The research project, Event Innovation in Times of Uncertainty, involving TourNord partners Business Academy Southwest, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Linnaeus University and Koszalin University of Technology received the prize as the research project of the year 2023 by the Danske Erhvervsakademier (The Association of Danish Business Academies).
Selected as the best research project amongst 8 nominations, Christian Dragin-Jensen from Business Academy Southwest received the prize, the project being cited as an exemplary project for the sector, not only contributing with academic and theoretical impact, but also reaching out to many practitioners in several countries on how to promote resilience and innovation in the event and festival sector.
A big congratulations to Christian Dragin-Jensen and all the TourNord partners who collaborated on the project!
About the project:
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged the event and festival industry to its limits. However, during the shutdown, some events and festivals demonstrated resilience and promoted new, innovative solutions. The project explored several countries’ event and festival sectors to promote a new understanding of resilience and innovation to help the industry be better prepared for future crises.
Business Academy Southwest (Denmark), Linnaeus University (Sweden), Koszalin University of Technology (Poland), Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (Norway), explored 150+ events and festivals (sports, culture, music, etc.) in Norway, Poland, and Denmark – from small local events to large international ones. The aim was to highlight strategic and practical areas crucial for the event and festival industry, necessary for building resilience and providing examples of best practices in the industry that promote innovative, adaptive, and transformative event and festival environments.
The research has resulted in the development of new models for measuring resilience and innovation in the event industry (but can also be used in other sectors!). These models have been published as articles in several internationally recognized journals, disseminated, and implemented by various stakeholders.
Research paper 1: Effects of COVID-19 infection control measures on the festival and event sector in Poland and Norway (2021), published in Sustainability.
Research paper 2: Event Innovation in Times of Uncertainty (2022), published in International Journal of Event and Festival Management.
Research paper 3: Building a Resilient Event Sector in Times of Uncertainty (2023), published in Event Management.
Book chapter: Innovation in Sports Events during COVID-19 (2022), published in Research Handbook on Sport and COVID-19
Example of popular dissemination at one of Denmarks largest national websites for tourism
Members from Business Academy SouthWest, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and Koszalin University of Technology have recently published an article titled “Cooking up prosperity: Pop-Up restaurants, innovation, and lifestyle entrepreneurship” in Gastronomy & Tourism.
The study focused on the concept of Pop-Up Norge as a case study, where they investigated they way they do (and wish to do) business being a testament to their embodiment of innovation and life-style entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurs in Pop-Up Norge revelled in a sense of freedom, creativity, and the pursuit of uniqueness, and this continuously drove them to enhance and offer novel experiences.
A great Nordic success story that others can learn from!
This is also a success story for TourNord, as this was a collaboration started at our TourNord network meeting in Bergen, where an idea of supporting each other’s PhD students came to life.
You can read the abstract below, and the article is freely available here.
Abstract: Entrepreneurship is central to diversifying and enhancing the competitiveness of tourism offer-ings. The current literature underscores a critical oversight in nurturing entrepreneurship for tourism innovation and urges further exploration of entrepreneurial motivations in tourism start-ups. This is particularly relevant because the tourism sector heavily relies on new ventures to drive innovation, as established firms often struggle to meet the growing demand for distinc-tive and unique travel experiences. This study examines the entrepreneurial journey and inno-vation process within the tourism scene. Through comprehensive desk research and an in-depth entrepreneur interview, we aim to deepen our insights into the motivations driving entrepre-neurs and the innovation processes behind their tourism products and services. Specifically, our research focuses on pop-up restaurants, illuminating their embodiment of innovation and life-style entrepreneurship. The findings reveal that a sense of freedom, creativity, and the pursuit of uniqueness stand out as key motivational factors of establishing pop-up restaurants. These motivations extend into a continuous business innovation cycle, as the drive to enhance and offer novel experiences remains paramount. This study elucidates the uncharted territory of tourism entrepreneurship and offers valuable insights into the driving forces and innovative dynamics within this evolving market.
