Isabel studied Tourism Management as an undergraduate at the University of Alicante followed by a postgraduate degree in Tourism Management and Planning. After the masters' graduation she was awarded a one-year grant by Tourspain, the public institution responsible for promoting Spain abroad, specifically to work at the Spanish Tourism Office in London. She then worked for the private sector as consultant in a tourism consultancy firm. In 2005 she returned to the University of Alicante, specifically to the Tourism Research Institute, a multidisciplinary research centre in tourism to work as a research assistant in multiple projects. From 2009 until 2012 she was co-coordinator of a number of projects awarded by the Spanish National R&D&I Plan dedicated to the renovation and innovation of mature tourism destinations, tourism clusters and innovation. In 2012 she embarked on an academic career as a PhD student with the support of a doctoral research grant from the University of Alicante. The main objective of her research was to gain insight into the innovation outcomes of the tourism policy process. The thesis focused on the historical analysis over innovation as part and outcome of tourism policies, a study of innovative cluster policies, and a highly specific policy, Emprendetur, to support innovative start-up companies. She joined the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in June 2016.
Isabel's research interests throughout her academic career have focused on broad aspects of tourism, mainly tourism planning and policy issues at multiple geographical scales and settings and more recently on innovation studies. She has long had an interest in working across the border between academia and practice and collaborating with non-academic bodies and public organizations in applied research. With the support of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie action (MSCA) from the European Union within the next two years the focus of her research will be tourism innovation.
Current Project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions
This study seeks to bridge the conceptualization of innovation and entrepreneurship, analyse the entrepreneurial practices leading to tourism innovation in two different countries, and contribute to the design of more effective policies to enhance innovation practices across the EU. Specifically the project will address three main objectives which will be achieved using a mixed method research, involving both qualitative and quantitative approaches:
1) Understand tourism entrepreneurs' innovation journey, analysing key aspects of the process (resources, facilitators and barriers at different stages) and how these differ in contrasting economic and institutional environments in Spain and the UK.
2) Analyse the development and performance patterns of young innovative entrepreneurs in tourism through a longitudinal study in Spain, specifically focusing on the determinants of innovation success or failure beyond the startup phase.
3) Inform policy guidelines and business practices through co-production of applied knowledge and guidelines with entrepreneurs identified during the research, and via secondments with policy and practice partner organisations.
Professors Allan Williams (University of Surrey) and Michael Hall (University of Canterbury, New Zealand) on tourism innovation cluster policies.
Professor Fernando Vera (University of Alicante) on tourism planning, evolution and renovation strategies of mature tourism destinations.
Dr Maria Velasco (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) on tourism policy and innovation in Spain.
Dr Paz Such (University of Alicante) on strategies of renovation in mature tourism destinations and nature-based tourism product diversification strategies.
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