Latest news

‘Shape of Events’ Report – working together as a single united industry

TEAM was commissioned by the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) to prepare its ‘Shape of Events’ Report. Senior Associate, Richard Smith, authored the report with John Gallery, Chair of the BVEP’s Research Group.

The report, published on 6th September, includes an overview of the current landscape, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and insights into the road to recovery and building back better. The report, sponsored by brand communications agency davies tanner, was compiled using responses from over 300 professionals and organisations from across the UK events sector.

Read the press release here and download the report here.

6 September 2021

Frontcover of the 'Shape of Events' Report published by the BVEP

Front cover of the ‘Shape of Events’ Report published by the BVEP

ETC releases a new report on ‘The Changing Tourism Environment and its Impact on the Work of National Tourism Organisations (NTOs)’

As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and the challenges of ensuring sustainability, tourism globally is in a critical period of transition. Recognising this, the European Travel Commission (ETC) commissioned TEAM to prepare a comprehensive report about the impact of the changing tourism environment on the work of NTOs, past, present and future. The study investigates the ways in which European NTOs have been evolving over the past decade and provides forward-looking insights and recommendations for achieving sustainable tourism development. The report also reviews the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on NTOs and identifies lessons from the crisis that will help to build future resilience for the tourism industry.

The report, prepared by TEAM Tourism Consulting, has been designed as a practical and easy-to-use resource for European National Tourism Organisations to:

  1. Help them visualise the ways in which their future roles and responsibilities should transform
  2. Propose innovative approaches that can improve their work efficiency and overall value
  3. Propose new concepts for measuring the success of strategic and operational activity.

The project involved a substantial programme of research and consultation and starts by reviewing the evolution of European National Tourism Organisations (NTOs), together with changes in the tourism environment, during the period 2008-2021, at the European level and for five individual countries.

The report sets out ‘The ETC Vision for Europe’s NTOs’ and a set of Strategic Objectives relating to it. Each of the Strategic Objectives contributes to several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

In order to deliver these objectives, there are three Strategic Priorities for NTO Action and eight Critical Success Factors for NTOs. The Strategic Priorities are:

  1. Ensuring tourism’s sustainability
  2. Strengthened destination management (DM)
  3. Digital transformation in the tourism sector.

And the Critical Success Factors for NTOs are:

  • Strategic direction and leadership
  • Effective partnership building
  • Funding for transformation
  • Real-time market insights
  • Focused performance measurement
  • Digital transformation education for NTO staff
  • Crisis management/ communications readiness.

The Report reviews each of the Strategic Priorities and Critical Success Factors in turn and recommends potential areas for action by NTOs.  In each case, there are case studies of existing initiatives by NTOs in Europe and other parts of the world, demonstrating innovative approaches.

Please click here to read ETC press release for summary of key conclusions and here to access the full report.

26 July 2021

Frontcover of the ETC Rreport on ‘The Changing Tourism Environment and its Impact on the Work of National Tourism Organisations (NTOs)’

Front cover of ETC Report ‘The Chaning Tourism Environment and its Impact on the Work of National Tourism Organisations (NTOs)’

A national online distribution strategy for visitor experiences in the Republic of Ireland

During the summer of 2020, TEAM and CT Consults prepared a national online distribution strategy for visitor experiences (including tours, attractions and events) for Fáilte Ireland, the tourism development authority for the Republic of Ireland.  Based on a programme of research and consultation, the report set out an overall strategic approach, designed to “…enable consumers to discover and book Irish experiences through the channels that are most convenient for them and that offer them the best value — while helping the Irish experiences sector to operate more efficiently and to grow.”  It included a three-part action plan, focused initially on engagement, education and support for experience suppliers, with the objective of ensuring that every supplier has the booking and operational management solution that will best need their needs, enabling distribution through their own direct sales mechanisms and through the most cost-effective intermediary channels.

Later in 2020, Fáilte Ireland commissioned two pilot projects, one in Ireland’s Ancient East, the other in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, following which, it is rolling out a national programme called ‘Digital that Delivers’ during the second half of 2021.  Our partner, CT Consults, is one of three companies managing this large scale project, the aim of which is to ensure that the providers of visitor experiences in Ireland have the digital capabilities, skills and know-how to improve their booking revenues and operational efficiencies, their websites and their online marketing, to cross-sell with other attractions and to bolster Ireland’s online appeal to potential visitors.

