Visitor Economy Research Group

What is the visitor economy?

‘Visitor economy’ is a place-centred concept concerned with the whole environment where visitors, locals and tourists interact. It focuses on the elements that attract visitors, the infrastructure that supports their visit, and the services provided to them during their visit.

Our research helps businesses design and deliver memorable experiences that generate value for businesses, customers and the destination.

Strong links with our partners in the public and private sector mean we can ensure the economic and social relevance of our work, maximising quality and real-world impact.

Our research activity covers six distinct themes:

Application in practice

Our research makes a direct contribution to the economic, social and wellbeing development of individuals, organisations and destinations regionally and internationally.

Our cross-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research focus allows us to apply our findings in a range of contexts including customer engagement and visitor management; sustainable management systems designs; business enterprise and innovation.

Some of our recent projects:

Integration in to teaching

We are committed to building a research-receptive, practitioner workforce. Our undergraduate and postgraduate curricula are designed to reflect the interaction between research, teaching and practice.

Our students are provided with the skills and tools to understand the research process and are supported to develop research in applied contexts.

Dr Vladimir Antchak is Lecturer in Events Management. His research interests include event tourism, event portfolio design, place-making, major events and their contribution to the competitive identity and destination capitals. His current research explores critical aspects of event portfolio planning and development in different urban contexts.

Dr Iride Azara is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism. Her research is on host and guest relationships; cultural change and tourism performance within socially and spatially regulated spaces of encounter. She is particularly interested in changing the dynamics of cultural practices such as heritage, festivals and cultural tourism within sensitive environments and the wellbeing of these communities.

Tim Heap

Duncan Marson

Dr Elina (Eleni) Michopoulou is a Senior Lecturer in Business Management. Her research interests include technological e-tourism, accessible and wellness tourism. She is the author of a number of journal articles and book chapters on these subjects. Additionally, she is a founding member of the Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness Tourism Initiative and the European editor of the International Journal of Spa and Wellness.

Dr Sarah Rawlinson

Faith Samkange

Peter Wiltshier is Lecturer and Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) International Tourism Management degree. He is currently researching small businesses and lifestyles in the Peak District, as well as working with the Diocese of Derby to identify how tourism can benefit churches. He supports the county, district and parishes within Derbyshire and the Peak District in their endeavour to create a better environment for all through purposeful leisure and recreation.

Dr Haywantee Ramkissoon is a research professor specialising in the areas of sustainable tourism, pro-environmental behaviour, place-attachment, authenticity, health tourism, corporate social responsibility and cultural heritage management. She has gained over 130 publications in reputable peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, co-edited special issues, conference reviews, book reviews, conference proceedings and technical reports. 

Accessible Tourism

Technology and Innovation


  • Michopoulou, E., Kudrakova, V. Azara, I. (2016) Suppliers’ Perspectives on the Affordability of Wellness Services. Proceedings of EuroCHRIE Conference 2016, in Budapest, Hungary.​
  • Hood, A.  and Michopoulou, E. (2015) ''Shifting dymanics, response over function',  report on the roundtable event by University of Derby and the Global Wellness Institute.
  • Report on the 'Senior Tourism Leaders Roundtable' (2015) event, at the World Travel Market hosted by the Global Wellness Institute 

Find out more 

To discuss your research project, please contact Dr Elina Michopoulou on or call 01332 594721.