#SBSStudents: Tourism students visit Greenwich

Tourism students were given first-hand experience of how a major international destination operates when a group of second and third years visited Greenwich. The destination contains the tenth most popular tourist attractions in the UK and forms part of one of the UK’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

University of Suffolk Tourism students and staff aboard Cutty Shark. (C) Prof. David Gill.

The students were able to evaluate the visitor attractions of the Cutty Sark that carried cargoes of tea and wool to Britain; the Royal Naval Hospital with its ornate chapel; the National Maritime Museum; and the Royal Observatory and the meridian line. As well as enjoying the multicultural experience of the Greenwich Market, where they were able to savour the international cuisine, the students were impressed with the ease of the transport links to Greenwich: the Docklands Light Railway from Stratford and passing through Canary Wharf; and then returning down the river Thames on the Clipper where they stopped at The Tower of London.

Barrie Kelly, CEO of Visit Greenwich, gave a short presentation to the students to explain how different organisations can work together to make a destination success. Greenwich attracts some 18.5 million visitors a year, and this contributes approximately £1.2 billion to the local economy. The students heard about the ambitious plans to create a new cruise ship terminal in Greenwich to allow more international visitors to access the area.

James Kennell, Principal Lecturer at the University of Greenwich, talked to the students about the centrality of tourism in any plans to develop economic impact. He reviewed his research on the sustainability and effectiveness of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs).

University of Suffolk Tourism students and staff. (C) Prof. David Gill.

One student was delighted to find that the Cutty Sark had visited his home island of São Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea. The interactive exhibits on the ship included ports that had been served by the Cutty Sark, and contained images of his home town from the late 19th century. Student Guter Narciso said “I was so excited to find that my home had this long-standing connection with the UK.”

Laura Locke, course leader for events and tourism at the University of Suffolk said “Activities such as this visit to London offer such marvellous opportunities for students to experience the reality of the contexts they are studying, to meet key experts and contributors to the tourism economy and to apply the theory to the practice.”

Professor David Gill, Director of Heritage Futures, said “The grandeur of Greenwich helps students to immerse themselves in a major international heritage attraction and to meet those involved with the destination’s presentation and interpretation.”

Professor David Collins, Head of the Suffolk Business School, added “Experiencing a major destination such as Greenwich situates and embeds more conventional forms of learning and in so doing allows students to appreciate the essential complexity of what we too often reduce to tourism. This experience combined with other opportunities to apply knowledge and to develop real-life reflection is what makes our graduates career-ready’.”

The students studying on the Event and Tourism programme are currently working with All About Ipswich to develop the Celebrate Ipswich conference on Friday 12 May at Trinity Park Conference Centre. More information can be found by visiting the Eventbrite page.


SBS Analysis: The Possible Impact of Brexit on Greek Tourism

Greece is bracing itself for the impact of Brexit on tourism numbers in 2017. In 2015 some 2.4 million British citizens visited Greece, up from 1.7 million in 2011. Just over 900,000 British citizens visited Greece in the first six months of 2016, up by over 13 per cent over the same period of 2015, and representing 12.5 per cent of all visitors to Greece.

Visitors from Germany form the largest group with 2.8 million visitors in 2015, up from 2.2 million in 2011. Yet in the first six months of 2016, Germany just fell behind the UK with 888,000 visitors, a modest increase of 0.8 per cent over the same period of 2015, but still representing 11.9 per cent of all visitors to Greece.

© David Gill

Most British tourists stay in Greece for at least six nights, and Germans for seven. In contrast visitors from France and Italy only tend to stay for four nights on average. The most recent value per ‘tourist night’ in Greece is $316; British tourists tend to spend more than this ‘average’.

This suggests that UK tourists were worth at least some $757 million (700 million Euros) to the Greek economy in 2015, and some estimates have suggested that it was worth as much as 2 billion Euros. The projection for 2016 is just under $800 million.