6 July 2021

ETC logo

Fáilte Ireland Online Distribution Strategy for Visitor Experiences

World Class Visitor Centre Case Studies

In October 2020, Visit Greenwich and the Old Royal Naval College Greenwich commissioned TEAM to prepare cases studies on world class visitor centres to inform and inspire the Greenwich tourism stakeholders in their desire to create an outstanding and innovative visitor centre which would tell the story of Greenwich in general and the old Royal Naval College in particular.

In an initial stage, a long list of potential case studies was compiled, subsequently scored against broad criteria of relevance to Visit Greenwich in a view to select a shortlist of centres.  Extensive desk research was carried out on the shortlisted centres and three case studies were chosen by the client for in-depth interview, in order to gain more detailed insights.

Generally, the key purpose of a visitor centre is a balance of three main elements:

  • Visitor attraction, with interpretation
  • Visitor information
  • Destination orientation element, cross-selling the wider destination.

These core functions may be complemented by secondary activities, typically commercial or supporting the main centre functions – e.g. temporary exhibitions, events, venue hire, retail, café/restaurant etc.

The top six centres identified in our research for aspects of relevance to Visit Greenwich, including the main interpretation / storytelling techniques and the way they are used, were: La Cité du Vin (France), Roman Rimini Visitor Centre (Italy), Dublin Visitor Centre (Republic of Ireland), Pont du Gard WHS Centre (France), Bannockburn Visitor Centre and Battle Experience (Scotland), and Derry Visitor Information Centre (Northern Ireland).

We provided many pointers for Visit Greenwich’s strategic discussion about the evolution of its centre – primary purpose(s), audience, positioning, interpretation, commercial activity.

March 2021

ETC logo

Old Royal Naval College, London (Photo by Darko M. on Unsplash)


Southampton Destination Management Plan (2020/21)

TEAM has prepared a ten year Destination Management Plan (DMP) for Southampton City Council.  This is intended to provide a framework for their UK City of Culture bid identifying activity that needs to take place before the potential City of Culture, but also longer term aspirations for the city building on its bid.

The development of the DMP included:

  • Product and market analysis leading to an identification of potential motivational themes;
  • One-to-one stakeholder consultations and two visioning workshops – all conducted remotely;
  • Primary research into visitor and non-visitor perceptions based on an internet panel of respondents within a two hour catchment area . This identified the strongest propositions for Southampton and its competitive strengths against neighbouring destinations;
  • Site visits.

This evidence base was brought together in a Situation Report which analysed Southampton’s current position and its options for future activities.  Following a Visioning Workshop, a forward strategy was agreed with stakeholders and this was translated into the 10-year plan.  Accompanying this 10-year plan is a more focused three-year action plan which identifies a series of projects designed to deliver against the plan’s four primary objectives.   These projects include a description, a rating of their priority, approximate cost, delivery responsibility and timescales.

In parallel to the development of the DMP, we looked at delivery options in the city.  Initially five options for the development of a Destination Management Organisation (DMO) were identified building on an appraisal of the current situation and based on different levels of ambition and investment. Following stakeholder discussions one option has been developed in more detail.  This was based on a ‘Virtual DMO’ or Destination Management Partnership.  This included strengthening both City Council resource for the visitor economy (additional funding was secured on the back of DMP) and partnership delivery arrangements with other organisations in the city. The action plan was a key element of this.

March 2021

Southampton, juxtaposition of old and new - Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

Southampton, juxtaposition of old and new – Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

Development of Chesterfield Visitor Economy over the next 5 years (2021-26)

In March 2021, TEAM was commissioned by Chesterfield Borough Council to prepare a Visitor Economy Strategy and Action Plan and set out options and make recommendations for their effective management and delivery.

The work programme has been structured as a three-stage process that builds sequentially to achieve a market-focused, effective and deliverable Visitor Economy Strategy and Action Plan:

Stage 1 – Taking Stock: Developing the evidence base and options

Stage 2 – Taking shape: Options and consultations

Stage 3 – Moving forward: Strategy and service delivery.

The Visitor Economy Strategy will set the vision, strategic targets and priorities, and markets for growing Chesterfield’s visitor economy over the next 5 years, while the Action Plan will comprise a series of projects potentially grouped into programmes covering:

  • The development of current visitor assets;
  • Capitalising on major development projects;
  • Events and festivals development;
  • Digital destination marketing;
  • Visitor information.

The project is due to finish in the second half of 2021.

