At Canterbury Christ Church University, we pride ourselves on our national and international partnerships which help to make our work and graduates relevant to the changing world around us. We aim to be recognised as a leader in education, research and enterprise that supports the South East region’s growth and economy. One of the ways we do this is by connecting our students with industry leaders. Among other benefits, it’s a way for both businesses and students to understand the graduate skills needed in a particular sector. This piece will discuss a recent, virtual event that offered hope to students, sector specific insights and a positive outlook for the future of the local economy.
The sixth annual Tourism, Hospitality and Events Student Conference took place at the University this March organised by Shola Osinaike at Canterbury Christ Church University. Each year the team invite those from industry to talk to Tourism, Hospitality and Events students, offering businesses the opportunity to showcase their organisation, share industry insights and network with others.
This year was no exception with a fantastic virtual line-up of leading industry guest speakers including Daniel Sanguiseppe, Castlewood Hotel Group; Charlie Musset, CHJM Events; Tara Brown, Chessington World of Adventures; Mayalith Jayathilake, Holiday Inn Dover; Andy Martin, London Resort and Deidre Wells OBE, Visit Kent.
The event examined ‘The Visitor Economy’ and the challenges the sector currently faces, as well as exploring the opportunities for growth and development. Optimism was the recurring theme from speakers and given the circumstances, this is welcome news. The event highlighted that Kent’s visitor economy is resilient and ready to welcome back tourists and visitors when it is safe to do so- a hopeful take away message for both students and businesses.
Deirdre Wells OBE, the CEO of Visit Kent had a particularly positive view of the future of visitor economy in Kent and gave some valuable insights into what the industry will need to do to meet the challenges of 2021 and beyond. Visit Kent are in a unique position to give credible insight into the prospects of the visitor economy in the area, so Deidre’s comments provide reassurance of what the future holds.
Andy Martin, Director of Strategy and Communications, from the London Resort also spoke at the event about the multi-billion-pound theme park project, based in Kent – dubbed Britain’s answer to Disneyland.
The audience were interested to hear about London Resort’s plans for sustainability and protecting the environment, which includes plans for a green network and to be the first operationally carbon neutral theme park.
With it anticipated to generate £50bn of gross economic activity (GVA) in the UK over an initial 25-year period creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs, London Resort will be the first entertainment scheme of this scale and profile in the UK providing a catalyst for regeneration and subsequent increased investment in the local area.
The organiser of the event, Shola Osinaike, Senior Lecturer and Programme Director at the University gave us her view:
“The global business world is undergoing a significant shift in management approaches as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The crisis has adversely impacted the wider UK visitor economy, with most of tourism, hospitality and events businesses closed in the last year. The next few years are crucial for practitioners to design strategies to grow the industry back to its full glory and instil confidence in customers.”
Connecting academics, students and industry leaders at events prompts the exchange of ideas and can often inspire attendees. Exposing stakeholders to changing approaches helps to build lasting relationships and raises business profiles. We’d like to thank all our guest speakers for their contributions, valuable industry insights and sharing of best practice. Working with employers, is a core part of our values, to further enhance the employability of our students and graduates and to ensure that our courses are well-rounded, and relevant to the world of work.
There are many opportunities for businesses to collaborate with us, from guest lecturing, careers fairs and mentoring, to setting a student project or work place challenge.
Interested? If would like to find out more about how you can work with the University and our students and graduates, please get in contact with the Enterprise and Engagement Team at:
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