The Sport Tourism Opportunities for Research, Mobility and International Networking Group (STORMING) Initiative awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ERSC) to Dr. Richard Shipway offered seventeen travel and conference bursaries for UK-based early career researchers to each attend one of three international networking events. This grant scheme formed part of the ESRC’s ‘International Training and Networking Opportunities Programme’. The project utilised the bursaries to both increase international mobility and provide networking opportunities for emerging early career researchers with a commitment to supporting and further developing sport tourism research. Bursaries were awarded across eleven higher education institutions. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games also acted as a catalyst for this project, highlighting the impacts of sport events.
The main objective of the STORMING Initiative was to deliver a series of international sport tourism networking events across four continents. These events were aligned with existing conferences in the area of sport, tourism, events, and leisure studies. The first event, in Australia in February 2010, was aligned with the annual CAUTHE (Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education) conference in Hobart, Tasmania; the second event was aligned with the annual NASSM (North American Society for Sport Management) conference in June 2010 in Tampa, Florida, USA; whilst the third event was aligned with the 11th World Leisure Congress and World Games in ChunCheon, Korea in August 2010. A one-day concluding networking event was held at Bournemouth University in November 2010. This final event brought together all seventeen bursary recipients and several international research mentors and provided the opportunity to outline their research findings, and to engage in a wider debate on the future directions of sport tourism research.
In summary, the STORMING Initiative acted as a catalyst for larger research projects within the context of sport and society, the 2012 Games, and internationalisation. The vision for the project was to leave a tangible legacy in the form of seventeen UK based early career researchers with established research profiles in sport tourism and sport event studies, who are now well positioned to benefit from the increasing economic importance of the tourism industry and the enhanced profile of sport as an agent of positive social change in society.
There are new and exciting developments within the School of Tourism with ground breaking research identifying the fusion between recreation, leisure and wellbeing. The rationale for co-locating a tourism and public health strategy is based on the recognition that creating a community culture where a tourist destination is seen to enhance and promote physical and mental health for both locals and tourists is desirable. A community that supports health creation can be a re-branding opportunity within a destination management approach, dovetailing health and wellbeing alongside a marketing and economic positioning. The concept of wellness tourism is emerging and is an area where strategic priority is being given in many European destinations. It is estimated that the market is currently worth $106.0 globally1 with predictions of major growth in the coming 5-10 years2.
Figures show that there are about 289 million wellness consumers’1 and trends due to an aging world population, failing conventional medical systems and increased globalization will ensure continued growth. Policy documents from the WHO, Health 2020 and data from the British Leisure Trends and Slow Tourism Report, 2011, the World Travel Market Global Trends Report, 2010, VisitBritain Foresight, 2010 plus the launch of the international trade alliance, Wellness Tourism Worldwide (2011) dedicated to the development and promotion of wellness tourism, all adds corroborating evidence of currency.
With much debate on aspects of wellbeing, social tourism and inclusion prevalent at both national and local levels, most notably in Bournemouth with the town’s 2026 vision group, there is momentum building in this area3. Promoting public health is a complex task but one than can be aided by other professionals. The whole can be greater than the sum of the parts and where a lack of co-ordination can bring confusion and disharmony. People do not lead their lives in a vacuum; we are all products of our culture, media influences, and the services we consume. There is a complex interrelationship between the individual and wider society, sometimes for good, but often leading to poor health. Much interest was stimulated by our appearance in the Big Ideas for the Future Report4, where Bournemouth University’s research linking tourism and public health was featured. We intend to capitalise on this interest particularly as it represents pan-School collaboration with the School of Health and Social Care and therefore builds on current strengths and expertise. The research output will be of interest to those responsible for policy, strategy and operational practice within the tourism industry and will lead to a greater understanding of this discipline engaging with the wellbeing agenda. Consequently, the societal impact extends beyond a public health perspective to also impact the ability of destinations to leverage health creation in re-branding and marketing, a potential synergy that can contribute to both sustainable health and economic gain.
