Research projects - Visitor Economy Research Group - University of Derby

Research projects

View of Naples

Street art has become its own tourist attraction. Researchers at University of Derby are proposing street art is cultivated in Naples.

Our research makes a direct contribution to the economic, social and wellbeing development of individuals, organisations and destinations regionally and internationally.
Here are some examples of work we’ve undertaken.

Tourism Plan for a Derbyshire Village

Under the guidance of our senior tourism researchers, undergraduate tourism management students have conducted research to inform their report about Matlock Bath, a popular resort in Derbyshire. Businesses in Matlock Bath wanted to gain a bigger share of the £1.9 billion that tourists spend in the county each year, and approached our University for help.

Tourists, residents, businesses, accommodation providers and attractions have all been surveyed for the project and an audit of Matlock Bath’s tourist assets was carried out. Based on their findings, the students wrote a report and proposed an implementation plan to help the resort refresh its image and boost its economy. The Parish Council is currently considering the plan.

The Rise of Event Portfolios

In an effort to promote and capitalise on their competitive identity, cities across the world are hosting large-scale events of different genres. Many cities have progressed from a random and eclectic choice of events toward the development of portfolios of events.

Dr Vladimir Antchak, Lecturer in Events Management, leads the research project that explores critical aspects of event portfolio programming in cities. He explores why major events are being used in this way, looking at portfolio approaches, compositional structures of the portfolios in the cities, roles that events can play within a portfolio, design factors that influence events programming, and the development of an overall portfolio synergy.

Place experience and festivals: Exploring eventfulness in Buxton

Nowadays, cities have become a key component of experience consumption. Distinctiveness is required to attract new investment, workforce and stimulate consumer spending. Culture and events have been increasingly employed to construct a desirable and attractive image of a destination. Events play an integral role in creating liveability and visitability of cities, transforming their fabric into a performance place.

The aim of this research project is to analyse the festival sphere in Buxton, UK and identify critical aspects for future development of festival and tourism industry in the town. The study is led by undergraduate event management students and supervised by Dr Vladimir Antchak.

Emergence of Wellness Tourism

Wellness tourism is a concept that has been gaining momentum over the past few years. Travellers are now seeking more than just a spa treatment to relax. They are looking for unique and authentic experiences that have a deep and meaningful impact.

As an emerging concept, there is still a lot to learn about wellness tourism: Who are these wellness travellers? What do they want? Research can help to answer these and other questions and Dr Elina Michopoulou, Senior Lecturer in Business Management, is one academic trying to do just that.

Elina is a founding member of the Wellness Tourism Initiative – part of the Global Wellness Institute. Her research has been published widely, including in books and high impact journals such as Annals of Tourism Research, Current Issues in Tourism, and Information and Management. She regularly acts as a reviewer for a number of academic journals, sits on the editorial board of the International Journal of Business and Management, and is the European Editor for the Journal of Spa and Wellness.

Street Art and Tourism in Naples

In the last few years, street art has become its own tourist attraction in destinations such as Sydney, Berlin and Sao Paulo. A University of Derby researcher and an Italian exchange student are now recommending that the city of Naples cultivates its own street art attraction.

In partnership with Francesca Pizzo, a student from the University of Naples Federico II, Dr Peter Wiltshier, our Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for International Tourism Management, presented a research paper at the 2016 International Conference on Tourism (ICOT). The paper considered the resources, processes and issues associated with setting up a tourist business based on street art, and what effects it might have on the local community.

They concluded that a tourism system based on street art can generate various benefits: an improved tourist offer and a more positive image of the city, as well as economic growth and a better quality of life for the residents. However, they highlighted that a shift in perspective was required in order to create a stakeholder network that was capable of making this happen.