Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Meeting of International Tourism Masters Network in Manchester

Fourteen delegates from eight European countries gathered at Manchester Metropolitan University last week for the Network’s first convention.
As well as the Network’s business, the participants heard the following presentations:
  • Professor Richard Sharpley of UCLan about Dark Tourism, its attractions and the ethical issues surrounding it.
  • Dr Dario tom-Dieck of MMU about the use of augmented reality, through devices for enhancing tourism experiences.
  • Prof Harold Goodwin of MMU about the challenges of creating responsible tourism.
  • Jane Randall of Head of Visitor Economy, Marketing Manchester who explained the growth and strategy for the future for tourism in Manchester.
  • Kieran Bussoopun, Senior Events Manager, Manchester Pride and Event Tourism, who described how the Gay Pride events had evolved since 1989 and how they are currently organised.

Tourist Attractions in Manchester

The participants were also taken to a number of Manchester’s tourist attractions including Manchester United Stadium, Castlefield Wharfe, The Town Hall, Canal Street, Rylands Library and the Hilton Sky Bar!

Thursday was for students and we were joined by five UCLan Masters’ students. The session was chaired by Jo Guiver of UCLan. Three MMU students explained the topics they hoped to research for their dissertations and advice was offered by the academics present. Next, three French students from Université de Savoie Mont Blanc impressed us with their presentations about their completed dissertations. They too generated a lot of discussion, particularly the one by Jérémy Vallot about how videos are used to choose and research tourist destinations, a new phenomenon for many of the academics. Two students from Sweden (Dalarna University) completed the session by talking about their dissertation plans.
Most of the Network’s business was completed on the Friday and an interim board was elected with Paul Constable (Savoie Mont Blanc) as President, Lorenzo Bagnoli (Milano Biccota) and Jo Guiver (UCLan) Vice Presidents responsible for Pedagogy and Research respectively, Albina Pashkevich (Dalarna) secretary and Susanne Hilland (Heilbronn) treasurer.

Each university reported on their Masters’ courses, recruitment and student exchanges with other universities. Florence Besson-Reynaud (Savoie Mont Blanc) said five university tourism Masters’ groups were joining the Tourism Business Game this year. The game is run by Anne Queffelec and paid for by Savoie Mont Blanc. It involves each group making business decisions about a tourism destination. Feedback is given for each of the six stages. Kate Torkington (Algarve) and Jo Guiver reported on the special edition of the academic journal DosAlgarves which they and Pete McGrath
(previously at UCLan) are editing about Slow Travel.

The next meeting is planned for November in Faro, Portugal.

On Saturday, the Italian and French delegations, including three French students, visited Lancaster, where Jo Guiver and Ruth Jenkins showed them a few of the tourist attractions: the Castle (with immense Dark Tourism potential), the Customs House, now the Maritime Museum, and Atkinson’s coffee shop, where the owner explained how some of the canisters, they still use date back to Georgian times. We escaped the persistent rain to sample Lancaster beers and English food in The Sun Hotel before a visit to the market. The French delegation then took the train directly to Manchester Airport and the Italians savoured another night in Manchester before heading back to Milan.

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