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?


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.

Social justice and social sustainability of mega-event host communities

Earlier on this week I presented at the Tourism Hospitality & Events: Border Crossings & Inter-Connections Research Symposium, University of Sunderland.

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:




Tourism and Events 2017 Conferences

A number of months have seemingly passed since my last entry, so apologies for the lack of updates. After some very inspiring and immensely rewarding sessions at the 2nd @TouRNet_WRDTC PhD Symposium (more info here, highly recommended for those undertaking a PhD in the tourism/events/hospitality fields!), I thought I would provide you with a brief snapshot of my work in progress. This will focus on my conference abstract acceptances for the 2017 summer season. I will be speaking at the following conferences:

Social justice and social sustainability of mega-event host communities. Tourism Hospitality & Events: Border Crossings & Inter-Connections Research Symposium. 24 May 2017, University of Sunderland, UK.

Social justice of mega-event and tourism host communities with Michael B. Duignan. Critical Tourism Studies Conference VII. 25-29 June 2017, Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Follow their Facebook page for further details.

Social justice of mega-event and tourism host communities with Michael B. Duignan. International Conference on Tourism, Ethics and Global Citizenship: Connecting the Dots. 3-6 July 2017, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. Search the Twitter hashtag #ctd2017 for key conference announcements and further details.

Advancing sport mega-event research – five critical themes. Association for Events Management Education (AEME) 14th Annual Conference. 5-7 July 2017, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK. Search the Twitter hashtag #AEME2017 for key conference announcements and further details.

Each of the conference abstracts will be posted on my academic and research profiles, namely academia and ResearchGate later on in the summer. Additionally, the conference presentations will be added to my SlideShare account.

PhD in Olympic Tourism and Event Impacts

I’m delighted to be starting a PhD in Olympic Tourism and Event Impacts shortly at Anglia Ruskin University.

I will be updating this blog with updates, insights from my research and the odd reflection throughout my PhD. You can also follow my Twitter page here.

Philanthropy is about giving ‘a hand up, rather than a handout’

David Krantz from the Centre for Responsible Travel (CREST) speaks with Seth Kirby about its Travellers’ Philanthropy programme – where tourism businesses and travellers are going to extraordinary lengths.

How would you define philanthropy?

When we refer to philanthropy, we’re really talking about giving back through time, talent or treasure. Time and talent refer to volunteering, which could be manual labour such as maintaining a nature trail in the case of time, or a voluntarily applying a developed skill in talent. Treasure could be cash donations to a charitable organisation or donated goods (used or new) to a charitable cause. With these forms of give-back, the idea is to improve the world around us.

What is Travellers’ Philanthropy and what does it mean for the global travel industry?

Travellers’ Philanthropy is tourism businesses and travellers making concrete contributions of time, talent and treasure to local projects beyond what is generated through the normal tourism business. This form of strategic giving has tremendous potential for the global travel industry. All over the world, travellers and travel companies are giving financial and material resources as well as volunteering time and expertise to further the wellbeing of local communities and conservation in travel destinations.

Travellers’ Philanthropy is not about collecting loose change for charities; rather, it is about integrating tourism company and visitor support for local communities into the core definition of responsible travel. Travelers’ philanthropy helps support and maintain the unique communities/environments travelers want to visit, which ensures their ability to remain and prosper into the future.

Where does CREST’s interest in philanthropy come from?

Our interest in philanthropy stems from our desire to use travel as a mechanism for stewardship of the Earth and its people, which is at the core of responsible travel. We’ve found that donations and volunteerism here and there at a travel destination do not create a reliable and sustainable form of support, as well-intentioned as they are. But there is a huge desire on the part of tourists to give back, so we’re trying to harness that good will and use it to drive change. In order for travel giving, in all forms, to have lasting impact, it must be strategic.

What challenges are you seeing in philanthropy?

We’re seeing increasing evidence that consumers want to give back. We also know from research for our recent publication, The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics, 50% of global consumers are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies that have implemented programs to give back to society, according to a 2013 Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility poll of more than 29,000 online consumers in 58 countries. This represents a 5% increase over a similar poll in 2011.

How can philanthropy add value to ecotourism or sustainable tourism?

Travellers’ Philanthropy is a value added for tourism businesses and their guests. When tourism businesses donate a portion of their profits, for example, they earn good will in the community.  Then when the business needs something in the future from those who live nearby, they are more likely to get a positive response. Community members are also more likely to warmly receive visiting guests from a company that gives back.

From the traveller perspective, it feels good to know that your holiday is about more than just taking for yourself. You’ve come a long way to enjoy a particular place on the planet, and making sure your holiday destination stays wonderful enriches your experience on this trip and the next.

When westerners go abroad, we’re likely to see things we may not be used to seeing at home, such as poverty, illiteracy, pollution, and environmental destruction.  This can elicit feelings of guilt, which one typically isn’t looking for on their next vacation. So having a structured way to ‘do something’ about what we see, makes us feel less like voyeurs and more like part of the solution.

How can tourists and tourism businesses get involved in Travellers’ Philanthropy?

Where and how to get started isn’t necessarily obvious. A good first step would be to contact us at the Centre for Responsible Travel, as we can advise tourism businesses (lodging providers, tour operators, restaurants, etc) on which steps to take first and how to move from there. Soon, we can add the business to our database of companies that are giving back and provide an online giving platform to collect and make secure donations that make a difference.

One first step we often recommend is to take a company policy decision to begin giving back. Start a small task force of staff members or assign one person who will be responsible for any Travellers’ Philanthropy initiatives, then give them the space and support from the top to begin working on it.  The annual or quarterly budget review can be a good time to start, as senior leadership might elect to dedicate a certain percentage of profits to a charitable organisation, or to match donations made by employees.

What are your predictions for the future of philanthropy?

CREST has seen strong growth in Travellers’ Philanthropy since we started looking at the issue over 10 years ago, and we see no reason why the growth shouldn’t continue or accelerate further. It has become both more widespread and more professional over the years, and we expect this to continue.

David Krantz is CREST’s programme director and facilitates a variety of the centre’s projects.

Photo: Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center – Costa Rica – Holbrook Travel

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