March 2021

Chesterfield Church Spire

Chesterfield Church Spire – Photo by Huw Edwards on Unsplash

Changing environment for NTOs

In October 2020, TEAM started work for the European Travel Commission on the preparation of a new Handbook on The Changing Tourism Environment and its Impact on the Work of National Tourism Organisations (NTOs). The overall objectives are:

  • To illustrate how NTOs’ mandates and responsibilities, financing mechanisms and understanding of tourism success have evolved over the past decade.
  • To examine how the changes in the tourism environment have impacted the work of NTOs.
  • To provide strategic recommendations that will encourage and support NTOs in adopting strategies and activities for the sustainable development of tourism.

Key aspects of the changing environment impacting on NTO activities include: digital technologies and applications; the need for new business models;  NTOs involvement in destination management; and to play an active role in achieving the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals; Sustainability and the elimination of overtourism; and the impact of Covid-19 and potential future emergencies and disasters on tourism.

The work programme will involve desk research, gathering and analysis of NTO data, stakeholder interviews, input from a panel of expert strategic thinkers, case studies of good practice, vision and strategy development.  The final output will be a practical, easy-to-use handbook to help ETC’s NTO members to transform their future roles and responsibilities and to develop innovative approaches to improving their cost-effectiveness and defining “tourism success”.

8 February 2021

ETC logo

European Travel Commission (ETC) logo

Revising the business model for a major visitor attraction

The significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on tourism and recreation is such that when travel resumes again tourism and hospitality operators will be operating in a very different environment.

Recognising this, one of TEAM’s clients in Northern Ireland, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, recently asked TEAM to review and revise the business model for its main visitor attraction, The Gobbins, and assist the Council with setting out a new, more dynamic vision to ensure its future prosperity as a world-class, must-visit location.

Using directly relevant expertise in visitor attractions management, TEAM has produced a model that will identify the effect on business of three different scenarios relating to the impact of Covid-19 on tourism and recreational travel.  The main report was submitted for consideration by the end of June.

9 September 2020

The Gobbins Walk

The Gobbins Walk (courtesy of The Gobbins Visitor Centre)

Estimating the economic value of Tourist Information Centres in Ireland

With visitors to destinations being able to access a wide range of information through their smartphone, there has been increasing debate about the role and value of tourist information centres within destinations.  A key consideration in such debate is the economic benefit that derives from the operation of such centres.  It was in this context that, in February of this year, TEAM was asked by Fáilte Ireland (the tourism development authority for the Republic of Ireland) to provide a method for calculating the economic benefit.

There was not the time or funding to undertake primary research, so TEAM undertook a desk research exercise. It involved reviewing all readily available research that had been undertaken on TIC impacts – the most relevant of which were from England, Wales and Australia.  The outputs from these studies were used to develop a series of ratios that could be applied to TIC visitor data, in order to calculate impact.  On this basis, TEAM produced an interactive model that could be used to calculate the impact of each of Fáilte Ireland’s TICs according to its circumstances and visitors flows.  The work was completed within five weeks.

5 July 2020

Cork TIC

Cork TIC

New book: Tourism Routes and Trails

Tourism Routes and Trails is about tourism on the move, with journeys that extend over multiple sites, a territory or landscape. The three authors of the book David Ward-Perkins, Christina Beckmann and Jackie Ellis are all consultants or partners of TEAM. This book investigates why routes and trails are such powerful vectors of tourism, and how they impact tourism businesses, local populations and other stakeholders. It includes a rich selection of contemporary examples and cases, showing the reader best practice as well as illustrating challenges and risks.

19 February 2020

The City of Liverpool

CABI book cover

Arzamas-Diveevo tourism cluster

Arzamas-Diveevo tourism cluster, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, in rural Russia, is famous for its religious heritage. Working with Strelka-KB, a Moscow-based urban design consultant, TEAM Associate David Ward-Perkins developed a tourism design and strategy to open up the small town of Arzamas and its surrounding villages, for cultural tourism.

19 February 2020

The City of Liverpool


Pilot Destination Management Plans for Rhodes and Santorini

In April 2019, EBRD, with financial support from the EU, commissioned three tourism consultancies (TEAM, Toposophy and Yellow Railroad) to prepare Destination Management Plans (DMPs) for the islands of Rhodes and Santorini, together with a Guide to the Preparation of DMPs, to be used as the basis for tourism planning in other Greek destinations. The primary purpose of the project was to create a clear vision for sustainable tourism development and identify priorities for destination management in each island.  The EBRD specified that the plans should be designed to: Maximise destination performance (e.g. visitor spending, longevity of tourist season) and develop solutions to avoid or minimise negative impacts of tourism; Facilitate the development of experiences that meet visitor needs and expectations, reflect the destination vision and brand and facilitate the elements of a journey within a destination; and Engage local stakeholders and communities in shaping the future of their destination. The project concluded in January 2020.

