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Back row R-L – Andrew Daines (Visit Flanders); Dr Maeve Marmion, Head of Experience Economy and Dr Andy Lyon, Chester Business School. Front row L-R – Laura McGovern; Regina Csonka and Natasha Gomez- Gutierrez

Graduates, students and professors from the University of Chester shared the spotlight with industry professionals at the annual TMI (Tourism Management Institute) Convention 2019. Co-hosted by the University and Marketing Cheshire, the event was held at the University’s Queen’s Park Campus.

TMI is the UK’s national professional body for destination management. The organisation supports its members throughout their careers by providing opportunities for sharing knowledge and expertise in destination management.

Former University students Amie Piper, now a Marketing Account Manager for Marketing Cheshire, and Hannah Phoenix, Business Tourism Researcher with Visit Greenwich, presented a case study entitled Generation Z in the Workforce.

Current University of Chester students Monica Escobedo and Paris Taylor Flint, who are both studying International Tourism and Management, explained to delegates the importance of Keeping up with the Followers in their presentation about travelling, FOMO (fear of missing out) and social media.

And former University of Chester students Fiona Bebbington and Ashley Shacklady, both now working with Marketing Cheshire, Chloe Griffin, who is now Tourism Officer at Broadland Council, Norwich and Shanice Dhesi, who graduated in International Tourism Management this month, also attended the event.

Dr Maeve Marmion, a former University of Chester student who is now Head of Department for the Experience Economy, Chester Business School, engaged delegates with a talk on heritage as part of the everyday lives of visitors – how heritage sites, attractions and destinations can be best interpreted and presented to visitors, while complementing their historical or cultural roots.

Dr Andy Lyon, Associate Professor of Tourism Education and Head of Commercial Income Projects, University of Chester, has been teaching in the higher education sector for 25 years, and his research has developed with a focus on developing sustainable tourism destinations.

He said: “Our students benefited hugely from their exposure to practitioners and current thinking in destination management, which will help them to develop successful careers in the tourism industry.

“It was great to see some of our graduates at various stages of their careers at the event.  It shows the opportunities our students have as a result of studying with Chester Business School.”

In his presentation at the convention, Dr Lyon tackled the topic of meeting the tourism needs of older people. He added: “With an ageing population, it is becoming increasingly important that all organisations in the visitor economy understand and meet the needs of this group.

“Tourism and leisure have a real effect on healthy ageing, so encouraging the elderly to participate in the visitor economy with appropriate products and services is vital.”

Amie, who graduated with a first-class Honours degree in Tourism and Events Management, said that studying at Chester Business School introduced her to a wide variety of career options. She said: “It was at a University careers fair that I met my current employer – studying at Chester opened the door to a world of opportunities that I didn’t even know existed.”

Amie and Hannah Phoenix, who also graduated from the University of Chester with a first-class Honours degree in International Business and Tourism Management, were both delighted to take part in a panel discussion at the convention about empowering the future workforce.

As a Business Tourism Researcher at Visit Greenwich, Hannah has a growing involvement in leisure activities and campaigns.  She said: “I attended the TMI Annual Convention when I was in my second year at the University of Chester, so it was a fantastic opportunity, after the first few years of my working in the industry after my graduation, to then be involved in a panel discussion during the 2019 Convention in Chester.”

The range of guest speakers at the convention also included Jamie Christon, Chief Operating Officer, Chester Zoo, and Nicola Said, Commercial Director, Marketing Cheshire.

Nicola said “We were delighted to be able to host the Tourism Management Institute Conference in Chester and showcase our wonderful city to so many tourism professionals, from the evening reception at Storyhouse, to the study tours across the city and to the actual conference at the University. It was great to work together with the University of Chester’s tourism team on the execution of the conference, and we hope to bring many more conferences to the city.”

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