Serving as a forum for exchanging best practices and experiences for education and knowledge development within Nordic Tourism, the central themes of the network meeting were:
Innovative and Resilient Tourism
Sustainable tourism: Preparing students for a greener future
Day 1: Overtourism and sustainability in Norway? Viewpoints from an industry and academic point of view
After a warm welcome from Ove Oklevik, from the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and TourNord project lead Christian Dragin-Jensen, the group introduced themselves (as we had new TourNord partners participating for the first time from Lithuania, Poland and Iceland). It didn’t take long then before we went straight to the heart of the day’s topic – namely dealing with overtourism and sustainability – with a special focus on Norway.
The first presentation of the day was by Ståle Brandshaug, partner and consultant at 2469 Reiselivsutvikling, whose vast experience as not only a tourism consultant, but also as the former CEO of Visit Sognefjord and CEO of Region Stavanger, came to the forefront. Ståle challenged the media and academic notion and perceptions of overtourism in Norway, and instead suggested that due to Norway’s size and population, there was actually a case of undertourism! Ståle also challenged the notion of pointing the finger at cruise tourism as the easy scapegoat, instead suggesting that cruise tourism is easier to manage and limit, thus suggesting that land-based tourism could be the root cause of overtourism (since the tourism flow could not be controlled or managed).
These differences clearly highlighted some of the challenges we face in Nordic Tourism – balancing industry and academic viewpoints on how to progress with sustainable tourism (and defining whether we have overtourism or not!). This led to a fantastic discussion by all our partners on how such problems could be tackled and discussed, particularly also with how our tourism students need to be able to balance such different viewpoints.
The day’s program also had a presentation by Western Norway University of Applied Science’s research team – who came by to inform us of different Nordic and European funding possibilities which could be of relevance to TourNord, and led to great discussions, and finally, a decision on going for a project application!
In the late afternoon, our hosts took us on an excursion of Bergen, which finished at the top of Bergen (Fløyen), where we could enjoy the beautiful sunset over Bergen and the fjord! We also found it hard to believe that Bergen is the city with the most annual rainfall when seeing this type of weather!
Day 2: Sustainable hotels in Bergen, sustainable lawmaking and practices in education, and centres for excellence with regenerative tourism
Our second day started at the historic Grand Hotel Terminus, a part of “De Bergenske”. It was therefore only fitting that the first order on the program was a presentation by De Bergenske CEO and Owner, Kjertil Smørås. Kjertil highlighted the uniqueness of the chain, in that they wanted to “go deep” into Bergen – becoming the foremost experts on hotels and restaurants in Bergen, as opposed to just scratching the surface in multiple cities in Norway. This was also a testament to De Bergenske’s desire to be an integral part of the Bergen identity, both on social and environmental sustainable dimensions. Kjertil also highlighed how their forthcoming hotel would be a testament that they weren’t “working with sustainability”, but rather that sustainability was at the heart of every decision, and would be as natural as a part of the hotel’s DNA. Lastly, Kjertil highlighted what type of tourist would lead to more sustainable tourism in Bergen (the cultural tourist), and how cruise tourism would be detrimental to such a strategy.
Next, a presentation came from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences’ Project leader on Sustainability, Tom Skauge. Tom provided us with a fascinating insight on how the upcoming EU-taxonomy and governmental sustainability regulations will have an impact on both the tourism industry and the educational system in Norway. His examples of zero-emission requirements for cruise ships in the Norwegian fjords, as well as the steep increase in interest in sustainability from students at their universities, highlighted the omnipresence of the climate crises, and how governmental regulations from both Norway and EU will be fundamental for securing sustainable mindsets and industries.
After a lovely lunch at the hotel, there was then a group discussion led by the Sari Nyroos and Johanna Aaltonen from the University of Turku, who presented an idea of how to create a centre of excellence with a focus on regenerative tourism. There were interesting concepts used here with regards to education – particularly that of open badges and micro credentials, thus lending further credence that the future of tourism education needs to evolve in order to secure the workforce that is sorely needed. Afterwards, Christian Dragin-Jensen and Grzegorz Kwiatkowski provided an update on TourNord’s book: Nordic Coastal Tourism.
The last order in the meeting room was looking forward to our 4th network meeting, which will take place in Nuuk, Greenland! Gestur Hovgaard from the University of Greenland presented some great practical information, tips (and even a bit of history about Greenland!), so we are ready to head to Greenland in August 2023!
