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Research supports industries through a global crisis

Date 27.05.2021

The Events, Tourism, and Hospitality sectors are still weathering an extended period of inactivity or total closure, unlike any other, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Through their research and collaborations with industry, the University of Northampton’s Events, Tourism and Hospitality academics have been working to highlight the devastating immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on these sectors, and supporting industry to upskill, prepare and develop reliance, as they look to reopen bookings diaries and venues this summer.

For these fast-paced, and vibrant sectors, worth in the region £250billion to the UK economy, the pandemic has been a huge blow, but through the academic teams collaborations, research and industry connections, a bright reopening is on the horizon.

Working with the local and regional businesses, Claire Eason-Bassett, Senior Lecturer Events Management, and Ivna Reic, Head of Subject Events, Tourism & Hospitality, published their white paper, A Brave New World: The Impact of Covid-19 on the Events Sector and Higher Education, which called for support and funding to cultivate the creative and innovative responses to enable the industry to keep going.

Through the University Events Industry Forum, the team has been working closely with industry professionals to share best practice and ideas to support the industry as social distancing restrictions begin to ease and indoor activities are kickstarting. Claire Eason-Bassett has used her vast experience from her time working in the industry to support the sector to develop safety, attendee, and expectation management strategies.

Claire Eason-Bassett, Senior Lecturer Events Management said: “Although the sector has been dramatically impacted by the pandemic, the creativity and resilience of the professionals has been a light in the dark days of the pandemic. We’ve seen events suppliers diversify their business models, venues develop their offer to create virtual events and experiences, as well as developing new industry standards to ensure the safety and confidence of attraction visitors and travellers. The problem-solving skills and the passion of those working across these sectors must be celebrated and supported, as restrictions begin to lift.”

Supporting the skillset development within the hospitality sector, Ivna Reic, Head of Subject Events, Tourism & Hospitality and Claire Leer, Senior Lecturer in Events Management & Tourism, have kickstarted a research project, with the online mentoring platform, Otolo, focused on reimaging mentoring in the hospitality sector. The partnership with Otolo also supports students at the University of Northampton by offering them personal mentoring, events, and job opportunities, throughout the pandemic with leading industry professionals.

Looking at the experience of people attending live events, Claire Leer has been developing research exploring the way drag events have now transcended into a modern-day phenomenon. Claire’s research explores the diverse nature of attendees at UK drag events and demonstrates how these events create a sense of inclusivity and impact the wellbeing of those attending. Claire will present her research at the Leisure Studies Association Conference in July.

Focusing on the future of international travel, Dr Nick Naumov, Senior Lecturer in Hospitality and Tourism Management, has been presenting his research about the future of cultural and heritage tourism in the post-pandemic era through several international research conferences. Nick argues that cultural tourism has been in crisis long before the pandemic due to commercialisation and overconsumption stimulated by the growth of tourist activities and we need a new approach to promote, manage and develop cultural activities in tourism.