The International Federation for Information Technology in Travel and Tourism (IFITT) hosted for the first time a Doctoral Summer School at Bournemouth University with the aim to provide young researchers at early stages with opportunities to share and discuss their eTourism-related research and receive useful suggestions from experienced researchers. The event, which took place in form of a two-day unconventional workshop, consisted of an exciting programme with interesting presentations focusing specifically on topics concerning research methods and academic publishing.
The IFITT Doctoral Summer School started on Monday, July 8, 2013 with a warm welcome by the workshop chairs Barbara Neuhofer and Alessandro Inversini. This was followed by a keynote presentation about ‘The role of mobiles in supporting educational tourism’ by Niall Winters from the University of London. After that Janet Dickinson from Bournemouth University opened up a number of presentations about research methodologies, which were held by experienced researchers like Brigitte Stangl, Rodolfo Baggio and Hania Janta. Topics included ‘A priori and a posteriori segmentation‘, ‘Network Analysis’, ‘Research Method Netnography’ and ‘Mixed Methods for eTourism Research’. Towards the end of the first workshop day participants had the possibility to participate in a dynamic ‘Researcher Speed-Dating’ where they were asked to introduce themselves to each other in a given time. This was not only a fun activity but also provided the participants with a great possibility to explore opportunities for collaboration. The first day of the IFITT Doctoral Summer School was rounded off with a networking dinner at Bellagio in Bournemouth to which IFITT invited all participants for an Italian meal.
The second day of the summer school was mainly centred around the life of a PhD student and started with a round table session where editors from famous academic journals like Alan Fyall (Journal of Destination Marketing and Management), John Fletcher (International Journal of Tourism Research) and Rodolfo Baggio (Current Issues in Tourism – Letters) shared useful insights and hints about publishing research papers. After that Dimitrios Buhalis talked about ‘Surviving the PhD process and getting the PhD awarded’ followed by Andrew Frew who offered a ‘Career Q&A: The PhD – What next?’ session. After these sessions the workshop came to its final highlight: the student paper presentations. In this session the students had the opportunity to present abstracts of their current studies, share their thoughts and initial results with peers and experienced researchers and receive useful advice for improvement. Finally the IFITT Doctoral Summer School ended with a great night at the Slug and Lettuce pub in Bournemouth where organisers and participants revisited the results of a fruitful workshop.
Overall the IFITT Doctoral Summer School was a great success with more than 40 participants from across the globe.
IFITT President Professor Dimitrios Buhalis says: “The IFITT Doctoral Summer School was a fantastic event for Master and PhD students who were looking for opportunities to enhance their studies. Bringing together academics at early career stages and experienced researchers of the eTourism community was an excellent way to explore and share the latest research that will form the foundation for the tourism technologies of tomorrow. We are more than happy with the outcome of our event“.
IFITT regularly organises events to bring together the eTourism community. The organisation is also host of the upcoming eTourism conference ENTER 2014 (http://www.enter2014.org/), which will take place January 21-24, 2014 in Dublin, Ireland. All IFITT events can be found in the event calendar on the IFITT website at: http://ifitt.org/home/view/calendar.