Finally, we had an excursion to the historic UNESCO World Heritage Site Bergen Bryggen and the nearby Bergen Castle.
All the participating TourNord members would like to thank the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and its partners for their warm hospitality, and a fantastic program which ensured that our network meet serve:
1. As a forum for exchanging best practices and experiences for education and knowledge development within Nordic Tourism 2. To discover and implement innovative ways of teaching to benefit educators and students in preparing them for the current/future demands of Nordic Tourism
3. To promote & advance student/staff mobility amongst partners for learning, innovation and R&D activities within NT.
We are all getting very excited for our upcoming network meeting, which will be taking place in Bergen, Norway on the 6th and 7th of March, 2023!
Our hosts, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, has prepared an exciting program for us. In line with the theme of the visit – innovative and resilient Nordic tourism – we will be looking at areas such as overtourism in the Nordics, as well as sustainability and resilient tourism in Norway. Presenters at the network meeting includes Academics, Tourism consultants, sustainability coordinators and a CEO of a Norwegian hotel chain!
We will also be making on-site field visits to learn of how tourism has developed in Bergen. There are scheduled visits to Fløybanen, Bryggen and Bergenhus Castle.
There will also of course be time for discussing new projects within Nordic Tourism and Education. As you can see, we are going to have some busy days!
This will be our largest network meet to date, with participants coming from Business Academy Southwest (Denmark), Dania Academy (Denmark), University of Turku (Finland), University of Greenland (Greenland), Linnaeus University (Sweden), Icelandic Tourism Research Centre (Iceland), Lithuania Business University of Applied Sciences (Lithuania), Koszalin University of Technology (Poland), University of Gdansk (Poland), and of course, our hosts from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (Norway).
We are so very happy to announce that TourNord is adding yet another exciting partner to our network! A big, warm welcome to the Koszalin University of Technology!
The Koszalin University of Technology (KUT) has several fantastic tourism programs, and already has great experience working with several of our TourNord members. We are certain that KUT will provide unique and valuable insights into how we can drive forward TourNord and its goals on improving tourism education in the Nordics and Baltics!
Koszalin University of Technology (KUT), is a public technical university located in Koszalin, Poland. At present, it educates over nine thousand students in twenty-eight modern fields of study such as technical, economics, humanities and arts majors.
To its scientific staff, KUT offers the opportunity to work in laboratories equipped with the most up-to-date facilities, thus enabling the carrying out of research in the most advanced areas of scientific endeavour, and for its students it provides lines of study and specialisations which meet the wide-ranging demands of the 21st century, in particular in the spheres of applied science, information technology and communications.
We are pleased to announce that an international team from TourNord, working under the direction of Dr. Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, Assistant Professor at the Koszalin University of Technology and Associate Professor at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, will be investigating how to build resilient events and festivals during uncertain times! A very relevant topic considering the severe effects the global pandemic COVID-19 has wrought.
COVID-19 has led to a lockdown of local, regional and even national economies for months at end. Society has faced new (and severe) social and economic challenges, huge losses in experience economies such as the event, tourism and hospitality industries. The International Labour Organization (ILO) predicts that unemployment will rise by 24.7 million people due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ILO further estimates that by the end of 2020, the economic loss due to COVID-19 will tap up to 3.4 trillion dollars.
This situation constitutes to be a great societal challenge which calls for urgent intervention, to save what is left and (re)build a resilient Event & Festival (E&F) sector through action research. The rational for this project, running from February – August 2021, lies in the need for up-to-date knowledge and knowledge-based tailored solutions to build resilient E&F ecosystems in our “new reality”.
Project lead, Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, is looking forward to the international cooperation and the results the project will bring:
The possibility of implementing this grant is the result of the beneficial international cooperation implemented so far by our department. We will be able to conduct important research on issues that affect us all.
Financial support for the project was obtained from the “Intervention Grants” Program of the National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA) in Poland. The purpose of the program implemented is to support international cooperation of research teams in response to sudden, important, unforeseen social, civilization and natural phenomena with global or regionally significant consequences.
We look forward to hear what findings the project will bring, and how we can help bring forward these findings to practitioners, students and researchers alike!