My Projects and my research

A friend recently asked what do you really do? I struggled for more than 30 minutes to explain the range of my activities but eventually I explained I am in the business of creating new knowledge and applying it in the area of Information Communication Technologies for the tourism / travel / leisure / hospitality / heritage industries (basically when you are home or at work you are my customer!!!). Then this friend kept asking for more examples and I said see my web site, Which he had already seen ... Then I realised that I do not have anywhere a very clear definition of what i do. I guess because it has never been clear and because it varies on a daily basis. As a Professor at Bournemouth University I am constantly in the process of knowledge creation through research and engagement with practice and the industry at large. But then I am also in the global knowledge dissemination arena and in my capacity as adviser to governments and organisations around the world, keynote speaker or workshop facilitator I engage in conversation with colleagues at different levels to demonstrate how elements of the external environment and particularly technology introduces innovation in our industries and is changing the source of competitiveness and competitive advantage.


My Current Research Projects

eTOURISM: Strategic and tactical implications of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) for the tourism/travel/leisure/hospitality/heritage industries. This is basically the essence of all my research and activity and my life long project. I am researching on this area constantly and I am in the process of writing the second edition of my eTourism book which is used around the world and has been translated into Mandarin and Persian.

AGILE ORGANISATIONS AND THE SERVICE OF NOW: This is an area that I am really keen on how we can develop agile organisations that are able to adapt themselves dynamically and instantly to the needs of consumers, offer personalised service and customise the service and product on the fly. Increasingly this will depend on an organisation operating as a nervous system, where all units of the organisation are interconnected and use any signal that they get from the internal and external environment to adapt the product and service dynamically. Increasingly signals will be coming through social networking and consumer generated content. This project is sponsored by the John Kent Institute in Tourism and Nicolas Gregory is my PhD student. He is working on this topic with me, Miguel Moital and Soo Hyun Jun to push the barrier of knowledge. 

SOCIAL MEDIA AND TOURISM: Social Media, Web 2.0 and User Content Generated (UGC) is revolutionising the tourism industry and I am fascinated on how we can use this for tourism organisations. Increasingly brands are engaging in online conversations through a very wide range of media and there has never been more complexity in managing organisations through a wide range of platforms and media. Currently my friend John Fotis is doing his PhD on how social media is influencing consumer behaviour and Alan Fyall and Miguel Moital are cosupervising the project. This project is sponsored by Bournemouth University. There are some subprojects that we are currently working with MASMI CEO Nicos Rossides to explore the use of Social Media in the Russian Market going to Cyprus. I am working with Rob Law and Norman Au from Hong Kong Polytechnic University on complaints on the Online Environment - The Case of Hong Kong Hotels as well as the Impact of Culture on eComplaints with particular focus on Chinese consumers in Hospitality Organisations. We are also discussing with Jerome Touze of to explore possibilities to develop a specific research agenda on social media.

MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES AND CONTEXT (INCLUDING LOCATION) BASED SERVICES. This is the natural development from the European Commission iSet project. Increasingly mobile platforms in the form of iPhone, iPad, blackberry or Smart Android-empowered mobile phones will be used to manage information, particularly for users on the go (ie travellers). I am really interested in the personalisation and contextualisation of this information. This will be more interesting with the developments of augmented reality, which is already here with Layar, the world’s first mobile Augmented Reality browser. Currently Zornitza Yovcheva is doing her PhD under the supervision of myself and Christos Gatzidis on this issues and is particularly looking into system developments with 3D Maps on mobile platforms. This project is sponsored by the John Kent Institute in Tourism. We are also bidding for European Projects on FP7 and other programmes on this area.

TOURISM DESTINATION INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS: In the last 20 years I have been working on Destination Management Systems. It is becoming evident that DMOs and DMSs are changing from closed proprietary systems to open platforms that aggregate content from a wide range of sources. Joanna Matloka recently did her MSc dissertation on this topic under my supervision and we are developing a range of publications on destination systems.

ACCESSIBLE TOURISM: Following my engagement with the OSSATE project and the ENAT community, I am now committed on accessible tourism and inclusive design and service for the disabled and ageing traveller. To develop the area I have been working very closely with good friends Ivor Ambrose and Simon Darcy to develop two textbooks that will generate the future curriculum for accessible tourism. We are fortunate to work with more than 80 world experts on the topic and the books will open a totally new arena.

eTOURISM ADOPTION particularly by Small and Medium Tourism Organisations has been an ongoing research interest since my early research days. With my PhD student Andrew Spencer we are looking into the adoption of technology for Caribbean Travel Agencies in Jamaica and we are exploring the variables that affect the advanced use of technology as well as the impacts on tourism intermediation, disintermediation, reintermediation and industry structure.

