Interview to carmelo leon


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Interview to carmelo leon

  1. 1. Interview to Carmelo León (Director of Tides Institute Tourism and Sustainable Development Research Center) Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaTIDES, a new Tourism and Sustainable Development Center in Gran Canaria, is looking for industry partners to helpspearhead cutting edge tourism research for the Canary Islands. Global Transportation among other companiesand institutions is already on board, taking advantage of the expertise and experience of the academic team. Butthe 54-person institute has resources and personnel for many more entrepreneurial projects to boost tourism.Heading up TIDES is Professor Carmelo León, holder of the is relevant but not as urgent right now.” Although happy with theUNESCO chair in Tourism and Sustainable Economics. His response of university personnel to the first two conferences, hemission is to bring the fledgling center, now in its second year, is concerned about the relatively low attendance from industry:into the top ten tourism institutes in the world (now in position “The objective is to bring more industry people in through time,27) via a multitude of interdisciplinary research initiatives. “Ran- especially as a result of media attention. By bringing people asking is made based on scientifically refereed publications for prominent as Dr Simon Hudson from the University of Southwhich we must put together diverse research projects and get Carolina, Brent Ritchie from University of Calgary, we hope itnew data. We need to be more visible in scientific and academic will grow.”publishing,” says León. He is confident that, coupled with theinstitutes secure funding, the eclectic team of professors in nine To counteract traditional inertia between university and society,different divisions will be able to achieve breakthroughs in re- the institute is promoting pilot projects - such as the collabora-search into entrepreneurship, marketing, statistics, sustainable tion with the Development Iberoamerican Bank, to predict thedevelopment, natural resources, land planning, urbanism, de- tourism demand of Paraguay; the collaboration with the Spa-sign and innovation in tourism products and cooperative ventu- nish Government in a pilot project to re-design the new tourismres with developing countries. “We already have links with Indo- model on Gran Canaria according to the segment preferences:nesia and Colombia to expand our activities in Asia and South and many other projects with governments and companies suchAmerica, which relate directly to our UNESCO goals, giving an as Global - designed to create a free demonstration effect. Theinternational dimension to the institute,” León explains. bus company (Global) employs 5000 local people and is veryIndustry recognition and collaboration rank high on Leóns wish focused on social responsibility, one of the keystones of thelist. Bi-annual conferences are enhancing local awareness of institute. “In this collaboration we will have a dedicated follow-the institute’s potential with extensive media coverage. “We hold up team which evaluates every three months what’s going ontwo conferences per year, one in the summer and another at with the institute and the company. We then write up proposals Christmas when we have a festi- and apply for grants .They provide their research objectives and ve dinner,” says León. “However, what they want us to focus our researchers and PhD students this is a difficult task as we’re on,” says León. Companies that collaborate with the center can finding people are too busy with also contribute funding for specific projects but TIDES has al- the economic crisis, they don’t ready succeeded in gaining grants with mainland Spain and the have time to think. They know Canary Island government as well as developing countries such the information and knowledge as Morocco, Colombia and Guatemala. Dr Teresa Aguiar Quintana is the industry liaison for TIDES, responsible for spreading the word about their research objectives. “She is very good at making contacts, talking to industry leaders and trying to communicate that we’re there and can provide them with a service,” says León. The university-industry relationship would not be primarily about money as the center has funding and the scope to apply for further grants - “It is more a question of two-way information channeling and time,” he explains. 1/2
  2. 2. One of the center’s ambitions is to transfer their research anddata to local Canary Islanders, providing a knowledge baseand experience to enable cooperative tourism development inthe islands as well as with other countries. León also plans toreach out to universities in North America for collaborative pro-jects and grants on projects such as a tourism incubator. Tidesis also leading some tourism projects into the Campus de ex-celencia as a recognition from Universidad de Las Palmas deGran Canaria for their merits in tourism.With social media the latest business buzzword for advertisingnew endeavors, León is intending to explore the possibilitiesof social media marketing to raise the institutes profile: “I hopeonce we have the website in operation it will be the first step insocial media marketing, both internally and externally.”INSTITUTE / +34 928 458 216Instituto Universitario de Turismo y Desarrollo Económico Sostenible (TiDES)Parque Científico y Tecnológico, Polivalente II, Despacho 101, Tercera plantaUniversidad de Las Palmas de Gran CanariaBeing a recognized research center is important, buttransferring this knowledge to society and industry isour responsibility.LouiseHudson Louise Hudson is a freelance writer for a variety of print and online publications including the Calgary Sun and Canoe Group, Calgary Herald and group, Globe and Mail, Dreamscapes Magazine, Dallas Morning News, More Magazine (Canada), The State Media (South Carolina), Alberta Hospitality, Verge Magazine, Opulence Magazine, Sheen Magazine, Silver Travel Advisor, Calgary’s Child, AlbertaParent and She is the co-author of the book “Golf Tourism” published by Goodfellows UK and is currently writing another book on customer service. 803 708 2772 2/2