press release
Published: 27 February 2020

Professor Xavier Font awarded prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to help drive more sustainable tourism

Professor Xavier Font, Director of the Research Centre for Sustainability and Wellbeing in the Visitor Economy and Professor of Sustainability Marketing at the University of Surrey, has been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to conduct research supporting governments and tourism bodies to improve sustainability in the travel industry.

Professor Xavier Font, who works in the University of Surrey’s world-renowned School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (SHTM), has been awarded a prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship worth €224,994 to study how governments use evidence to make better policy decisions, improving sustainability in the tourism industry. The fellowship will enable him to undertake a new research project in collaboration with Research Fellow Dr Anna Torres-Delgado from the University of Barcelona.

The fellowship will run for two years and will allow the team to analyse the processes being followed by four tourist boards in the cities of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Vienna (Austria) around sustainability indicators, assisting them in adapting the indicators to their needs, transforming their governance systems, and exploiting the competitive benefits accrued.

The research will inform a feasibility assessment to introduce sustainability indicators for 116 European destinations of the European Cities Marketing consortium. The project’s key aim is to advance the understanding of using these indicators to underpin the governance of urban tourism in particular.

This significant award acknowledges SHTM’s Research Centre for Sustainability and Wellbeing in the Visitor Economy and their outstanding contributions to sustainable tourism.

In 2018 Professor Font presented a manual on sustainable tourism indicators to the European Parliament in collaboration with European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS), and in 2019 he was awarded €23.3m by Interreg to deliver an impactful sustainable growth project to maximise experiential tourism in the French-English Channel region. He was also recently appointed to the advisory group of the Travalyst coalition, a global partnership founded by The Duke of Sussex.

Professor Graham Miller, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Professor of Sustainability and Tourism, said: “Congratulations to Professor Font - we wish him every success in the coming year. We should all be working towards making travel more sustainable for now and for future generations and Professor Font’s tireless work will certainly contribute to this positive progress.”

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