Professor Xavier Font
I develop creative methods of sustainable tourism production and consumption for the tourism and hospitality industries. I have conducted around 150 courses for more than 3000 businesses on how to market and communicate sustainability, commissioned by the UNWTO, European Commission, national tourist boards, national parks, industry associations and businesses in over 15 countries, as well as numerous reports to promote pro-sustainable behaviour in tourism businesses for UNEP, UNWTO, UNCTAD, UNDP, VisitEngland, VisitWales, Fáilte Ireland, Fair Trade Tourism South Africa, the Catalan Tourist Board, WWF, Travel Foundation, and others. I have thoroughly enjoyed my consultancy projects, which include writing the feasibility study for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council; the development and operating a single process of accreditation of sustainable tourism certification programmes for VisitEngland, VisitWales, and Northern Ireland Tourist Board; the development of a methodology to improve the project management of sustainable tourism projects based on Prince2; the analysis of the market for sustainable tourism and gap analysis for the Chilean industry to develop a sustainable tourism industry; an advisory role for the Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism to identify sustainable tourism project evaluation criteria for UNEP; the design and consultation of the European Charter for tourism in protected areas certification criteria and accreditation procedures for Europarc Federation; Monitoring and evaluation of an online marketing tool to promote sustainable development for the International Finance Corporation- World Bank group; the feasibility study for a Fair trade tourism standard and label for the Fair Trade Labelling Organisation; and a sustainable supply chain management demonstration project for European tour operators and certified accommodation suppliers funded by EU LIFE; amongst others.
I enjoy writing journal articles that provide rigour and reflection to the industry impact of my consultancy. I write about different aspects of sustainability marketing; corporate social responsibility and corporate social reporting; the relation between sustainability motivations, practices and learning; sustainable supply chain management; and I am the most published academic on sustainable tourism certification. I am the co-editor of the Journal of Sustainable Tourism (ABS 3*). To date I have supervised 17 PhD students to completion and examined 24. I am looking forward to supervising new PhD students.
Since September 2019, I am the Principal Investigator for the University of Surrey in a €23.5m Interreg funded project to reduce winter seasonality in the UK and France by supporting the development of experiential, sustainable tourism offer that improves the economy, contributes to healthy communities and preserves the environment. I contribute in the Global Challenges Research Fund project to reduce water consumption in hotels in the Dominican Republic, in partnership with Aguardio. During 2020 I was contracted by the European Commission to organise the stakeholder consultation for the European Tourism Convention, and to prepare a report to inform EC policy on sustainable tourism measurement methods. Between 2017 and 2020, I delivered a sustainability pledge system for members of the specialist travel association AITO that is more creative and engaging for consumers than traditional sustainability certification approaches, which is providing detailed evidence of the process of sustainability decision-making by businesses.
MAN1109 Sustainable tourism and transport
MAN3130 Sustainable operations management
PhD research seminars
Director of SWELL: Centre for Sustainability and Well-being in the Visitor Economy
Member of the Independent Advisory Group, Travalyst
Head of Impact of Travindy
European Commission contracts Surrey staff to manage stakeholder consultation for the European Tourism Convention
Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management teams up with UNWTO and the G20 to foster sustainable and inclusive tourism
Professor Xavier Font awarded prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to help drive more sustainable tourism
University of Surrey’s Professor Xavier Font appointed to Duke of Sussex’s new Travalyst coalition to promote sustainable travel
€23.3m sustainability project to boost low season travel in the French-English Channel
In the media
This project contributes to realise the potential of common natural and cultural assets to deliver innovative and sustainable growth in the French-English Channel (FCE) region. With a budget over €23m, to our knowledge, this is the largest sustainable tourism project ever funded by the European Commission, and will provide an excellent platform for experimentation and data collection. The project will contribute to reduce seasonality in the Oct-March period by supporting the development of experiential, sustainable tourism offer that improves the economy, contributes to healthy communities and preserves the environment. To break the cycle and successfully extend the season, EXPERIENCE will develop a new tourism strategy to tackle all the challenges at once. We will capitalise on successes with experiential tourism observed in other countries. We will apply this to the FCE region to attract off-season visitors. The new strategy is composed of 5 delivery plans designed to break existing tourism convention and bring global innovation in season extension to our region. We will:
- Unite and train traditional (tourism offices) and atypical actors (foresters/artisans) to recognise unique regional tourism selling points
- Create new off-season tourism offer, harnessing regional selling points to create exciting itineraries
- Adapt regional summer tourism infrastructure for off-season use
- Promote the FCE region for experiential tourism Oct-Mar
- Ensure offer is demand-driven for continued off-season visitors growth in FCE region
Postgraduate research supervision
I supervise postgraduate research students on topics relating to sustainable production and consumption, and the design and evaluation of sustainable tourism policies. I am looking forward to accepting new PhD students to start from September 2022.
I enjoy teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels: there is something very exciting about teaching our first year students, who are passionate about learning and keen to absorb all sorts of new ideas. Our final year students are capable of producing outstanding pieces of work that are of relevance to daily sustainability operations. And our postgraduate students bring a wealth of international examples to the classroom that allows us to question much theory and makes us reflect on the need for culturally sensitive transfer of sustainability practices.