Centre for Competitiveness of the Visitor Economy (COVE) logo

Centre for Competitiveness of the Visitor Economy

We are addressing competitiveness issues in the visitor economy across firm, sector and destination levels.

Research aims

We aim to address equality and diversity in employment and conduct studies of future labour markets, productivity, career mobilities, skills, flexible employment and entrepreneurial migration, while examining other aspects of competitiveness at both firm and destination levels, such as advances in destination branding, visitor satisfaction, innovation, revenue management, and risk and disaster impacts.

We also aim to maintain our world-leading position in demand-forecasting research, which provides a scientific foundation to support businesses’ and governments’ decision making to improve their competitiveness.

Person carrying passport at the airport

Covid-19 research in hospitality and tourism

Our research aims to understand the needs and requirements of businesses and travellers to be able to return to a new normality when it comes to travelling and the prosperity of businesses.

Research projects

Life after-death: knowledge trajectories after innovation failure

Principal investigator: Dr Isabel Rodríguez

Start date:

End date:

Start date: January 2023

End date: December 2024

Start date: November 2022

End date: November 2022

Start date: August 2022

End date: March 2023

Start date: May 2022

End date: July 2022

Start date: March 2022

End date: June 2022

Start date: September 2021

End date: September 2022

Start date: March 2021

End date: August 2021

Start date:

End date:

Start date:

End date:

Start date:

End date:

Start date: January 2020

End date: December 2021

Start date: September 2019

End date: August 2022

Start date: January 2019

End date: September 2019

Start date: September 2018

End date: August 2020

Marketing capability of Chinese exhibitors in overseas countries

Principal investigator: Jingna Wang

Start date: July 2018

End date: July 2021

Creating the tourist satisfaction index of China inbound tourism from Britain

Start date:

End date:

Socio-economic impact of Clean Sky 1

Start date: 2016

End date: 2017

Visitor forecasting for Shanghai Disney Resort: impact on Disney’s pricing strategy

Start date: 2015

End date: 2015

Start date: August 2013

End date: March 2015

Destination branding: tourism and events in northern regions

Start date: 2013

End date: 2016

Key factors for SME competitiveness in the context of globalisation

Start date: 2013

End date: 2015

Visitor forecasts of the Asia-Pacific region

Principal investigator: Professor Haiyan Song

Start date: December 2012

End date: Ongoing

Spatial disparities in SME productivity: evidence from the service sectors in England

Principal investigators: Dr Tiwasing Tiwasing, Dr Yoo Ri Kim, Katiuscia Lavoratori, Temitope Akinremi, Diletta Pegoraro


Two women talking around table

Gender, Entrepreneurship and Social Policy Institute (GESPi)

The Gender, Entrepreneurship and Social Policy Institute aims to influence policy and social change for inclusive development in the tourism, hospitality and service-related sectors by creating networks and pathways for knowledge exchange between stakeholders.

Recent events

Webinar Tourism and Hospitality Forecasting in Turbulent Times

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

21:30-23:00 (Beijing, GMT+8) | 14:30-16:00 (London, BST) | 9:30-11:00 (New York, GMT-4)

Co-organized by:

  • Tourism and Hospitality Section, International Institute of Forecasters
  • Centre for Competitiveness of the Visitor Economy, University of Surrey

Opening Speeches by:

  • Prof Doris Chenguang Wu, Sun Yat-sen University (China)
  • Prof Gang Li, University of Surrey (UK)

Speech 1:Forecasting tourism demand amid COVID-19 by:

  • Prof Haiyan Song, The Hong Polytechnic University

Speech 2: The hotel demand forecast under critical situations by:

  • Jesse Zhao, Senior Regional Director of Finance of Hilton China

Speech 3:Judgementally adjusted model-based forecasts of visitor arrivals during COVID-19 by:

  • Prof Andrea Saayman, North-West University (NWU), South Africa

Speech 4: Diverse recovery of the global hotel industry by:

  • Steve Hood, Senior Vice President of Research for the SHARE
    Center, STR

Speech 5: Timing matters: Crisis severity and occupancy rate forecasts in social unrest periods by:

