Teresa Aguiar Quintana is a full-time professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) in the Economics, Business and Tourism Faculty in Gran Canaria since 2007. She also is Vicepresident of ITSA, the International Tourism Studies Association for the European Mediterranean area.

“ITSA is uniquely devoted to scholarly exchange between researchers and practitioners focusing on the growth of tourism worldwide, especially in Asia. Founded in 2006 in Hangzhou, China, ITSA now has offices in London and Shanghai.

The organization is committed to developing a global tourism leadership forum that facilitates improvements in global hospitality and tourism.” (from ITSA website)

Teresa shares insights here about an interesting global research project, covering (tourism-related) service companies involved in the wider tourism sector in their post-pandemic strive for change and improvement. As true drivers of economy, service companies are the backbone of both tourism and MICE-related services – with many overlaps when it comes to infrastructural and process-driven improvements.

The “tourism” system is constituted in a complex manner with the territory being both part of the product and at the same time affected most by the product. The research project is therefore relevant to both the development of the international meetings-, and the tourism industry services.

A cross-country analysis on corporate entrepreneurship in the Tourism Sector in 5 continents

Studies on sustainable economic development and best cases of medium and smaller entrepreneurship in tourism are rare – existing research mainly focuses around global hotel chains sponsoring many of the research projects. The findings there are not necessarily relevant for smaller entrepreneurs to find the best way in the present jungle of disruption.

Existing services need to be studied for their impact on both destination and on effects to visitors and their experiences: agriculture and ocean based production of great and unique food products, wines, guest hosting and company visits – private as well as public or governmental organizations – to learn and exchange knowledge or to collaborate with local partners as an investor. Pretty many areas are touched by the economic and sustainable “tourism” development.

ITSA is based on a network of universities worldwide – all of them collaborate when it comes to research into sustainable and economic development of tourism. The association will bring their annual conference to Gran Canaria in 2022 with Teresa being the local host. The last such congress took place in South Africa in 2018, due to COVID-19 the 2020 event was cancelled.

(More about the conference and their objectives and education program here at a later stage).

In Europe there will be 50 universities participating in the survey (28 in Spain, 22 in the rest of Europe). Other continents working on the study are Canada, Africa, Latin Americas, Asia and Australia -in total it will be 61 universities around the world involved in the project.

The case studies from Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands will be included in the book of the 5 continents, which is scheduled for publication and presentation at the ITSA conference in Gran Canaria (next July). The ITSA 2022 conference will take place from the 25th to 31st July 2022 in Gran Canaria island (Spain).

It is important for the post-pandemic revival of the industry to address issues of interest seen from the perspective of its key players – in the field of food suppliers, construction, technology, transport, hotels, apartments, lodges, travel agencies, DMCs, restaurants, theme parks, rural and sports business, companies providing medical and professional services and other countless local activities and initiatives.

On top of this analysis, Teresa is currently making a research with MICE supplying service companies in Gran Canaria. She is focusing on determining the total number of MICE events developed by each member of the Gran Canaria Convention Bureau in order to quantify the importance of this segment and to estimate the economic impact of MICE activities in Gran Canaria in 2019 (before the Covid-19 pandemic). This study includes the analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the MICE product/segment from the supplier perspective during 2021 (accommodation managers, conference venues managers, catering directors, travel agencies and all persons in charge of businesses related to meetings, incentives, conference and events (=MICE industry). Her research also includes the perception of these key players about:

1) the adaptation of the events for 2021 and 2022,

2) the delegates’ change of behaviour,

3) actions proposed from the suppliers side to improve the competitive conditions of the destination and to improve the MICE segment in Gran Canaria.

Short curriculum Teresa Aguiar 2021 in english


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Text: Johanna Fischer, tmf dialogue Knowledge Destinations