January 2020

The City of Liverpool


Snapshot of TEAM’s activities in 2018/19

2018 was a most interesting and busy year for TEAM Tourism Consulting, both in the UK and further afield (particularly in Ireland and the Middle East); and the first quarter of 2019 was equally so. TEAM’s expertise and experience in the areas of the development of Visitor Experience Development Plans; travel trade; tourism strategy and heritage tourism has been particularly in demand.

In England, TEAM was pleased to assist in Discover England Fund related projects, including the second stage of travel trade research for VisitEngland involving concepts testing for fourteen DEF products among a sample of international tour operators and UK based DMCs.  TEAM also worked on Product Audit for England’s World Heritage Sites for Cumbria Tourism, the ‘North of England Cities Experience’s DEF Project (covering the cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Hull and Newcastle Gateshead) for Liverpool Vision; ‘US Connections’ Research for Destination Plymouth and partners;  and product research and concept testing in the US market for England’s ‘GREAT South West Peninsula’. Now, in April 2019, TEAM is about to embark on a travel trade evaluation for the ‘Uncover the Cotswolds’ project.

TEAM also prepared some luxury tourism case studies for VisitBritain, a review of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence Programme (with Live Tourism) and was commissioned by the West Midlands Growth Company to help with the development of their 10-year tourism strategy for the West Midlands to 2029.

In Scotland, TEAM was selected by VisitScotland and Scottish Enterprise to produce a market assessment for the South of Scotland tourism experience.

The City of Liverpool

The City of Liverpool

In Northern Ireland, our associates have been busy on a variety of projects, from visitor information provision review for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and in the Newry Mourne and Down District Council (started in 2019), to the preparation and presentation of a Northern Ireland ‘proposition of scale’ workshop and outline narrative and a review of Tourism Northern Ireland Research programme (started in 2019) for Tourism Northern Ireland . TEAM has also just started working on a feasibility study for the creation of a long-distance heritage/pilgrimage trail in Northern Ireland.

IN THE REPUBLIC IRELAND, TEAM has continued its collaboration with Fáilte Ireland, focusing on developing visitor experience development plans for various areas along the Wild Atlantic Way – Connemara/The Burren; Three Heads; Malin Head and Inishowen Peninsula; Haven Coast and Clew Bay. Also for Fáilte Ireland, TEAM worked on the development of tourism concepts on the theme of Viking heritage in South East Ireland (followed up by market validation research) as well as on scoping solutions for national distribution strategy for visitor experiences. In addition, TEAM is also working for Clare County Council on a major programme of work to develop an innovative Tourism Strategy.

IN OTHER PARTS OF EUROPE, TEAM partnered with VVA for a study on Passion Communities for the European Travel Commission. In France, TEAM and ID-Tourisme are working on an ecotourism project for the region of Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

Northern Ireland countryside

The Mountains of Mourne, Northern Ireland

IN THE MIDDLE EAST – In Oman, TEAM partnered with MAZARS to deliver a Marketing Plan and Tourism Facilities Audit for the Oman’s participation at Expo 2020 for Oman Ministry of Commerce and Industry.  TEAM (in partnership with THR) was also selected by Muscat National Development & Investment Company (ASAAS) to produce a Tourism Development Master Plan for the Governorate of Musandam.  In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, TEAM prepared a Visitor Experience Development Framework for the Provinces of Al Jouf and Hail, following which we participated in a major workshop for the Saudi Experience Development Programme, for the Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage.

IN CANADA, TEAM worked on a product Development Strategy for Tourism Saskatchewan, along with the Canada Tourism Planning Group.

18 April 2019

Muttrah Corniche, Muscat, Oman

Muttrah Corniche,
Muscat, Oman

Northern Ireland’s food hub

Northern Ireland is positioning itself as a major food destination, and Strangford Lough is seen as a potentially major food hub. The Borough of Ards and North Down is investing in farm-to-fork initiatives and promotion of its exceptional seafood, working with both producers and retailers, and has engaged Place Solutions, partnering with TEAM, to help develop a leading food and drink strategy and offer.