PROSUMPTION and how consumers are becoming part of the production of tourism products. This is an interesting concepts and in particular how consumers influence the experience of other consumers. PhD student Ivana Rihova under the supervision of Dimitrios Buhalis, Miguel Moital and Mary Beth Gouthro is investigating presumption in the events context. This project is sponsored by the John Kent Institute in Tourism.

STRATEGIC TOURISM PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT underlines all the tourism activity we do and I have a long standing interest in how tourism destinations can manage their activities in order to optimise their impacts, maximise long term sustainable development and profitability. My friend Carlos Costa and Emese Panyik at University of Aveiro Portugal are co editing two books on European Union Tourism Policy, Destination Management, Integrated Spatial Development, Regional and Local Governance with the contribution of the top European tourism researchers.


My Recent Research Projects

  • 2013 ESRC Festival of Social Science Festival of Social Science 2013 – Digital Destinations & Social Media: ‘Make or Break’ 

    • 2012 Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) owned and funded by Tourism Australia and all the State/territory tourism organisations in Australia, and the Innovation Program: developing eTourist strategy for Australia, organising workshops on "Australian Tourism Digital Workshop" Melbourne Thursday 12th July, 2012. Towards National Online Strategy for Tourism

    • ESRC Digital Destinations: Exchanging Digital Technology Knowledge in Local Tourism Economies, ESRC Knowledge Exchange Alan Fyall, Philip Alford and Dimitrios Buhalis and the Dorset New Forest Tourism Partnership - aim/objectives below. Principle Investigator Philip Alford

    • European Commission FP7 Digital Graffiti DIG, 2011, Research for the Benefit of SMEs" : Identifier: FP7-SME-2011-BSG. Research for the Benefit of SME Associations" 

  • iSeT: integrated Suite for e-Tourism, 2007-2009 European Commission eTEN Main Theme addressed: Services supporting SMEs. The proposed service is an intelligent internet based suite that targets the integration of the value chain of tourism SMEs by supporting their management activities and providing specific services for specific actors, namely: customers, employers, other small and medium-sized hospitality organizations (SMHOs), hoteliers, public authorities and the wider public. 

  • Web Usability 2009-2010 Hong Kong Polytechnic University: Usability of DMO Websites in Mainland China,School of Hospitality Tourism Management, Working with Professor Rob Law and my PhD studentShan Shan Qi

  • WTO 2007: Establishing an Information Communication Technologies Tourism Curriculum with Learning Resources and Tools, World Tourism Organization Education Council. Developed an eLearning module on eTourism that the World Tourism Organisation then distributed around the world. 

  • OSSATE 2004-2007 , One-Stop-Shop for Accessible Tourism in Europe (OSSATE)eContent, FP6 European Commission. This project investigated the structure of information for accessible tourism providing appropriate and accurate information for people with disability when they travel. One of the byproducts of the project was the creation of the European Network of Accessible Tourism ENAT which is bringing of interested stakeholders together.

  • eLearning Strategy 2004-2007 eLearning and eTraining in Hospitality, Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), with Hospitality Catering International Management Association (HCIMA- Now Institute of Hospitality). Developed an eLearning strategy for the Institute of Hospitality. Working with Professor Andrew Lockwood and Dr Li Li   

  • Cultural Heritage and Technology 2004-2009, NoEEPOCH, FP6 European Commission. EPOCH is a network of about a hundred European cultural institutions joining their efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of the use of Information and Communication Technology for Cultural Heritage. Tourism plays a great role in Cultural Heritage as most visitors are tourists and travellers and hence it is critical to understand motivations, perceptions and operations to satisfy this type of demand.  

  • eBusiness W@tch Expert 2002-2004, Sector Expert for Tourism, Subcontracted by Empirica for the eBusiness W@tch- European Commission Programme 

  • Interoperability in Tourism 2002-2003, Harmonise Project, FP5 European Commission, project completed successfully.

  • Technology and eLearning for the Small Medium Tourism Organisations for 2002-2003, SMART-UP, Proposal Submitted to the European Commission, consortium led by Siemens, Austria,

  • eTourism Stakeholders Analysis  2001- 2002, WTTC eTourism Stakeholders Analysis

Research and academic interests

Tourism and Hospitality Industries, and particularly:


  • Applications and impacts of information technologies telecommunications
  • Small and medium tourism enterprises
  • Strategic marketing and management for tourism and hospitality industries
  • Destination management and sustainability
  • Distribution channels and their dynamics
  • Operational management and Strategic Information Systems
  • Island economics and sustainable development
  • European Tourism development & policies
  • Tourism in Greece and Mediterranean Destinations
  • Education and training for the tourism industry