About TEAM Tourism Consulting

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far TEAM Tourism Consulting has created 7 blog entries.
10 06, 2020

Őrség National Park (Hungary)


Őrség National Park, Hungary

Orseg National Park, Hungary

Around the world, National Parks that enclose inhabited areas are seeking the best balance between environmental protection and the interests of local communities. The Őrség National Park in Hungary is an example. The Park covers a landscape of hills, forests and lakes, including 44 settlements, mostly villages or hamlets whose inhabitants have a strong interest in attracting forms of tourism that can support traditional farming practices.

The Park has adopted a Cultural Ecosystem Services (CES) framework that provides guidelines that can be applied by the Park’s managers as well as by private operators. The overall aim is to decrease tensions between those in charge of ecological conservation and those promoting socio-economic development.

A lot of importance is given to education and to local cultural values. The National Park Authority (NPA) focuses on community development; work with schools and associations; on cultural heritage protection and place identity/place attachment. This extends naturally into the promotion of local produce and of activities of interest to visitors. Sustainable tourism activities and initiatives can be led either by local tourism entrepreneurs or by local cultural groups and associations. They include the running of events; the provision of tourism services; the tracing of tourist routes to give value to the natural and cultural heritage of the region; study programmes and educational activities; and the promotion of local products and produce.

The (CES) framework provides a set of rules and guidelines that all parties can adhere to, and a reference in case of conflict.

Visit the Őrség National Park’s website.


Written by David Ward-Perkins.


Őrség National Park (Hungary)2020-06-10T16:33:53+01:00
12 03, 2018

Key challenges for UNESCO sites


Key challenges for UNESCO sites

Lake Ohrid

There is a growing interest and urgency to address the centuries old separation between culture and nature – a split that proves problematic when attempting to provide holistic responses to the management of sites, landscapes or destinations. The reality of this rupture is demonstrated by the fact that, as of 2017, there are 1,073 UNESCO World heritage properties, but just 35 that are described as ‘mixed’ sites.

How many of those remaining 1,038 sites are really effectively understood or managed by making the black and white selection that chooses between an Either and an Or, but not BOTH facets? The reasons behind this reluctance to cross the nature-culture bridge are many and complex. From the ease of working with familiarity, to the challenges of business interests clashing with conservation issues, to the difficulties in finding a working relationship between numerous ministries or jurisdictions with little or no history of collaboration. The long negotiations encountered in locations such as the Australian WHS at Kakadu or Uluru-Kata Tjuta have certainly influenced governmental decisions elsewhere to avoid the hard path of synthesising factors such as the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities with business or development priorities, and attempting to find a middle ground.

Nonetheless, a belated realisation that far greater collaboration and interdisciplinary exchange eventually reaps broader benefits is now being acknowledged directly by the UNESCO advisory bodies, ICOMOS and IUCN. Across a number of events and platforms, the nature-culture journey or culture-nature journey (depending on which discipline or agency you approach from!) has launched declarations (PDF), training courses and extensive workshops (PDF).

To break this cycle I believe the route forwards is through persistence, practice and exchanges out in the ‘field’, and to bring together specialists from the disciplines concerned, to walk, talk and seek a closer understanding of each other’s perspectives and methods.

One pertinent case study is the UNESCO coordinated project that is seeking to expand across the FYROM-Albania border, the designation and management of the spectacular Lake Ohrid mixed natural-cultural World Heritage Site. Out in the ancient tectonic landscape of Europe’s oldest lake, Ohrid colleagues from across border and across disciplines, worked around tables, but equally walked up hills to seek views, panoramas and perspectives in all senses of the word.

In the case of Lake Ohrid, easy solutions were not arrived at. Comfort zones and ways of thinking and working still have to break through difficult barriers. But we did take, and encourage others to also take, those steps on a profitable and stimulating culture-nature journey.


For the past 20 years, Jonathan Karkut has worked on developing, managing and delivering research, training and capacity building for projects and consultancy in the areas of tourism, cultural heritage and development. His specialisms include intangible cultural heritage, geopark development and development in conflict and post-conflict regions. Read Jonathan’s bio.


Key challenges for UNESCO sites2020-06-07T16:13:24+01:00
12 02, 2018

Unlikely tourism in unstable regions


Unlikely tourism in unstable regions

Camels in Djibouti

Recent development in the Republic of Djibouti highlight surprising tourism trends, in a region that many would classify as the most dangerous in the world. The north of the country faces Yemen, a bare 150km across the Red Sea at the Bab al-Mandab straight. As recently as 2008, there was active fighting between Djibouti and its northern neighbour, Eritrea where, in 2012, a group of tourists was kidnapped. And to the south lies Somalia.