28 February 2018

Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland

Strangford Lough, County Down, Northern Ireland

Abu Dhabi’s leisure tourism ambitions

Abu Dhabi is emerging as a major leisure tourism brand, with its Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit, attractions such as Ferrari World and, soon, a Warner Bros. theme park – all in one place. Miral Asset Management, responsible for Yas Island as a visitor destination, commissioned TEAM to help take its visitor services to a world-class level, in line with their 2021 Vision.

20 February 2018

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi

The Western Silk Road

The UNWTO’s Silk Road Programme was launched in 1994, and has succeeded in putting many previously little-known tourism destinations of Central Asia on the map. The UNWTO’s complementary programme, the Western Silk Road, was launched in 2017, with the strong support of the Spanish city of Valencia, which is investing heavily in its silk production and trading heritage. TEAM’s David Ward-Perkins was invited to run a workshop at the UNWTO Silk Road Training and Capacity Building Seminar in November, attended by both Asian and European representatives.

Read more about this story on the UNWTO website.

4 December 2017

The Western Silk Road

Image of the Silk Exchange in Valencia kindly reproduced here courtesy of VisitValencia

Review of the current tour guiding industry in Northern Ireland

TEAM has been commissioned by Tourism Northern Ireland to prepare an overview of the current tour guiding industry in Northern Ireland. This overview is to include an audit on tour guides, guiding skills, rates, update on other UK tour guiding bodies and related remit of the National Tourism Bodies. The work will build on the 2011 Review of ‘Tourist Guiding Quality & Accreditation, the aim of which was to develop a single regulatory body and accreditation framework for tour guiding in NI, ultimately ensuring the best possible visitor experience.

18 October 2017

Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Delivering a visitor economy product development programme for coastal West Sussex

TEAM Tourism Consulting has been appointed to help develop the tourism product and experience in coastal West Sussex. Focused on the areas of accommodation and food, activities, culture and heritage, public space and events, the work involves creating a strong economic narrative for key project proposals which will underpin the county’s tourism renaissance. It will identify and evaluate potential projects as part of a cohesive investment programme, prepare an overall implementation plan, and examine and prepare a series of bids to potential funding sources.

10 October 2017

Coastal West Sussex

Selsey Bill, on the coast of West Sussex, England

Destination benchmarking

Destinations International (DI) is a membership organisation which represents 600 destinations in 15 countries. DI aims to provide its members with cutting-edge educational resources, industry research and networking opportunities. DI asked TEAM Tourism Consulting to create an initial knowledge bank for its new Destination FIRST programme – helping to build a live knowledge resource for its members around the world.

TEAM used a combined qualitative and quantitative approach including:

  • nine in-depth DMO case studies covering a range of organisation types in a mix of world cities, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cape Town, Singapore, Vancouver and Victoria, complemented by case studies of three US DMOs. Those included information related to the DMO, its strategy, its business and operational plans.
  • a quantitative online global survey of DMOs which covered the way DMOs are organised, funded, the activities they undertake and their plans for the future

5 October 2017


Singapore city skyline

UNWTO / ETC Handbook on Tourism Themes and Routes

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and the European Travel Commission (ETC) are about to publish a new report, ‘A Handbook on Marketing Transnational Tourism Themes and Routes’, prepared by TEAM over the past 18 months, with input and case studies from experts around the world. The handbook is a comprehensive guide to the many and various tourism networks and routes that stretch across borders, both in Europe and on other continents. It serves as a practical manual for managers of existing transnational products and for those seeking to partner internationally.

The handbook was written by TEAM destination consultants David Ward-Perkins, Issa Torres, Jennifer Houiellebecq and Jackie Ellis, with the help of an expert panel of specialists, covering all five continents and drawn from TEAM’s wider network of tourism consultants.

In November 2017, TEAM will be running a practical workshop for national and regional destination management organisations at the ETC-UNWTO International Seminar on Transnational Themes and Routes.

2 October 2017

Group of hikers in Tien Shan mountains, central asia, Kyrgyzstan.

Group of hikers in Tien Shan mountains, Kyrgyzstan

News of TEAM’s recent work on food tourism

In January 2017, TEAM was appointed by VisitBritain and DEFRA (Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs) to produce a set of case studies from around the world that showcase the successful creation and management of ‘food hubs’, where food production and food tourism boost and complement each other, thereby building an international reputation.

After much analysis and discussion, six best practice food hubs were selected, some urban, some rural, some coastal: Catalonia, Iceland, Tasmania, Nova Scotia, Melbourne and the Basque Country. The case studies will be shared with UK cities and regions interested in becoming leading food destinations, through training and seminars, the first of which will be run by TEAM in the course of 2018.

1 October 2017

Young couple in a cafe