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PhD Studentship Opportunity in Experiential Tourism to Extend the Visitor Season in the French-English Channel: Social and Environmental Evaluation

University of Surrey

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Guildford
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,500 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 27th August 2019
Closes: 31st October 2019

Studentship 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 large 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 the quality of life of healthy communities and preserves the environment. Your particular role will be to conduct quantitative forecasting and evaluation of the social and environmental impacts of the project. This €23.5m project will provide data from over 200 new sustainable tourism interventions over 6 regions, giving unprecedented access to appraise how different variables relating to the context and implementation of the interventions affect the outcomes. 

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 

Please note that you will be required to engage with the project partners in, and travel regularly to, the six regions of the project: Brittany, Pas-de-Calais, Compiègne, Norfolk, Kent, Cornwall. All travel and data collection expenses are covered by the project. Fluent French is desirable. 

This is a 3 year project commencing in January 2020.  

Entry requirements 

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).  


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

How to apply 

Applications should be sent through the course page. 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. 

Application enquiries 

Prof Xavier Font, 07738297057

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