Expert to tackle Chilean tourism project
Dr Xavier Font, co-director of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality, has been contracted to develop a feasibility study on matching the supply and demand for sustainable tourism in Chile.
"It is a great honour to have been given the opportunity to tackle this ambitious programme," said Dr Font. "The project aims to develop sustainability tools and upgrade industry practices both in the operational and communication and marketing sides of responsible tourism.
"It will also develop a sustainability label or differentiation system that incorporates the needs of distribution channels and consumers, unlike other labels that are supply driven and fail to engage consumers."
The programme's first phase saw public and private sector representatives come together to discuss the ability of a sustainability certification scheme to help improve the competitiveness of Chilean tourism firms.
Dr Font's research at Leeds Metropolitan focuses on the marketing of sustainable tourism, including standard setting and certification, and supply chain management. He said the challenge with the Chilean project would be to ensure that a single scheme makes sense to the leisure industry as a form of communicating experiential aspects of sustainability, while being useful to business travellers and the public sector as the single largest buyer of events, hospitality and tourism services in Chile.
"There is a small but very active group of companies in Chile that are world class, and yet haven't received the international attention they deserve," commented Dr Font.
"At the same time there is a large majority of firms that do not consciously practice sustainable forms of tourism lacking both knowledge on what to do, the awareness of what they are already doing, and the confidence to understand and practice marketing and communicating their sustainability achievements."