Interview: Professor Dimitrios Buhalis
We had the great pleasure of the most interesting conversation with the renowned professor, Dr Dimitrios Buchalis. Read below the interview with the Professor presented in a transcripted form.
In addition to Strategic Management and Marketing, Professor Buhalis specialises in Information Communications Technology, Smart Environments, and Interactive Marketing. He is an expert in technology applications in the Tourism, Travel, Hospitality and Leisure industries. Presently, he is a Professor of Smart Tourism at Bournemouth University Business School and a Visiting Professor at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Among many publications in some of the most renovated institutions, he is Editor in Chief of the most established Journal in Tourism: Tourism Review, an SSCI Journal [IF=5.947] in its 77th volume, and the Editor of the Encyclopedia of Tourism Management and Marketing.
You can find his full biography and work on his website.
Always with a smile and cheerful tone, we covered a few topics of most importance to today’s happenings in travel and the tourism world.
The starting point of our conversation was the latest project by professor Buchals. The creation of the first Encyclopedia of Tourism Management and Marketing.
This impressive project is one of a kind, developed and created in collaboration with more than 1500 scholars worldwide.
The idea of the project was to create an ontology of terms related to tourism. Covering over 3000 areas, utilising many different methodologies, unites the global academia, expressed in more than 2 million worlds.
This colossal piece/publication is planned to be published in 4 months in its printed version, but also, at present, you can check the work in progress online, or if you still want to contribute to this masterpiece, you can do so, by following the link.
As professor Buhalis likes to say, the creation of this project is a journey that taught him how many unknown topics and matters are out there, ready to be explained, explored and categorised academically.
We are all looking forward to the final stages of this remarkable project.
The continued conversation led me to ask Prof. Buchalis one of the most frequently asked questions lately.
What can we expect in the Travel and Tourism industry after the Covid prolonged pandemic and the changes and influences in the latest Geo-Political crises?
In his opinion, the first and most important realisation is that the travel and tourism industry is here to stay. The will of the people to travel, move, and explore is mightier than the obstacles created by the crises. Some regions of the world felt the impact more than others.
For example, even today, Asia is mainly closed ( China and Japan), so the incoming and outgoing tourism is in stagnation, with little chance of a fast recovery. However, at the same time, the rest of the world is gradually reopening or has been open for several months.
As a result of the long-lasting crises, many governments worldwide recognised the importance and scale of the tourism industry for their economies.
Therefore, they decided to get involved in speeding up the recovery process and save the practically bankrupted sectors, like airlines or invest heavily in the destination advertising.
HR lack of resources
Another global issue that slows fast recovery is the lack of human resources. In the past two years, millions of knowledgeable and professional personnel, once fully trained and capable of servicing the tourism industry, switched their interests towards other sectors and safer environments. Unfortunately, the fast recovery only emphasises this gap, seen in many travel industry segments, especially in the airline business, event management, and hospitality.
More complicated issues are raised by the present war in Ukraine, shortage of food supply, shortage of energy supply, logistics and lack of HR. At this time, as Prof. Buchalised mentioned that we are facing the Perfect Storm.
For the travel industry to recover faster, we all need to focus on things in our hands.
There is a need for quick action. Therefore, the tourism industry must find a way to modernise, learn to adapt quickly to new technologies and adjust the product and supply based on present and future demand.
HR problem needs to be addressed as fast as possible by creating new, agile, innovative, open-minded generations, allowing them to lead the way.
At the end of our pleasant conversation, I asked the professor to share with us some advice so that we could share it with our Swiss Tourism professionals and future young minds ready to join the industry.
He expressed his admiration for the Swiss advanced technology development and implementation of innovative solutions to the known way of operations. Further, he emphasised the existing gap between the traditional way of running a travel business, with not much openmindedness for changes, especially when adopting technologies, and ignoring the changing needs of today’s clients.
He gave a few examples of his young graduate students. A few of them won prizes for innovation. Many of these young minds joined companies where they were told to follow the old ways companies operated in the past, and forget the ideas and visions they had.
After thanking the professor for this time and sharing his wisdom with us, I got a promise of a longer possibly video interview after his return to Europe at the end of the summer.
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