Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Social media training for School of Tourism Academics

I am participating in a training session aimed to helping academics make better use of social media as I write this post. The workshop has just started by exploring why social media are important and why action is needed.

16.30 - John Fotis, a PhD student, explained that social media are here to stay and all kinds of people (not only young) are using them. He continued by identifying the various types of social media> social networking sites (e.g. facebook, linked in), blogs (travelblog, travelpod), microblogs (e.g. twitter), Wikis (e.g. wikipedia, wikitravel), content comunity sites (e.g. picasa, flickr, slideshare), consumer review sites (e.g. tripadvisor), internet forums (e.g. lonely planet) and location-based social media (e.g. foursquare). John has also highlighted some key numbers: 1 in 3 upload content on the internet (UK), flickr contains 5bn photos. Academics are among the most active in social media: 1.5m academics, 45m abstracts, 10+ million pdf/free texts.

16.50 - Just finished my brief contribution to this workshop. I emphasised the 'war of visibility' that academics and institutions face given the number of users & content being generated. Social media is a good way to establish a presence in the web, and more specifically among specific social groups. It allows you to come earlier in search engines, and maintain 'non-invasive' communication with my 'publics'. I explained that I use blogs, academic, facebook and linked in because that's what suits me.

17.10 - One colleague asked whether using social media has a good return on investment... Dimitrios Buhalis answered that using social media need not to take too much time. I added that many times I simply post a link to a paper (2 minutes), or write a report for the university on the conference I attended, which I 'recycle' and post on my blog.

Dimitrios emphasised the six tips for social media success:

1. start with the right strategy

2. know your objectives

3. deliver relevant content

4. develop meaningful relationships

5. integrate into your marketing mix

6. measure what matters

17.30 - As the purpose was to instill action, the workshop is continuing by covering each of the steps academics should undertake:

1) establish profile: blog, academic, facebook, youtube, linkedin, twitter

2) create content: publications, courses, conferences, research interests, achievements, projects, community contributions.

3) publicise through different channels: create networks of academics (you advertise each others work), use media selectively (e.g. twitter is about 'now', blogs are picked up by search engines and are a good planform for ensuring its content is accessible for a long time)

4) engage in conversations.

The practical side of the workshop involved exploring how social media works. For this purpose, Dimitrios just posted about an IFITT event in a number of pages on facebook. In a few minutes, it was tweeted, facebook friends read about it and liked it. Some shared it with their friends. Social media played its role again.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Award of a Santander Research Grant

In January I received the good news that I was awarded a Santander Research Grant. The £5000 grant will support my research project on "The internationalisation of the Brazilian tourism, hospitality and events (THE) research: Barriers and opportunities to publishing in international (English language) journals". As part of the project, I will travel to Brazil to collect data in April and in July. In the April trip, the plan is to visit the following universities:
2 & 3 April - Univ. Federal de Juiz de Fora (Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais)
9 & 10 April - Univ. Federal Fluminente (Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro)
11 & 12 April - Univ. Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (Natal, Rio Grande do Norte)
16, 17 & 18 April - Univ. de São Paulo & Univ. Anhembi Morumbi (São Paulo)
19 & 20 April - UNIVALI - Univ. do Vale do Itajai (Balneario Camboriu, Santa Catarina)
In addition to interviewing tourism researchers, I will also be delivering guest lectures at some of these universities. As you can see, a pretty busy schedule!
Below you can find more information about the research project: rationale, aim + objectives and methods.

"The internationalisation of the Brazilian tourism, hospitality and events research: Barriers and opportunities to publishing in international (English language) journals"

The economic growth of the past 15 years in Brazil has had a profound impact on the country’s tourism industry, further establishing tourism as an important economic activity. While Brazil attracted only just over five million international tourists in 2010, (Ministério do Turismo do Brazil 2011), the country has a substantial tourism industry which is driven by a buoyant domestic market. The Tourism Ministry estimates that in 2009 there were 175 million domestic trips (Ministério do Turismo do Brazil 2010). Economic growth and the strengths of the Brazilian Real are also having a substantial positive effect on the Brazilian outbound market, with 6.2 million outbound trips being recorded in 2010 (VisitBritain 2012).

As the tourist industry matures, so does the need to develop a more in-depth understanding of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the tourism phenomenon. The substantial growth of the tourism sector created the need for more trained professionals. Initially, this growth was supported by an increase in tourism education provision by private universities. However, with the ascension of a labour President in 2002, which resulted in more sustained funding for public universities, the past decade as witnessed an unprecedented growth in tourism education provision by public universities, whether at state of federal level. The net result is greater focus on tourism research within the Brazilian academia, reflected both in the growing number of active researchers and the number of articles they produce. Much of this production is directed to the growing number of Brazilian tourism journals. A small, but growing part of this research production has been published in foreign journals, whether Portuguese or Spanish language journals (mainly South American, but also Spanish). Very few have been published in English language journals. The end result is that Brazilian research and researchers are little known by the International community, notably non-Portuguese/Spanish speaking researchers (Leal, 2011). In his study, Leal concluded that international tourism researchers view research produced by Brazilian tourism academics as of low quality, both in terms of theoretical underpinning/development and of methodological rigour.

