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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

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 €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.  

This project will start in January 2020. 

Entry requirements 

Undergraduate degree (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).  

Funding 

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 our 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, x.font@surrey.ac.uk 07738297057

   
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