In these unlikely circumstances, the tourism authorities and tourism professionals remain upbeat. Djibouti’s largest inbound tour operator – a small operation, with a dozen vehicles – operates to capacity during the winter months, sometimes unable to meet the demand. The desert and coastal ‘campements’ – rough huts without electricity or running water – report an increasing flow of foreign tourists, of European, Asian and other origins. They can be seen at the major tourist sites, in small groups with their local guides, getting out of 4x4s and dressed for the desert. Others are on trekking expeditions, across the salt flats of Lake Assal or over the rugged landscapes of the Great Rift Valley, which starts its land journey west from Djbouti.

“What is the explanation?” I ask Houmed Ali, head of the Safar agency. His answer is that the small but important niche market of desert travellers, those who used to cross the Sahara in their 4x4s, are on the look-out for more secure but still adventurous destinations, now that Libya, Mali, Chad and most of the Sahara are out of bounds. At the moment, he is receiving requests for information from Italy on a weekly basis, mostly from individual travellers and independent groups.

So is Djibouti really secure? That seems to be the feeling among travellers. Max, a trekking specialist based in the GCC, has so far accompanied four groups of Dubai residents on one-week walking tours, going close to both the Eritrean and Somali borders. “Djibouti is the training ground for French and US military based in the Red Sea”, he says, “so this is one of the safest places in the world”. It highlights the sophistication of such niche travellers: well-informed and smart users of social media; more influenced by their globe-trotting friends and by specialist guides than by what they see and hear on television.

Another niche market is that of divers. A good number are abandoning the Egyptian Red Sea resorts, not so much because of security issues, but because of over-commercialisation and lack of environmental respect. Djibouti plans to fill that gap, and the number of diving facilities is growing, with an equally expanding worldwide clientele.

Another factor is the growth of transnational tourism within the region. Ethiopian tour operators are keen to open up the Djibouti market for their clients, with an eye to the launch of passenger rail services from Addis Ababa in around 2020. For both Ethiopian and foreign residents, Djibouti is their best access to the sea. They are confident and sophisticated, primarily using social media to build their clientele.

They are also dismissive of security concerns. One Ethiopian operator specialises in ‘four-country tours’ out of Addis, through Somaliland (northern Somalia), Djibouti and Eritrea. For him, the 2012 kidnapping is an anomaly. “Bad things can happen anywhere”, he says. “I am a professional and I know what I’m doing. I offer adventure, but don’t take risks. My clients understand that.”

12 February 2018


David Ward-Perkins has experience both of large-scale regeneration projects and of the development of smaller destinations. He has a solid business background, in particular in marketing and management, having delivered projects throughout Europe, North America and the Middle East. Read David’s bio.


Unlikely tourism in unstable regions2018-02-12T09:05:19+00:00
5 02, 2018

An Amadeus guide to innovation


An Amadeus guide to innovation

Crowded train station

Katherine Grass is Head of Innovation and Ventures at Amadeus, the travel distribution giant. She has recently published a paper on innovation, identifying six key trends which Amadeus sees as having a lasting impact on the travel industry. You can access her article online.

At number one, Katherine Grass puts a technology trend, blockchain; and at number six, a number of technology innovations, including self-driving cars, space travel and virtual reality. These are not surprising to see on the list, as the DNA of Amadeus is essentially technological. Item five is operations and performance, from baggage handling to airplane maintenance, where the benefits for both airlines and consumers are evident.

Items two to four are, however, less evident – and they speak to tourism professionals that are more interested in the social changes that drive innovation. In these three cases, Amadeus is looking for solutions, to respond to consumer trends and behaviour. They are:

  • improved conversion – meaning how airlines and travel sellers can better personalise their offers, i.e. better target individual consumers
  • extended content, meaning richer offers for consumers. Anyone who has recently booked an airline can see this in action: the pages of offers of insurance, car hire and so on which, it would appear, do not put the consumer off – although we are now beginning to see ‘quick booking’ features on some airline sites, where the consumer can jump directly to payment
  • messaging platforms – where Katherine Grass cites chatbox technology

In each of these three areas, we can see that Amadeus is making a fundamental assumption, that is shared by most technology companies – that consumers want more content, in an ever-more personalised way. This may, indeed, be a safe assumption: complex tasks like travel booking are surely made much easier if all the information that matches one’s needs is made available in a way that is easy to use.

Tourism professionals, however, may have some nagging doubts when it comes to leisure travel. Our experience tells us that people do surprising things and take unexpected decisions. Opinions and fashions change quickly; the unlikely can succeed, and the new and different can charm and influence. Not everything can be tracked and pinned down. It may be that big data and artificial intelligence will get the better of all that, and become able to track down and forecast all human foibles. That day, however, may still be some way off.