1SRI International (2010) Spas and the Global Wellness Market, http://csted.sri.com/projects/spas-and-global-wellness-market-synergies-and-opportunities (accessed 07 September 2011)
2 Wellness Tourism Worldwide (2011) Wellness for whom, where and what? Wellness Tourism 2020 http://www.wellnesstourismworldwide.com/uploads/7/2/1/6/7216110/wtw_4wr_phase2_web.pdf (accessed 07 September 2011)
3 Hartwell H., (2011) Can we bring tourism and public health strategy together?, Guardian Professional, Thursday 28 July
4 Research Councils UK (RCUK) and Universities UK (2011) http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/Publications/reports/Pages/BigIdeas.aspx
This research project conducted during 2011 is part of a portfolio of research conducted for the National Trust, the UK’s major conservation charity. The organisation is committed to the aims of widening the appeal of the properties and countryside under its management, as well as providing meaning and inspiration as part of this broad appeal. The measurement of enjoyment, linked to meaning and inspiration is therefore a critical measure in the success criteria of individual properties and the organisation as a whole.
The aim of the research was to identify the ‘drivers’ or causes of enjoyment ratings; various approaches have been used to analyse the causal relationships in the data generated from a survey of 189 pay for entry properties and 11 countryside properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The data used for analysis was collected in 2010 and a survey running in 2011 will be used to further test the current findings.
One approach to analysing the data has used structural equation modelling where causal relations between enjoyment and factor analysed (principal axis factored), independent variables are examined by comparing the results of a series of hypothetical models. Fifteen key drivers of the two main components of visitor enjoyment at National Trust properties, ‘Service & Relaxation’ and ‘Stimulation & Interest ‘ have been identified. A further 20 operational imperatives have been formulated which provide guidance for property managers to improve visitor enjoyment.
The research methodology draws upon previous research in the fields of psychology and applied statistics, specifically Batson, C.D., Shaw, L.L., Oleson, K.C., (1992) Emotion review of personality and social psychology, Bagozzi, R.P., & Yi, Y., (1988) On the evaluation of structural equation models, Szymanski, D.M. & Henard D.H. (2001) Customer satisfaction: A meta analysis of the empirical evidence and Ajzen, I., (1991) The theory of planned behaviour.
Professor John Fletcher from the School of Tourism highlights the role of the tourism industry in emergency planning.
Tourism throughout much of the 20th Century following World War II was characterised by strong growth and an ever-reaching spread of countries. However, since the mid-1990s and throughout this first part of the 21st century tourism has been beset by an ever-increasing number of obstacles ranging from health issues, such as SARS, Avian and Swine Flu, natural disasters such as the 2004 Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and human-induced crises such as the events of 9/11 in the USA, 7/7 in London and the Bali bombings, not to mention the myriad of events related to the Middle East and pressures created by the current global financial crisis.
It is against this backcloth that the world’s largest export industry is being re-moulded and, to some extent finding its strong growth pattern to be faltering, like many other industries. In an attempt to mitigate the damage that crises bring to the tourism industry it is vital that emergency planning agencies and the tourism industry are closely integrated in their approaches to planning for, responding to and recovering from disasters. This is perhaps more true for the tourism industry than any other, because the tourists, the consumers, have to travel out of their normal environment in order to enjoy the output of the industry. The Disaster Management wing of the International Centre for Tourism & Hospitality Research is currently helping the UN WTO develop a framework which will facilitate this integration. In addition to reviewing the literature on emergency planning and tourism crises, the team are currently engaging more than 120 Ministries, Airlines, Tourist Authorities, Tour Operators, Hotel Chains and academics in a Delphi Panel Exercise to establish which functions should be undertaken from a integrated platform. The results of the study will be presented to the UN WTO early next year.
The eTourism Lab, ICTHR , in the School of Tourism at Bournemouth University is supporting Just a Drop– a water charity to spread its word through Social Media and the Internet.
