Last week I wrote a relatively damning piece praising
the initiatives to help stem the spread of COVID-19 that had been taken by the
central Greek government, and castigating the lack of leadership evident at a
local level across the three Municipalities responsible for the Ionian island
of Corfu. There have been a number of developments since then that have
highlighted not only how local leadership is vital at times of crisis to gather
support from the local population for any crisis response measures, but also
that grassroots initiatives must be developed in a coordinated manner.
20th March 2002
My last blog post on “The
need for local place leadership in times of crisis”
appeared on the IPM website and a range of social media on Corfu. This received
comments from local Corfiots such as: “The local council’s
response has been pitiful. There still seems to be a sense that this will all
blow over pretty soon (if only)”.
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.
Dr Heather Skinner is a fellow of the Institute of Place Management and was recently appointed Chair of the IPM Special Interest Group on Responsible Tourism. She is now based in Corfu having moved there in 2013 following a 15 year academic career at the University of South Wales (formerly the University of Glamorgan) where she was Reader in Marketing. She travels as a guest lecturer at a number of Higher Education Institutions, facilitates online learning and continues to supervise and examine doctoral theses.
Since 2011, Heather has been researching issues concerning the future of tourism in Corfu, in particular, how Corfu, along with many other mature European destinations, can address the problem of declining numbers of middle-market independent tourists from its key source markets. This work has been undertaken alongside her main research into other place management and marketing issues, with a current focus on responsible tourism.
Day 4, the final day of our 3rd Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places saw a very eclectic mix of research, but all on the topics of Place, Image and Identity. Dr Julia Fallon presented research into how to gather and use the stories of the many users of Britain’ canal networks; Dr Heather Skinner, Chair of the Symposium, presented the findings of her research into business tourists’ perceptions of conference destinations; Professor Eli Avraham informed delegates of the ways special events can be used to alter destination images. After lunch, Dr Amos S. Ron talked to delegates about the way travel itineraries, a rather underexplored source of travel writing, can provide insights into the way destinations are perceived by various organising groups; Dr Guenther Botschen, who had spent the previous afternoon in Arillas, presented delegates with the theoretical underpinnings of a really practical brand-driven identity exercise that can aid both the design and the development of places. Our final paper was presented by Professor Cathy Parker, on the topics of fridge magnets, a rather ubiquitous souvenir, and what a semiotic analysis of these can tell us about the way place images are chosen, promoted and consumed. Continue reading “Place, Image and Identity – from UK canals to fridge magnets”→
A very thought-provoking session took place on Day 3 of the 3rd Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places. This session focused on the way we present heritage sites to visitors. The first paper, Presented by Professor Audrey Gilmore focused on management of sites that managers prefer to describe as ‘sensitive’ rather than as sites of Dark Tourism. Our 2nd paper by Dr Timothy Jung focused on the way Heritage sites can integrate both Augmented and Virtual Reality pre and post visit to engage with and enhance the visitor experience. Continue reading “How to meet the challenges facing heritage sites”→
The 3rd Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places heard presentations from 36 authors, with delegates representing 28 institutions from 15 countries across Europe, the USA, the Middle East and the Far East.
Find out what our keynote speakers from the 3rd Corfu Symposium on Managing and Marketing Places think.
On day 1 of the Symposium, Nikolaos-Foivos Kaloudis presented some of the work undertaken by the Tourism Scientific Society of Corfu into how we can develop alternative forms of tourism in Corfu and Paxoi