However, the fall in the value of the pound against the Euro will make holidays in Europe in 2017 considerably more expensive for British tourists. A fall of 10 per cent of British visitors will hit the Greek tourist industry with a loss of around $70 million. In such a market, hotels and holiday lets in Greece may be forced to accept lower prices or risk having empty properties with no income.

Athens, photograph © David Gill


A holiday in the UK may not be a cheap alternative. The fall in the pound is likely to make Britain an increasingly ‘cheap’ destination, and UK accommodation will be at a premium. And the destabilisation of the wider European economy due to Brexit may discourage some European visitors from taking their holidays in Greece.

Professor David Gill is Director of the Heritage Futures research unit in the Suffolk Business School.

Professor Gills presentation on “Heritage and austerity: UNESCO World Heritage sites, tourism and Greece” is available on academia.edu

Suffolk Inside Out Conference

A great press release for our upcoming conference:

A desire to showcase all that Suffolk has to offer and a rise in the ‘staycation’ market trend has inspired students at University Campus Suffolk (UCS) to create a new concept in business networking events during ‘English Tourism Week’.


‘Suffolk Inside Out’ is the brainchild of five enterprising students studying a degree in Event, Business and Tourism Management. The team intends to build upon the success of the ‘Suffolk Unlocked’ conference that took place in March 2015 with the support of VisitSuffolk and a range of partners.

One of a series of annual events ‘Suffolk Inside Out’ is planned to take place on Friday 11 March 2016 at Trinity Park Conference Centre, Ipswich. The vision of the project is to celebrate the wealth of business opportunities in the county of Suffolk, with a focus on the county’s thriving tourism industry and how trends such as ‘staycations’ have contributed to local success stories.

According to the World Travel Market Industry report 2015, the UK was named in the top three holiday destinations for 2015 and remains in the top three for consumers considering holidays in 2016. Barclays Business stated that the: “…thriving staycation economy is boosting small businesses around the country”, and estimated £22.5billion is spent on UK staycations every year. The research suggests that three quarters of UK adults (77%) have been on, or are planning a UK staycation. VisitEngland reported that British consumers took 18.3million holiday trips in England from January to June 2015 – up by 2% year-on-year – and expenditure increased by 6% to £4.4billion.


Laura Locke, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader of the programme at University Campus Suffolk says “The growing tourism economy within Suffolk along with the growth in ‘staycation’ holidays nationally, provide a wealth of small to medium enterprises in the county leading to many business opportunities. These businesses include accommodation providers, event venues, leisure and hospitality businesses, cultural arts and heritage organisations alongside many agricultural businesses that have diversified to provide visitor attractions and food tourism. The challenge to support and sustain these industries, in a difficult economic environment, provides the focus for the ‘Suffolk Inside Out’ event on Friday 11 March.”

Suffolk Inside Out team

The academic team of the BA (Hons) Event and Tourism Management programme have worked to develop the annual business-to-business event project since 2006, and are delighted that Trinity Park Events and White Space Design alongside Affinity PR and Ipswich Town and Waterfront have once again offered their valuable support for this year’s project.

Laura adds “Live projects such as this and others that are developed in partnership with Suffolk businesses mean that our students gain very valuable experience to support their high quality employability skills. Collaborative learning experiences contribute to the success of the course which achieved 100% satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2014/15.”

Kesha Allen, a student on the Event and Business Management degree and project team member of ‘Suffolk Inside Out’ says “Being a part of the student team providing a platform for Suffolk’s tourism business’s to network is a real privilege. ‘Suffolk Inside Out’ will bring tourism business’s together to showcase sustainable growth opportunities within the sector and how trends such as ‘staycations’ influence continuity and impact the tourism market. We hope it’ll be a must-attend event this spring!”

For more information on ‘Suffolk Inside Out’, and for opportunities to become involved in the event on Friday 11 March 2016, please contact: suffolkinsideout@ucs.ac.uk