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PhD Studentship Opportunity in Experiential tourism to extend the visitor season in the French-English channel: sustainable tourism product development and marketing

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, October 31, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project contributes to realise the potential of common natural and cultural assets to deliver innovative and sustainable growth in the French-English Channel (FCE) region. You will contribute to a €23.5m Interreg funded project to reduce seasonality in the Oct-March period by supporting the development of experiential, sustainable tourism offer that improves the economy, contributes to healthy communities and preserves the environment. Your particular role will be to provide support to public and private sector agents to sustainable product design and marketing, in English and French: you will conduct a training needs analysis, evaluate the current product offer, prepare training materials, support the delivery of training, and test and advice on the quality of products developed, including the use of our digital lab to test customer responses.

The FCE region currently uses a destination-based tourism approach based on conventional, mass-market locations during peak season. Modern travellers are losing interest this type of holiday. Experiential tourism is a growing travel trend based on regional uniqueness. Travellers seek off-the-beaten path, ‘live like a local’ authentic experiences throughout the year. Regions inside and outside the EU have shifted from destination-based approaches to successfully harness this new experiential trend to extend the season. The FCE region is not popular with experiential travellers despite abundant potential. Current offer does not target the off-season or meet modern expectations, limiting competitiveness in the global tourism market.

To break the cycle and successfully extend the season, EXPERIENCE will develop a new tourism strategy to tackle all the challenges at once. We will capitalise on successes with experiential tourism observed in other countries. We will apply this to the FCE region to attract off-season visitors. The new strategy is composed of 5 delivery plans designed to break existing tourism convention and bring global innovation in season extension to our region. We will:
- Unite and train traditional (tourism offices) and atypical actors (foresters/artisans) to recognise unique regional tourism selling points
- Create new off-season tourism offer, harnessing regional selling points to create exciting itineraries
- Adapt regional summer tourism infrastructure for off-season use
- Promote the FCE region for experiential tourism Oct-Mar
- Ensure offer is demand-driven for continued off-season visitors growth in FCE region

With a budget over €23m, we will test the strategy across 6 pilot regions (Brittany, Pas-de-Calais, Compiègne, Norfolk, Kent, Cornwall) each with diverse characteristics representative of other FCE regions and wider.

You will contribute to deliver the following work packages: WP1 - Build collaboration between pilot study region stakeholders and grow skills & confidence to meet experiential tourism demand// A1 - Co-development Collaboration workshops; Tourism Lab - relationship development and maintenance; Delivery plans for actor engagement and training// A2 - Develop networks Local/regional active engagement events with pilot study actors; Pilot study regional networks // A3 - Skills audit and training Skills audit and training needs analysis; Targeted, bespoke training materials and services /// WP2 - Activate natural and cultural assets for experiential tourism // A1 - Co-development Collaboration workshops; Tourism lab - experiential product development; Delivery plan to activate unique off-season regional tourism value// A2 - New tourism products services Off-season tourism options analysis; Develop new off-season tourism activities/// WP4 - Product Marketing and Distribution// A1 - Co-development Collaboration workshops; Tourism lab - developing a digital presence; Delivery plan for off-season experiential tourism marketing and distribution// A2 - Market testing Market testing with trade and distribution channels; Consumer testing; Testing new offer and services in a digital lab.

Your PhD supervisory team is made up of Dr Christine Lundberg, Dr Alkmini Gkritzali and Dr Alector Ribeiro. The University of Surrey Principal Investigator for this project is Prof Xavier Font.

This project will start in January 2020.

Entry requirement:
Undergraduate (first class) or taught postgraduate (distinction) in a relevant subject area. IELTS requirements: 7.0 or above with a minimum of 6.5 in each component (or equivalent).

How to apply:
Applications should be sent through our course page: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/hospitality-and-tourism-management-phd. Applicants will need to clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on their application. Interviews are expected to take place towards the end of November 2019.

Funding Notes

UK/EU university fees will be covered, and the scholars will receive a stipend of £14,500 per annum.

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