Professor Dimitrios Buhalis and Georgina Sekadakis a Masters student at Bournemouth University work closely with Fiona Jeffery Chairman of World Travel Market & Just a Drop and Ana Sustelo of Just a Drop to demonstrate how charities can use Social Media to benefit their great causes. Just a Drop is a registered water charity raising money to build wells, install boreholes and hand pumps as well as carry out sanitation and health education programmes in some of the poorest parts of the developing world. The mission they are trying to accomplish is to reduce child mortality. Currently a child dies every 20 seconds as a result of water-borne diseases and this must stop. Their main donors are from the Travel and Tourism industry however they are now trying to attract donors from all industries and individuals.
While there is agreement that charities nowadays have a greater need for marketing, there is little agreement on how they should be approaching marketing and especially when it comes to the adoption of Social Media; research has shown that they are lagging behind as they are waiting to see how others use this new technology. Today, charities of any size can take advantage of Social Media tools to showcase their organisation to the world without relying on huge budgets. Money is no longer the decision factor, creativity is.
Little research has actually been carried out on marketing from a non-profitable organisation’s point of view. Bournemouth University is experimenting with Internet and Social Media to try and classify a best practice for charities to help them engage and create awareness about the problem and how people can help make a change. Facebook and Twitter are primarily used to raise awareness and create story telling. As relationships are the foundation for Social Media sites they are key for charities in order to engage further with their stakeholders. So far our attempts have been successful and we have found that followers are engaging with us through Social Media and we are now looking into ways of raising money through the various platforms to help fund new projects around the world. Using social media strategically will be critical for organisations of the future and the expertise of the eTourism Lab will be widely used for all organisations engaging.
Although a major contributor to life at BU, the study of Tourism is often wrongly maligned as being a niche subject on the periphery of more established areas of study such as Business & Management and Geography. Well, in the UK alone over 100 institutions offer HE courses at undergraduate level including “top tier” universities such as Exeter, Surrey, Strathclyde and Stirling with many more competing for students and staff across Europe and beyond with major concentrations of activity in North America, the Middle East, South East Asia and Australia and New Zealand where tourism is not only a significant area of academic interest but also of valuable income, foreign exchange earnings and employment.
Returning to the UK one of the most significant “coming of age” moments has been the explicit inclusion of Tourism for the very first time in a Unit of Assessment in the forthcoming Research Excellence Framework. Unit 26, Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism is one of only a few new units in the REF, a fact which clearly reflects its growing maturity as an area of academic investigation and the widespread positive recognition with which it is now held across the sector. This recognition really took hold 2 to 3 years ago when the ESRC awarded colleagues at the University of Exeter £1.5 million to set up its research cluster in Sport, Leisure and Tourism, an award which would have been unthinkable only a few years before. Since then, staff from the School of Tourism at BU have been attracting funds from the ESRC, the European Union and the United Nations World Tourism Organization and others while the significant award recently won by colleagues from the School from the EPSRC on sustainable patterns of travel demonstrates the collaborative and inter-disciplinary opportunities offered by Tourism. This latter point was again highlighted recently with the inclusion in the RCUK publication Big Ideas for the Future of a project looking at the fusion between public health and tourism policies at the local level. This was BU’s only entry in this prestigious publication, testament if it were ever needed that the industry that is widely acclaimed as the world’s largest has now also come of age in the academic arena!
Tomorrow, Tuesday 27th September 2011, is World Tourism Day and to celebrate this week on the research blog is Tourism Week. Every day the research blog will be highlighting stories about the excellent work going on in Bournemouth University’s School of Tourism.
World Tourism Day was instigated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic values.
“The message on this World Tourism Day is that, thanks to tourism, millions of people from different cultures are being brought together around the world like never before,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “This interaction between people of different backgrounds and ways of life represents an enormous opportunity to advance tolerance, respect and mutual understanding”.
In 2010, 940 million tourists travelled to a different country, coming into direct contact with tangible – art, monuments – and intangible – music, food, traditions – culture. World Tourism Day 2011 is a celebration of this unique interaction and aims at furthering understanding of the values of cultural diversity.