TCN Health Report: Members Activities Update

Despite COVID, TCN Experts Remain in Demand – the Results of Our Members Survey

Despite the widespread impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the tourism sector over the past year, the evidence from our members suggests that demand for consultancy services at least has remained relatively buoyant. The project activity reported below gives a good idea of both the diversity of expertise deployed by TCN experts and the remarkably global spread of our line of business. It’s encouraging also to observe a healthy measure of domestic consultancy activity.

What remains to be seen of course is how tourism emerges from the pandemic when the worst is over. Whether it gradually resumes its 60-year pattern of growth and inexorable global spread or whether the nature and structures of travel and leisure will change in any fundamental long-term ways – and how this may affect the short and longer-term demand for expert support and advice.

Roger Goodacre, Chairman TCN


Keith Blundell: currently completing a Destination Management Plan for Southampton as a TEAM Tourism associate. Recently finished a project with the proposed Wales Slate World Heritage Site (Snowdonia-income generation plan) and about to start work on the Liverpool City Region Visitor Economy Strategy (as Associate to Amion).

Tom Buncle, Yellow Railroad Ltd.: currently working on developing a brand for Bellunese, outdoor adventure capital of the Dolomites in North Eastern Italy. Also occasionally dusting off the Yellow Railroad crystal ball to offer online advice, speak at webinars, and offer unsubstantiated insights into a possible future. Otherwise, trying to keep sane by thinking, writing, and walking.

Alison Burgh, Acorn Tourism Consulting: currently leading Commercial Assets Strategy for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Future Parks Accelerator having recently completed the Bristol FPA Parks Strategy. Continuing a third year delivering a series of tourism niche market reports for the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries, Netherlands. Ongoing sustainability, place making and marketing support for Destination Livingstone, Zambia. Recently completed projects in Colombia (Tourism Routes for Forests and Peace) Zambia (Livingstone Destination Management Plan) and Tourism Trinidad (Strategic Plan with PwC Trinidad).

Alison Caffyn: has spent most of the last four years completing a PhD at Cardiff University, researching controversies over intensive livestock farming developments, including the interactions between industrial farming premises and rural tourism. Her research explored the views of rural tourism businesses and visitors about the smells, noise, pollution and visual impacts and the power dynamics between local stakeholders (contact Alison direct for a copy of her research briefing). Took time out last year to complete a piece of work for the National Trust exploring opportunities for upland farm diversification into tourism and recreation. Now looking to pursue both academic and consultancy research projects again.

Benjamin Carey: currently developing a tourism master plan for Government of Bangladesh and advising on heritage tourism in Egypt, England, Malawi and Syria. Recently completed assignments in Russia (UNWTO), Scotland (Social Enterprise Academy), Sri Lanka (World Bank) and Yemen (British Council). Continuing to support clients all over the world on crisis recovery strategies

Roger Carter: currently leading a project for ETC to prepare a handbook for European NTOs on the way in which their strategies and operations could evolve, in response to the changing environment for tourism. Recently completed projects for EBRD, preparing DMPs for Rhodes and Santorini and a Guide to DM Planning for other Greek destinations; for World Bank, to help establish a network of DMOs in North Macedonia; and for OECD to plan a network of regional DMOs in Romania.

Alison Cryer: currently leading a PR campaign for the Majorca Tourism Foundation in the UK (since Oct 2020); implementation of market representation of the Samoa Tourism Authority across Europe; planning and leading on travel trade projects for the Greater Miami CVB; since developing ezyvirtualevents managing virtual travel trade roadshows and media events for clients including ANTOR; recently developed a mini ezyvirtualworkshops with up to 20 private meeting spaces.

Richard Denman: currently working with the OECD and the G20 group of countries under the Italian Presidency in 2021, on ‘guidelines for action to support a resilient and inclusive tourism recovery’. I am also undertaking occasional projects for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, on reviewing the content and application of their global standards and criteria. Recent work on tourism policy analysis in the Eastern Caribbean (with Acorn)

Chris Evans: VisitEngland attraction assessments have been greatly disrupted in 2020/21 but I managed to squeeze one in – Guildford Cathedral – between lockdowns! Hope to do the rest as soon as conditions allow.

Martin Evans: currently working as a marketing consultant on three hotel projects – two in the north of England and one in the Channel Islands – and also planning the next editions of the National Hotel Marketing Conference and National Attractions Marketing Conference, for launch as soon as Covid allows!

Jim Fletcher: currently working on a regional tourism master plan project in northern Botswana for UNWTO. Recently completed assignments include the preparation of market and financial feasibility studies for six eco-tourism lodge projects in Lesotho for UNWTO and the preparation of a tourism development strategy for the Farasan Islands on behalf of Dar-Al-Handasah and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage.

Pam Foden: recent activity includes a contract for Tourism Northern Ireland, led by Rebecca Hawkins of RHP, which involved a review of the NI mandatory licence scheme as well as an overview of approaches to quality assessment in NI’s near neighbours. The entire project was completed remotely, which was challenging. It has been really interesting to explore the pros and cons of a mandatory scheme and very topical given early signs that Scotland plans to introduce new measures to regulate their sharing economy.

A first for me was to be head-hunted for an overseas assignment with Spanish consultancy THR, supporting the Implementation of their Tourism Strategy for Oman. My responsibilities were to the review of the Ministry’s Accommodation Licensing and Grading schemes and a wider quality raising agenda. Covid-19 has triggered a suspension of the schedule of visits, but the three trips I made were a fascinating insight into multi-national team working.

Roger Goodacre: currently leading a destination master plan project in Botswana for UNWTO, heavily disrupted by Covid. Recently completed assignments: advising on a wide-ranging master plan aiming to increase international Umrah pilgrims from 10m to 30m by 2030, part of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious Vision 2030 strategic framework (DARP); conducting a tourism situation assessment in Jordan, with particular reference to cultural and Christian heritage (EBRD); team leader for a national tourism master plan for Moldova (USAID). Contributed a 9000-word chapter on Tourism Master Planning to the Handbook for Sustainable Tourism Practitioners, edited by Dr Anna Spenceley, due out in April (published by Edward Elgar).

Michael Hitchcock: contributed the cultural tourism sections, focussing on museums and heritage, to the tourism master plan (2020) for Heilongjiang Province, China, under the auspices of UNWTO. A keynote speaker at the Souvenirs 2021 conference (21-23 April) hosted by the University of Lapland and Regional Museum of Lapland, Rovaniemi, Finland.

Andrew Meredith: several National Lottery Heritage Fund projects – recently completed Crofton Beam Engines/Wiltshire (evaluation) and Kidderminster Town Hall Governance/Strategic Options (Resilient Heritage). Currently ongoing 3-year Evaluations of Ladbroke All Saints Church/Warwickshire, St Wilfrid’s Church Barrow-on-Trent/Derbyshire, Canadian Pacific loco/Mid Hants Railway, Cardiff Market Hall. As part of Blue Sail team, Visitor Product Offer Audit for Isle of Man Tourism/Government.

Kevin Millington: currently leading Blue Economy Tourism Analytics Study, OECS/World Bank; Developing a Tourism Satellite Account for Jordan, USAID; Tourism Digital Transformation and Product Development and Innovation project in Jordan, GIZ/GOPA; Tourism Statistics and TSA Development in Seychelles, UNWTO; Amazing 200 Experiences in Saudi Arabia – Ministry of Tourism; Preparation for TSA in Tunisia, USAID; and Digital Marketing Strategy, Measurement of Tourism, and Accommodation Accreditation for Falkland Islands Tourist Board.

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