6 February 2018


The Innovation in Tourism articles are provided by TEAM’s associates and friends, a network of tourism consultants operating worldwide. See some of the faces on our meet the team page.

TEAM provides expert consultancy and tourism services to destinations around the world. Visit our project highlights page to see examples of our recent work.


An Amadeus guide to innovation2018-02-12T09:03:53+00:00
5 02, 2018

Cathedral city conferencing


Cathedral city conferencing

Hereford Cathedral

Cathedral cities have been at the heartbeat of human affairs since the dawn of recorded history.

They form a select and distinguished group and, whilst there are only about 20 such cities in the UK, the strength of their names alone makes them instantly recognisable and gives them a unique position in the meetings and conference marketplace.

Conference organisers will know, instinctively, that cities like Canterbury, Chester, Durham, Exeter, Gloucester, Lincoln, Oxford, Salisbury, Worcester and York will be surrounded by beautiful English countryside, will be dominated by their Norman or medieval cathedral and will have a historic core full of hotels, restaurants, shops, theatres, museums and lively markets.

England’s Cathedral cities are usually home to between 100,000 and 150,000 fairly prosperous, well-educated and welcoming residents and, as they are the administrative centres of rural counties, they will also house an array of sporting, cultural, commercial, governmental and financial institutions.

They will also have good accessibility and transportation because our national rail and road systems were first designed to connect these ancient centres of population and serve their commercial needs and, in medieval times, ancient roads and trackways, often following mystical ley lines, brought pilgrims, travellers and Roman legions to their gates.

Meeting planners and delegates alike will be also familiar with these places through the works of Chaucer, Dickens, Hardy and Shakespeare and from contemporary film and TV.

You simply can’t buy this kind of brand understanding and status.

Interweaving space and time

Something special happens when people meet in historic buildings.

The acoustics might be lousy, the floor uneven and the heating inefficient, but places like Oxford’s 13th century colleges, York’s 15th century Mansion House and Salisbury’s 18th century Guildhall (complete with ghost) have a special atmosphere that somehow reminds us of the transient nature of things – and of our own lives – and this sense of human perspective can be very helpful when trying to resolve disputes and complex issues.

This is really what makes historic cathedral cities special. These buildings act upon us in all four dimensions, providing reference points in both space and time.

Meanwhile, their success and their longevity has resulted in many of our historic cathedral cities being threatened by overdevelopment, overcrowding and, especially, inadequate traffic management systems, many of which are still based on narrow medieval street patterns.

In response to these pressures an organisation called the Historic Cathedral Cities Alliance (HCCA) was formed last year (2016) with the aim of protecting and enhancing historic cathedral cities and helping resolve the economic, cultural and social pressures that threaten them.

The conflict between economic growth and sustainable development becomes ever more challenging, but the popularity of cathedral cities as MICE destinations can only be regarded as a good thing, continuing their time-honoured tradition of civic hospitality and as centres of commerce.

7 February 2018


Based in the cathedral city of Gloucester, Philip Cooke is an international tourism and destination marketing specialist, providing strategic and operational support to a range of public and private sector travel and tourism organisations and businesses across the UK and overseas. Read Philip’s bio.


Cathedral city conferencing2018-02-12T08:58:10+00:00
21 01, 2018

Exploring innovative tourism


Exploring innovative tourism

The term ‘innovation’ is often associated with the use of the digital technologies that have brought about fundamental changes in the way that tourism destinations and businesses undertake their work and will continue to drive change through ‘big data’ analysis, robotics, augmented reality, AI (in multiple forms) and many other smart applications. But there are many other types of innovation in tourism. Here are a few examples, to which readers may wish to add.

The planning and creation of new visitor experiences – an outstanding example is the activity of local communities and entrepreneurs along the Wild Atlantic Way, on the west coast of Ireland, where Fáilte Ireland (Ireland’s tourism development agency) has been working actively ‘on the ground’ to stimulate and support creative ideas and provide guidance around key storytelling themes. This builds on pioneering work undertaken in Canada and Australia over the past decade.

Innovations in design and style – the Moxy hotel brand of Marriot is a leading example of a hotel brand designed for a specific market segment, providing an environment (décor, music, furniture, common room for working and social activity, breakfast on the move, etc), clearly aimed at millennials. Moxy is making the ambience much less corporate, much more individual, offering types of experiences that vary between hotels in different locations.

