Best of Britain and Ireland
Business School students were invited by Visit Britain to speak at the Best of Britain and Ireland at the Excel Arena in London last week. This travel trade forum acts as a major showcase for the British Isles during British Tourism Week.
This year the emphasis was firmly on sustainability and looking towards the future, with the Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism, Barbara Follett, launching the latest sustainable tourism framework for England at the event.
As one of a select group of three leading universities, students from the Business School's postgraduate tourism programme were asked to contribute their ideas on how to equip tourism professionals to keep things green. Sustainability is highly visible at the moment but the challenge is how to maintain momentum.
Anne-Kathrin Zschiegner, a second-year PhD student in the Business School, presented her insights on the leadership of sustainable tourism from her on-going research in Torbay supervised by Prof Tim Coles and Prof Gareth Shaw. Under the title ‘Actions speak louder than words’, she told an audience of industry professionals, policy makers and fellow students that easy gains had been made.
Anne-Kathrin argued that future progress is not so much about mainstreaming sustainability among businesses, rather using a series of targeted messages to persuade the sceptics to consider change and the converted to keep the faith. Universities are going to be key contributors to the process by offering hard data to support the business case.
As she said, ‘many tourism business owners take a transactional view. This means, they only practice sustainability if the business benefits are clear. What people don’t realise is that this case has to be continually made, not once and that’s it. If it’s not, progress can stall or worse still, some businesses may revert back to less sustainable practices if they think this is better for their businesses’.
Date: 30 March 2009