  • Anyu Liu, Senior Lecturer, University of Surrey

Moderator: Ulrich Gunter, Associate Professor MODUL University of Vienna

Watch the full webinar

Past events

IATE Research Webinar: Tourism Forecasting Competition amid COVID-19

Thursday, 29April 2021

09:00am (UK) which corresponds to 4:00am (New York); 5:00am (Argentina); 10:00am (France/Italy/France); 4:00pm (Hong Kong); 6:00pm (in Sydney); 8:00pm (NZ/Fiji)

Organized by:

  • The International Association for Tourism Economics (IATE)

Supported by:

  • Centre for Competitiveness of the Visitor Economy (COVE) of the University of Surrey.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the tourism industry. When the tourist market will recover remains unknown. Accurate forecasting of the full scale of the impact on the tourism industry and market recovery is critical for strategic planning by tourist destinations and tourism-related businesses. Against this background, the Curated Collection of Annals of Tourism Research on Tourism Forecasting called for a tourism forecasting competition in July 2020. Nineteen researchers, most of them are members of the International Association for Tourism Economics (IATE) from around the world expressed interest and formed three competing teams: Asia Pacific, Europe, and Africa. Their reports on the forecasting results are published in a special collection of the Curated Collection of Tourism Demand Forecasting of the Annals of Tourism Research.

The purpose of this webinar is to disseminate the forecasting competition results with a view to encouraging further research on tourism demand forecasting during major crises. Three participating teams will present the forecasting methods used and results obtained in the forecasting completion.


Moderator: Haiyan Song, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR

09:00-09:10am:  Introduction to the Tourism Forecasting Competition Exercise

Gang Li: University of Surrey, UK

09:10-09:30am:   Perspective of the Africa Team

Andrea Saayman: North-West University, South Africa

Nikolaos Kourentzes: Skövde University, Sweden

09:30-09:50am:  Perspective of the Asia and Pacific Team

Doris Wu: Sun Yat-sen University, China

Richard Qiu: University of Macau, Macau SAR

09:50-10:10am:  Perspective of the Europe Team

Laura Vici:  University of Bologna, Italy

Vicente Ramos: University of the Balearic Islands, Spain

10:10-10:30am: Q&A

Watch the full webinar

The future of destinations online forum

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to have devastating impacts on destinations, governments and destinations have taken action to restore and invigorate the sector. This seminar drawing upon industry and academic insights aimed to consider what the impacts of the pandemic have been and how destinations are able to reposition visitor experiences during times of continued uncertainty whilst planning for the future.

Our panel of distinguished industry speakers included:

Our panel of Surrey academic speakers included:

  • Yoo Ri Kim
  • Brigitte Stangl
  • Husna Zainal Abidin

WomENt  Webinar Women’s journeys through entrepreneurship in the tourism and hospitality industry”

This webinar was hosted by the EU-funded project WomENt (www.woment2020.eu) and the University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management: specifically our Centre for Competitiveness of the Visitor Economy (COVE) and the Centre for Sustainability and Wellbeing in the Visitor Economy (SWELL). This brought together academics and entrepreneurs from the tourism industry to discuss the changing and increasingly pressing gender and entrepreneurship research agenda:

  • Setting the scene: Women and Entrepreneurship in Tourism.  Dr Cristina Figueroa Domecq. University of Surrey.
  • Female entrepreneurship in the COVID-19 era.  Alessandra Alonso. Founder & CEO. Women in Travel.
  • Women, technology and entrepreneurship. Patricia Gonzalez. Founder and CEO. Alterhome.
  • Re-evaluating the benefits of women's entrepreneurship: Is it time to reconsider? Prof. Susan Marlow. University of Nottingham.
  • A Feminist Research Agenda in Tourism. Dr Ana Maria Munar. Copenhagen Business School.
  • MODERATED by Prof. Allan Williams. Chair of Tourism and Mobility Studies. University of Surrey.
Surrey perspectives

Webinar Tourism Recovery and Competitiveness: Surrey Perspectives

Our Centre hosted on Friday 11th September 2020 the Webinar: “Tourism Recovery and Competitiveness: Surrey Perspectives”, to share with international academics and students our research on the impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality and tourism sector and possible pathways to tourism recovery. The topics covered included:

  • Tourism intentions, risk and uncertainty
  • Impact of fiscal policy on tourism productivity and recovery
  • Impacts on hospitality workforce: Resilience and recovery
  • Impact on air transport passenger markets: Evidence from the Chinese market

Watch the COVE webinar in full.

