with some related issues concerning tourism ethics and the concept of sustainability. While it has been recognised that, for tourism businesses, responsibility is seen to encompass ethics and sustainability, there remains little written about these issues[1]. It is also important to note that many tourism businesses are Small and Medium Sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) whose business focus is not always on such matters, especially in a highly competitive and crowded market, in times of continuing financial crisis or constraint.

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Places – not Destinations

Screenshot from an article in a mainstream UK newspaper

by Prof Ares Kalandides

Forest fires devastate large areas on the Mediterranean every year, some of them – such as the 2018 fire in Mati, Greece which cost 100 people their lives – with numerous casualties. These are places, built over decades or centuries, where people live the year round, with or without visitors. It is with growing horror that I read – year after year – media outlets referring to these places as “holiday islands” (or “Ferieninsel” in German). Admittedly, for many Brits and Germans, this is what most of these islands are, and the local population is just a folklore backdrop for their holiday spending. But, even if we see it just from the journalist’s viewpoint: what exactly would the article (s. screenshot above) miss in terms of information if its title were “Wildfires hit Greek island” omitting the attribute “holiday”? Continue reading “Places – not Destinations”

CONFERENCE REPORT – ICOT2018, KAVALA, GREECE 27-30 JUNE

By No machine-readable author provided. Marsyas assumed (based on copyright claims). – No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47021

by Dr. Heather Skinner

The 8th International Conference on Tourism (ICOT), jointly organised by IATOUR, the Technological Educational Institute of East Macedonia and Thrace, the Municipality of Kavala, and Middlesex University in the UK, and sponsored by Δημωφέλεια (Dimofeleia) was held in the beautiful city of Kavala on the Greek mainland 27th – 30th June 2018.

The theme for ICOT2018 was Emerging Tourism Destinations: Working Towards Balanced Tourism Development. This resulted in a really varied and interesting conference programme with almost 60 papers presented in a number of tracks including: Serviceology of Hospitality & Tourism; Cultural & Heritage Tourism; Place Image & Various Stakeholder Perceptions; Special Interest Tourism; Current Issues in Tourism; Expenditure and Consumption in Tourism; Tourism Demand; Sustainability; Tourism Development & Planning; Hospitality & Marketing; New Business Models & Digital Disruption in the Tourism Industry; along with many tourism case studies. Continue reading “CONFERENCE REPORT – ICOT2018, KAVALA, GREECE 27-30 JUNE”

Can you make authentic places?

We often experience places as authentic when they correspond to the image we have of them in our minds. ©Photo by Aimilia Ioannidis.

by Ares Kalandides*

Destination marketing is obsessed with place authenticity and for good reasons. Tourists, it is said, want to experience the ‘real thing’. What is that real thing? What are authentic places? We know that some places feel more ‘real’ than others, but what does that feeling mean? Is place authenticity the same as the ‘sense of place’?

Imagine the following situation: You are walking in the mountains, maybe wandering through a beautiful forest with no one around. You enjoy the sounds of the forest animals, the smell of the damp earth. The light through the trees makes you dreamy. You enjoy the solitude, that feeling that you are into some kind of discovery of nature and of yourself.

“There are things that give us the feeling that places are authentic, but when examined closely they are somehow flawed.”

Behind the trees you discover a small well-designed kiosk. As you approach a very friendly person greets you: “Would you like some information about the other sights in the area?” Suddenly you are not in the discovery of nature any longer. That very friendly greeting makes you feel that you had been duped. What you thought was an untouched forest was in fact part of the packaged local sights. Continue reading “Can you make authentic places?”

Should destinations focus on yield rather than arrivals?

Should destinations focus on yield rather than arrivals?
By Prof Harold Goodwin*
From a consumer or traveller perspective there are many answers, but it is not difficult for a traveller or holidaymaker to say why they are travelling. It could relate to business, leisure, adventure, pilgrimage, to visit family and friends, to play golf or to watch their team.

“Increasing numbers of destinations are addressing whether we’re going to use tourism, or if it’s going to use us.”

It’s much more difficult from a destination perspective. The industry often simply wants more, accommodation providers in particular. They look to city and national governments to attract more tourists, more overnight visitors. The industry looks to government, the public purse, for its marketing and to attract and stage events which bring them their clients.

This raises the question, why?

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Meet the IPM: Interview with Maarja Kaaristo

© Mike Poloway/+44(0)1618503338 / mike@poloway.com. Canal and River Trust. Rochdale Canal, Manchester City Centre, around Lock 89. 17 April 2016. Volunteer, Maarja Kaaristo.
© Mike Poloway/+44(0)1618503338 / mike@poloway.com. Canal and River Trust. Rochdale Canal, Manchester City Centre, around Lock 89. 17 April 2016. Volunteer, Maarja Kaaristo.

Maarja Kaaristo is a PhD Researcher and an Associate Lecturer at the School of Tourism, Events and Hospitality Management, Manchester Metropolitan University. She is currently researching embodied experiences and everyday life of the leisure boaters on the canals of north-west England. She holds a MA in ethnology from University of Tartu, Estonia and has taught Anthropology of Tourism and Ethnographic Research Methods there. Her main research interests include mobilities, materialites and sensory experiences in (rural) tourism, ethnographic methods and history of European Ethnology. Her most recent publication deals with mundane aspects of water tourism mobilities. When not boating or writing about boating, she is volunteering for Inland Waterways Association and Canal and River Trust. Continue reading “Meet the IPM: Interview with Maarja Kaaristo”

The Institute of Place Management goes to Russia

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Prof Cathy Parker reports on the Institute of Place Management (Manchester Metropolitan University) visit to the National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow and St Petersburg).

One of the main aims of the Institute of Place Management is to develop an international community of academics, practitioners and policy makers that are interested in making, maintaining and marketing better places.

In the spirit of international collaboration, Fellow of the Institute of Place Management, Professor Kirill Rozhkov invited Professors Dominic Medway and Cathy Parker, Directors of the Institute of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, to visit his institution, the Higher School of Economics, at both the St Petersburg and Moscow campuses. The main aim of the visit was to consider examples of place management practices from inside and outside Russia and examine the potential for mutual learning on both sides. The considerable political and economic changes cities and towns within the Russian Federation have experienced make it a rich source of insight into the principles and practices of place management and development.

In Moscow, Kirill had organised a Masterclass on Place Management Practices in Russia, with Russian experts presenting their experiences. This was a real insight into how cities, towns and districts are managed, developed and marketed, and was well attended by over 60 delegates. Continue reading “The Institute of Place Management goes to Russia”

Meet the IPM: Interview with Chris Stone

Chris StoneDr Chris Stone is an experienced UK academic and qualified university educator, regularly consulted by the European Commission, EU governments, and private and not-for-profit organizations, and with an international record of teaching, research and publication, and quality assurance in higher education. Holding the position of Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management in the School of Tourism, Events and Hospitality Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, his professional practice espouses multi- and interdisciplinary perspectives, with expertise spanning the natural and social sciences and with both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. Chris has been consulted on the allocation of public investments for tourism, environment and development & education projects. Formerly holding the position of Managing Consultant in a UK-based company, he remains an active researcher, presenting at international conferences, publishing in books and academic journals (single- and co-authored), is regularly asked to review manuscripts for major international academic journals and book publishers, and supervises and examines postgraduate research students. Chris has a career record as External Examiner in higher education (UK, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean), has won and managed UK government-funded ‘Knowledge Transfer Partnership’ projects, supported UK exports when invited to speak on trade delegations, and has most recently applied his knowledge and expertise to progressing innovative sustainability initiatives in HE institutions.

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