Synergising tourism academia with industry: the workshop on Tourism Innovation & Entrepreneurship brought together by the Centre of Tourism & Leisure Management (CTLM), University of South Australia, and the South Australian Tourism Industry Council (SATIC).
A huge co-creation and dissemination of knowledge can happen when academia and industry meets and shares experiences. The Centre of Tourism & Leisure Management (CTLM) of the University of South Australia teamed up with the South Australian Tourism Industry Council (SATIC) for delivering a highly successful, interactive and edutainment workshop and networking event on “Tourism Innovation & Entrepreneurship”. More than 100 tourism industry professionals and researchers attended the event, which took place at the University of South Australia, Adelaide, on the 7th August 2018. Shaun de Bruyn (Chief Executive Officer, South Australian Tourism Industry Council, SATIC) welcomes and he has been very supportive and instrumental in building collaborations with academia, as they can significantly information empower the decision-making processes and the performance of tourism companies and organisations. Professor Marianna Sigala (Director of the CTLM, University of South Australia, UniSA) was also very delighted to publicly announce the agreement of a research collaboration funding scheme between the UniSA and the SATIC, which has currently resulted into two research projects focusing on unravelling the tourism demand trends in the Limestone and Southern Flinders’ region in South Australia. The research projects are also supported by the Limestone Coast Grape & Wine Council Incorporated + Consortia and the Port Pirie Regional Council respectively. Research findings are expected to enormously help the local destination organisations and firms to boost their tourism visitation and spending.
Tourism has been a research and educational priority for the University of South Australia, as reported by Professor Marie Wilson (Pro Vice Chancellor, Business & Law) and Professor Andrew Beer (Dean: Research and Innovation), who both warmly opened the proceedings of the event. This is also clearly demonstrated by the achievement of the University of South Australia in the recently released 2018 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) (produced by the Shanghai Ranking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities, ARWU). According to this list, the Hospitality and Tourism Management programme of the Business School of the University of South Australia is ranked 25th in the world and 4th in Australia. “This outstanding performance is a great recognition and an award for the hard work and research commitment of the CTLM members”, Professor Marianna Sigala (Director of the CTLM, University of South Australia).
The workshop on Tourism Innovation & Entrepreneurship features three major sessions. The first session included two leading researchers talking about trends and challenges in tourism entrepreneurship. Dr Charlie Hargroves (Sustainable Development Fellow, ECIC, University of Adelaide) gave a talk about the ‘Blue Economy: The Rise of Entrepreneurial Tourism”. In his speech, Dr Hargroves emphasised the importance to engage into sustainable entrepreneurship in tourism and he provided numerous international examples on how sustainable entrepreneurship can significantly improve firm performance and competitiveness. In his talk on ‘Does entrepreneurial human capital affect the performance of tourism firms?’, Dr Rob Hallak (Senior Lecturer, University of South Australia) provided empirical evidence from numerous studies showing the importance to invest on human capital. Research confirms that people do make the difference and human capital is the differentiator factor of successful and high performing tourism firms.
The second session of the workshop featured a discussion panel bringing together representatives from three leading tourism industry bodies to discuss and present how their tourism awards can support and motivate tourism entrepreneurship as well as recognise and reward stellar entrepreneurial practices in the tourism industry. The awards of the following tourism associations were presented:
- The South Australian Tourism Awards by the South Australian Tourism Industry Council (SATIC), presented by Shaun de Bruyn, Chief Executive Officer, SATIC
- Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HostPlus Awards for Excellence by the Restaurant & Catering Industry Association, presented by Sally Neville, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, R&CIA
- Wine Industry IMPACT Awards by the Wine Industry Suppliers Australia Inc (WISA), presented by Matthew Moate, Executive Officer WISA
Submitting an application to be considered for an award should not be considered as a cost centre. On the contrary, all the discussion panel members unanimously agreed and explained that it is a valuable investment, as it can act as: a check list of the health situation of a company; a useful guide for re-considering and building the firm’s business model; a learning tool for designing and monitoring business operations; a useful way for obtaining constructive feedback and performance evaluation from a core body of industry experts.
The deliberations of the discussion panel were further enhanced and enriched by the first-hand experience of two multi-award winners from the South Australia tourism Industry namely: Owen Andrews Catering and Seppeltsfield Wines. Owen Andrews (Owner – Manager of Owen Andrews Catering) has been recognised for his entrepreneurial talent and skills since he was an apprentice. He has received numerous awards (e.g. won the Restaurant & Catering south Australia’s Best Small Caterer of the year in 2013, 2015 and 2018; in 2016 Owen Andrews Catering won the Restaurant & Catering best venue caterers at Seppeltsfield winery). Owen Andrews explained to participants how important these recognitions were for his professional career and for his industry recognition and learning. Nicole Hodgson (Tourism & Events Manager, at Seppeltsfield Wines) talked about her experience and understanding of the multiple awards achieved by the Seppeltsfield Wines (e.g. 2015 & 2016 State Tourism Award; the 2016 NATIONAL Australian Qantas Tourism Award; the inaugural GLOBAL Great Wine Capitals Wine Tourism Award). Applying for and achieving these awards is indeed a time consuming and ‘painful’ process, but it is also a highly rewarding and valuable learning experience that has significantly contributed to the international positioning and the brand image of Seppelfields Wines.
The last session of the workshop included three speeches focusing on Tourism Innovation. Marnie Lock (General Manager Community Services, City of Holdfast Bay) talked about the importance of building co-opetition strategies in tourism. In her talk titled “Co-Opetition and innovation in destination management: the Adelaide beaches project”, she explained how to develop a successful co-opetition strategy amongst neighbouring city councils by referring to the Adelaide beaches project. Dr Jacqui McRae (Senior Research Scientist, The Australian Wine Research Institute) gave numerous examples of innovation in wine tourism. In her talk titled ‘Knowledge makes new: Enriching wine experiences with research’, she explained how wine tourism firms can innovate by exploiting findings from wine research. Professor Marianna Sigala (Director of Centre for Tourism and Leisure Management (CTLM), University of South Australia) talked about the current trends and challenges in tourism innovation. In her talk titled ‘Mastering Tourism Innovation: thinking outside-in and inside-out’, she identified three areas in which tourism firms should engage if they are willing to currently excel and lead in innovation: open innovation; customer-driven innovation; and crowdfunding. All three areas demand the tourism firms to open up their thinking, sources of creativity and funding as well as management mindset in order to interact with external actors (e.g. suppliers, customers, distributors, intermediaries) and exchange resources for co-creating innovation.
The day concluded with a SATIC Talking Tourism networking event recognising and celebrating the success of a highly innovative wine tourism entrepreneur. Chester Osborn (Chief Winemaker & Viticulturalist, d’Arenberg Cube) was the honoured speaker of this networking event. In his highly edutainment talk, Chester shared with the participants valuable insight about the development of The Cube, an exemplar Cellar Door in McLaren Valle that has also significantly contributed to the international positioning of the wine destination. Chester Osborn gave numerous examples showing how the servicescape design and the architecture of The Cube contribute to a memorable and unique multi-sensorial and multi-dimensional wine experience. The Cube is a unique cellar door offering numerous and varied wine tourism experiences, whereby a single visit can never be enough.