See the news covering the event

Cove webinar

Webinar Secondary data collection and analysis in tourism research

Our Centre jointly organised the above webinar with the U.S.-Asia Center for Tourism and Hospitality Research at Temple University and on the 4 August. Four internationally-recognised scholars:

  • Dr Yang Yang from Temple University
  • Dr Frankie O’Connell from the University of Surrey
  • Prof Nicolas Peypoch from the University of Perpignan
  • Dr Bozana Zekan from Modul University Vienna

Shared their research experiences with over 230 attendees on Zoom. The webinar was broadcasted live on YouTube as well. It was co-moderated by Prof Gang Li, Director of CoVE and Prof Robert Li from Temple University.

The recorded webinar video and presentation slides of the speakers are available from Temple University’s U.S.-Asia Center for Tourism and Hospitality Research’s website: under 'past events.'

Find an expert


Jason Chen profile image

Dr Jason Chen

Associate Professor in Tourism and Events Management, Director of Postgraduate Research

Anita Eves profile image

Professor Anita Eves

Professor of Hospitality Management

Marion Karl profile image

Dr Marion Karl

Senior Lecturer in Tourism Marketing and Management

Yoo Ri Kim profile image

Dr Yoo Ri Kim

Senior Lecturer

Bora Kim profile image

Dr Bora Kim

Senior Lecturer in Hospitality Management; Co-Director of Learning and Teaching; Program Director for BSc IHM and IHTM

Albert Kimbu profile image

Dr Albert Kimbu

Reader, Head of Department of Tourism and Transport

Yanning Li profile image

Dr Yanning Li

Senior Lecturer in Events Management

Hongbo (Daisy) Liu profile image

Dr Daisy Liu

Senior Lecturer in Hospitality

Nigel Morgan profile image

Professor Nigel Morgan

Professor of Social Sustainability

Frankie O'Connell profile image

Dr Frankie O'Connell

Reader in Air Transport Management

Sumeetra Ramakrishnan (née Thozhur) profile image

Dr Sumeetra Ramakrishnan

Senior Teaching Fellow

Emma Reardon profile image

Dr Emma Reardon

Senior Lecturer in Hospitality Management

Brigitte Stangl profile image

Dr Brigitte Stangl

Senior Lecturer in Tourism, Director of Communications, Acting Director of the Centre for Digital Transformation in the Visitor Economy

Xuan (Lorna) Wang profile image

Dr Lorna Wang

Deputy Head, Department of Hospitality

Allan Williams profile image

Professor Allan Williams

Chair in Tourism and Mobility Studies

Shi (Tracy) Xu profile image

Dr Tracy Xu

Associate Professor in Hospitality

Jihwan Yeon profile image

Dr Jihwan Yeon

Lecturer in Hospitality Management

Surrey Affiliated Members

Irem Bozbay profile image

Dr Irem Bozbay

Senior Lecturer in Economics

Cristina Figueroa Domecq profile image

Dr Cristina Figueroa Domecq

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos I

Ying Zhou profile image

Professor Ying Zhou

Professor of Human Resource Management; Director of Future of Work Research Centre

Postgraduate research students

Elizabeth Ashcroft profile image

Elizabeth Ashcroft

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and Associate Lecturer

Sara Dalir profile image

Sara Dalir

PhD researcher

Marietta Fragkogianni profile image

Marietta Fragkogianni

Postgraduate Research Student

Nusrat Jahan profile image

Nusrat Jahan

PhD Researcher

Yu Li profile image

Kevin Li

PhD Researcher

Wenliang (Max) Li profile image

Max Li

PhD Researcher

Tingyu Liang profile image

Tingyu Liang

PhD Researcher

Gabrielle Lin profile image

Gabrielle Lin

PhD Researcher

Adrienne Liu profile image

Adrienne Liu

PhD Researcher

Xinyang (Allen) Liu profile image

Xinyang Liu

Postgraduate Research Student

Darina Svobodova profile image

Darina Svobodova

PhD Researcher

Sofie Voss profile image

Sofie Voss

Postgraduate Research Student

Yiqi Wang profile image

Yiqi Wang

Postgraduate Research Student

Zhenni Wu profile image

Zhenni Wu

PhD researcher

Xiaoyi Xu profile image

Xiaoyi Xu

Postgraduate Research Student

Min Jung You

Postgraduate Research Student

Yang Yu

Postgraduate Research Student