The author of this research has visited many Brazilian universities since 2008, some of them regularly, and has had informal conversations with dozens tourism academics about researching and publishing. From these conversations it is clear that many Brazilian tourism academics are enthusiastic about their research and publications and many aspire to broaden their careers to an international level. This enthusiasm is also evident in the growing number of initiatives aiming at supporting the internationalisation of the Brazilian tourism research. ANPTUR, the Brazilian Association of Tourism Post-Graduate Studies and Research, has been discussing internationalisation for a number of years, with the topic regularly featuring in the programme of their annual conference. The author of this research participated in the 2010 conference, where a group of academics from Spain, Portugal, Finland and the UK shared their experiences of internationalisation. More recently, ABRATUR, the International Academy for the Development of Tourism Research in Brazil, was launched with the specific purpose of advancing the internationalisation of tourism research in Brazil. The association, on which the author of this research serves a member of the management committee, is made up of both Brazilian researchers with, or aiming to develop an international career, and foreign researchers with an interest in tourism research in Brazil.

Internationalisation has recently became a ‘hot’ topic within the Brazilian tourism academia and consequently the Brazilian tourism, hospitality and events research has yet to gain any significant presence among the English language tourism research. To Leal (2011) “in order to gain some visibility in the international tourism research arena, Brazilian tourism researchers should strengthen their theoretical and methodological skills, undertake innovative research and, more importantly, make their voice heard within the dominant language [English]. Thus, researchers should produce higher quality research and papers in English”. The study of Leal (2011), and recent discussions within the ABRATUR community provide some clues as to the problems underlying, and solutions for, the lack of internationalisation of the Brazilian tourism, hospitality and events research. However, the unique research and educational context in which Brazilian tourism researchers operate suggests that a more in-depth analysis is required. Therefore the aim of this research is to examine the barriers and opportunities to, and solutions for the internationalisation of Brazilian tourism, hospitality and events (THE) research. This will be achieved through the following objectives:
1) To examine the barriers and opportunities to publishing in international (English language) tourism, hospitality and events journals
2) To investigate possible solutions to the barriers identified
3) Design a research skills training plan that could contribute to promote the internationalisation of the Brazilian tourism, hospitality and events research

Given the current state of Brazilian tourism, hospitality and events research (mainly national publications, or internationally in Portuguese or Spanish language publications), it can be argued that, in the eyes of Brazilian tourism researchers, publishing in international (English language) journals is an innovative behaviour. Thus, adoption of innovations model (Rogers, 1995) will be used as the theoretical underpinning for the research. The research will also draw on previous studies in the field of academic research and publication, organisational studies and human resources.

The research follows a qualitative/quantitative approach. Initially, face-to-face interviews with Brazilian tourism academics are used to explore the dimensions of the topic. The interviews will take place during April 2012 with researchers from various Brazilian universities. Besides the geographical spread, a mixture of academics from public and private universities and of universities with approved and under proposal tourism masters programmes will be interviewed. It is expected that a total of 20 interviews will be made.

The results of the interviews stage, together with a review of previous studies in the area, will be used as the basis for designing a questionnaire to be distributed (online) among tourism researchers affiliated to Brazilian universities. The questionnaire will focus on the main barriers, opportunities and solutions and will be promoted through email (e.g. ANPTUR and ABRATUR mailing lists; snowball sampling). Depending on the number of questionnaires collected, the data will be analysed through univariate, bivariate and multivariate statistics.

Thursday, 1 March 2012


A few weeks ago I have posted about (Ray) Holden publishing and their conference organisation practice. Well, they are at it again (see message below). Now the conference is not about future cities but "Progressive cities". The rest of the promotional message is pretty much the same. Interestingly, there are two 'glitches' in this call. First, they forgot to update the main text to match with the heading, which still features 'future cities'; Second, they look forward to see you in May (but the conferences are in June!).
After posting the message I received a couple of emails from people who have been affected by this organisation: one from a person who also paid for the non-existent conference and did not manage to recover the moneys paid, and one from what it looked like was a supplier who had been affected by the organisation.
When I posted in January, the website was not available. They now have a brand new one. Have a look at it yourself!
Progressive Cities
Conference 18 and 19 June 2012 Oxford
Failing Cities Conference 20 and 21 June 2012 Oxford

In June 2012 we will be holding two important conferences concerning urban planning, urban geography and neighbourhood renewal entitled Future Cities and Failing Cities. Both will take place at Oxford. Both events are 2 day events and the cost to attend each event is GB 250 plus VAT per person for delegates and speakers. To have a display space at the event the cost is GB 600 plus VAT for both events in total. All papers presented at both events will be available after the event in a Conference booklet for all delegates and speakers. Student researchers receive a discount of 50%. All attendees at the event will receive conference papers and refreshments during the event.

To register for the event, as a delegate, speaker to submit a paper, for delegate inserts or a display space please email here. Details of the event can be found here

Themes for the conferences include:

Progressive Cities
The Connected City
The City and the Region
The City of Neighbourhoods
The City of Enterprise
The Healthy City
The Sporting City
The Sustainable City
Urban Theory
The Cultural City
The Global City

Failing Cities

The Right to the City
Unsustainable Cities
Urban Theory and the Production of Space
Shrinking Cities
New economies for smaller cities
How to plan for smaller cities

With kind regards and we look forward to seeing you in May 2012.

Holden Publishing and Research
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