Innovations in business models – Airbnb is a prime example, of course. The technology is not particularly innovative, but the business platform has been revolutionary – making it easy for anyone to put their available rooms or apartments on the market, review their potential guests and receive payment. Over the past five years, it has drawn hundreds of thousands of new accommodation providers into the market, driving change in tourism behaviour and causing serious concern about its impact on traditional suppliers and on community cohesion. Now Airbnb has extended its scope to experiences, giving providers an innovative, easily accessible route to the market of independent travellers.

Innovations in peer group collaboration – one of the earliest and best examples was the Edinburgh Tourism Innovation Group (TIG), launched by Scottish Enterprise about 20 years ago, bringing together a small group of leading tourism entrepreneurs in Edinburgh to exchange ideas, critique each other’s businesses, go to other leading destinations together to learn about best practice elsewhere, partner with each other in business development, etc. The underlying idea was that the innovative business developments generated in this way would inspire other businesses in the city to follow their example. The concept worked so well that the Edinburgh TIG evolved to become the Scottish TIG and was taken over by the industry body, the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA). The Scottish TIG continued for many years until the concept of innovation was imbued throughout the industry in Scotland and became integral to the raison d’être of the STA.

Innovations in transportation technology that have made air travel available to a hugely increased audience and provided easy access to a much wider range of destinations around the world. There are huge changes ahead in land-based transportation, with the expansion of high-speed rail networks and potentially even faster hyperloop transit; and the advent of driverless cars, which could have a major impact on travel by visitors within destinations.

This post is far from comprehensive. Its aim is essentially to stimulate contributions across a broad spectrum of innovation in travel and tourism.

Please post your contributions of ideas, concepts and case examples, using our TEAM Tourism Consulting LinkedIn page. If you are not already a member of our Innovation in Tourism LinkedIn group, that is used by more than 200 senior tourism professionals, you can request to join.

22 January 2018


Dr Roger Carter, BSc, PhD, FTS, MTMI. Roger is TEAM’s Managing Director and an experienced tourism strategist, destination planner, marketer and operational manager who has played a leadership role in the development of the tourism industry in both the UK and internationally. Read Roger’s bio.


Exploring innovative tourism2020-06-30T13:01:54+01:00
15 01, 2018

Handbook on Transnational Tourism Themes and Routes


Handbook on Transnational Tourism Themes and Routes

In December 2017, the European Travel Commission (ETC) and United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) jointly published their Handbook of Transnational Tourism Themes and Routes, available via both the ETC and UNWTO websites.

The Handbook provides practical guidelines for tourism managers.

The principal author was David Ward-Perkins of TEAM Tourism Consulting, supported by Issa Torres, Jennifer Houiellebecq and Jackie Ellis.

The following is a shortened extract from the introductory chapter:

“Themes are the basis on which tourism professionals construct and market tourism products. They correspond to the motivation of travellers. They can relate to history, food, well-being or any other domain of human interest. This Handbook focuses, therefore, on aspirational tourism, where the goal is discovery, stimulation of the mind and senses, or challenge, motivated by achievement, for example through physical or sporting activities.

“When a theme extends over a wide geographical area, as is the case when more than one country is involved, a common way to emphasise the link between the assets and attractions is to create a ‘route’. This may be an itinerary, to be followed by car, on foot, or by any other means. In other cases, it is a network of attractions and sites. For example, the creators of a wine route might propose a guided itinerary; or they might just map and promote the vineyards, allowing the traveller to choose to visit one or several.

“Thematic tourism appeals to the emotions, intellect and senses of the consumer, and  thematic tourism can be successfully developed through techniques such as ‘storytelling’, linking the tourism assets through reference to food, landscape or other cultural realities. Above all, they will provide the visitor with experiences: not just places to go and things to see, but feelings, sensations and activities.

“A tourism route can extend over a wide geographical area: in the case of the UNWTO Silk Road, for example, over thousands of miles. Such transnational products are very powerful. They raise many issues, of an administrative and cultural nature, but it is worth persisting, as the creation of transnational networks can bring significant benefits to all the partners involved. They can attract a high level of interest from consumers and the media. Between neighbouring countries, such an initiative will lower barriers, and develop mutually beneficial tourism flows. They will lead to the creation of attractions and tourism products that would not be viable if undertaken alone.”

Copyright © 2017, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and European Travel Commission (ETC).

17 January 2018


The Innovation in Tourism articles are provided by TEAM’s associates and friends, a network of tourism consultants operating worldwide. See some of the faces on our meet the team page.

TEAM provides expert consultancy and tourism services to destinations around the world. Visit our project highlights page to see examples of our recent work.


Handbook on Transnational Tourism Themes and Routes2018-02-12T09:01:49+00:00
Go to Top