Tourism and Leisure Studies Emerging Scholars Award

In early 2018, scrolling through an international tourism research and education network, I stumbled upon the final call for applications for an Emerging Scholar Award to attend the Third International Conference on Tourism & Leisure Studies. The awards are given to outstanding graduate students and emerging scholars who have a research interest in the conference themes.

The application process required me to concisely establish how my research linked to the key themes of the conference. The special focus for the 2018 conference is “building bridges to sustainability: tourism, culture, gastronomy and sport”, which fits and compliments the areas which I’m actively researching. Moreover, I was expected to demonstrate how I may contribute to the scope of the conference, and how I could effectively engage with emerging and established academics to develop interdisciplinary theory, practice and learning.

My background and experience in coordinating various events, presenting at recent conferences and symposium, and other professional work (e.g. teaching) suitably indicated the breadth of my key generic and technical skills. The closing date was looming so I tentatively submitted an awards application – not expecting to get a look in if I’m perfectly honest! I ruled myself out of the running and moved forward with my studies. Lo and behold a month or so later I was delighted to be notified by the organisers that I was going to be a recipient of one of the Emerging Scholar Awards.
Seeking out this route for attending international events is certainly not only beneficial for subsidising conference fees (I received a fee waiver!), coupled with enabling access to hard-to-reach locations, and enhancing wider engagement with the major players in your field or industry. Increasingly opportunities to attend through these means are scarce. As part of the programme, I will be chairing a number of themed panel sessions and presenting during the course of the conference.

This highly supportive environment is useful for professional and career development, building collaborations, and at the very least exploring a new place alongside interesting folk! In light of this award recognition, I envisage the platform as being instrumental in raising my profile and offering welcomed exposure to many of the leading lights and associated parties in the fields of tourism, events and leisure studies. So, next time you spot a similar opportunity, why not have a go and see where it takes you. What’s the worst that can happen?


World Book Day: Environment and sustainability books

To celebrate World Book Day I have collated a directory of environmental and sustainability must reads! You can find the link to download the full listing at the bottom of this entry.

The directory rounds-up books from a range of genres and subjects, including climate change, environment, sustainability, activism, politics, economy and business. Seminal works are featured on this list, particularly from leading figures associated with the converging worlds of environmental justice, sustainability and climate activism, such as prominent advocates like Jonathon Porritt, Naomi Klein and Bill Mckibben.

You will be able to view the open access links to various author websites and/or publishers. This collection will be updated on a regular basis, perhaps quarterly based on new releases and feedback received. So feel free to suggest any additions!

Download and access the directory here.

Urban entrepreneurism and business competitiveness: the state of play for Rio de Janeiro post-Games

Last Tuesday, I presented at the 2nd International Workshop on Regeneration, Enterprise, Sport and Tourism (REST) at Liverpool John Moores University, UK.

If you’re interested in reading my conference abstract (on academia or ResearchGate) or would like to view my presentation (on SlideShare), you can find it in the links below:




Rio EnCantos Tours Brazil

This afternoon I visited the offices of Rio EnCantos and felt inspired to write a short piece featuring their approach to developing community driven and ecological sensitive tours across Rio de Janeiro. Rio EnCantos is a grassroots tour and exchange agency led by Kelly Tavares and her experienced and knowledgeable team of guides. The travel agency offers an extensive number of cultural and historical tour options and educational exchange programmes, which help visitors to discover the treasures and raise awareness of socio-cultural issues and development in Rio de Janeiro.

Cultural tours are bespoke and highlight the quality of the “Cariocas” lifestyle and the richness of the city’s wonders and attractions. Excursions include experiencing the delights of Rio’s historic street art, introducing a flavour of Cariacas through off the beaten track city, sightseeing and wildlife tours, lunch and tasting sessions, strolls through Rio’s Little Africa, hikes, adventure and outdoor activities, trips to art exhibitions, heritage sites and museums, coffee experiences, in addition to immersing groups into the culture and music of Brazil, like the beats of the samba schools. Ultimately, this brings to life the authenticity of the setting such as Rio de Janeiro’s charming ideals, traditions and architecture, and facilitates a greater understanding and recognition of the local culture and unique urban and rural communities.

Rio EnCantos work with a range of other organisations to extend the reach of the global community who are going to enormous lengths to provide environmentally friendly services which have a positive community impact. For example, community-based adventure travel experts, Keteka. Their approach respects codes of ethics and acknowledges the importance of preserving natural capital, and the integral relationship with many societal and community challenges. Furthermore, they are listed on the Ethical Travel Guide – a worldwide directory of ethical tour operators and places to visit.

Collaboration with local and international partners and linking non-profit organisations with international students is firmly embedded into the core of their operations. They develop partnerships with local tour guides, universities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and support local social enterprises to create favourable social, economic and environmental conditions. This not only expands the network of stakeholders who could benefit from the activities of the organisation, but also promotes and empowers individual guides, builds trust with their customer base and enhances the tourist offer. They have received glowing praise and recommendations from travellers and trekkers alike. You can find out more on their website, view the trailer below or check out the reviews of theirs tours here.

#RioZones research project

Not long to go now! I’m just finishing up final preparations before I head out to Rio de Janeiro on Saturday for two weeks to conduct field research for my PhD.

This study examines how small and medium-sized businesses based in Porto Maravilha have been impacted by the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. You can find out more about my research and how it fits into phase 2 of the #RioZones project here, and of course subscribe to daily updates on the menu section of the #RioZones blog!

You will find below the #RioZones Twitter hashtag timeline for a selection of thoughtful observations, and a short video introduction of me discussing my research. Apologies for the rather dishevelled look and hairdo, I did in fact brush my hair before you ask…

Fostering small business socio-economic sustainability and legacies in the context of mega-events: A ‘Stakeholder Theory’ approach

On Thursday, I presented at the Mega Events: Fact or Fairy Tales Conference, Coventry University.

If you’re interested in reading my conference abstract (on academia or ResearchGate) or would like to view my presentation (on SlideShare), you can find it in the links below:




Transforming a region’s food and drink brand profile using a city-based festival

In December, I will be presenting at the International Place Branding Association (IPBA) 2nd Annual Conference. If you’re interested in reading my conference abstract (on academia or ResearchGate), you can find it in the links below: