Bournemouth University

School of Tourism

ESRC hosts research seminar

Date: 26 November 2010

The Olympics and sports tourism were put under the spotlight this week when BU hosted a one-day Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Research Seminar.

Academics from universities across the country gathered in BU's Executive Business Centre on 23 November to discuss their research themed on sport tourism and sport events.

Staff from BU's Centre for Event and Sport Research (CESR) hosted the event, which was aimed primarily at early career researchers with an interest in sport tourism and sport events who have been awarded bursaries under an existing ESRC project to undertake related research.

Guest speakers included Dr Nancy Stevenson, a tourism lecturer from the University of Westminster, who discussed her research into the cultural impacts and potential legacies of the London 2012 Games.

Dr Stevenson's research is based around the enactment of the Cultural Olympiad in the London Borough of Hackney – a series of events to showcase the UK's arts and culture. As part of her research Dr Stevenson considered several cultural projects and events in terms of their origins, their community connnections and potential legacy implications.

She said: "The Cultural Olympiad felt like it had the potential to address concerns that the cultural legacies of the Games won't accrue to the community of Hackney. But it has proved diffucult for organisers to engage with people in the community, and therefore people don't see how the new facilities for the Games that are being built on their doorsteps have any connection to their culture."

Dr Naomi Kirkup from Northumbria University also discussed her ongoing research, which is based on the studies she conducted during the Beijing Olympics of 2008 related to sport tourism experiences.

"Destination doesn't really play a key part in attracting sports tourists, but it provides a chance for countries hosting an international sporting event to take advantage of the opportunities offered by high tourism flows. And this is about understanding why tourists are visiting their country. The Olympics and other sporting events help to create a sense of identity for supporters, and marketing strategies must adapt to capitalise on this to offer attractions that appeal to sports and events tourists."

Contributors also included Professor Leo Jago from Nottingham University Business School who is co-editor of the International Journal of Event and Festival Management (IJEFM), and Professor Mike Weed from Canterbury Christchurch University, who is editor of the Journal of Sport and Tourism.

Senior sports lecturer Dr Richard Shipway, from CESR, said: "The aim of this final ESRC sport tourism and international sport events research seminar was to clarify and consolidate future research directions in this area of study, and to ensure that the early career researchers who attended are well positioned for subsequent research and enterprise funding opportunities linked to sport, tourism and events respectively.

"Given the success of this ESRC project, BU’s School of Tourism is now well placed to play a pivotal role in both supporting and developing emerging research perspectives in this area."

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