DLP course awarded ‘Leadership in the Visitor Economy: Most Innovative Project’ by the Association for Tourism in Higher Education (ATHE).
The Destination Leaders Programme (DLP) offers a unique mix of academic learning, practical skills developed through international site visits, expert input and group project development. The programme’s contribution in fostering vital leadership skills has now been recognised by tourism’s leading scholarly society.
Dr. Jane Ali-Knight, the programme's coordinator, said: "The award recognises the hard work we’ve put into developing a programme that melds academic theory and rigour with practical skills. We’re delighted with the outcomes of the DLP and are excited to see what else emerges over the coming years as a result of the enthusiasm we see from participants and our growing alumni.
"We think that the programme has an important role in developing a key sector of the Scottish economy and expect that DLP will continue to grow and evolve in step with Scotland’s tourism industry.
"DLP participants can expect to learn valuable leadership skills, make industry contacts, foster partnerships, and help the visitor economy contribute sustainable growth to their local economies."
Picture: Dr. Jane Ali-Knight accepts an award at the ATHE conference in Cardiff.
The DLP programme
For four years the DLP programme has helped to develop leadership skills for practitioners in the visitor economy. More than 60 former participants now form a network of tourism leaders across Scotland, which Dr. Ali Knight believes is an important outcome of the course.
She added: "Creating a network of professionals to facilitate collaboration and the sharing of knowledge is an important goal of the DLP programme. It ensures that the Scottish tourism industry is resilient and flexible in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive marketplace."
The DLP programme is funded by Scottish Enterprise, facilitated alongside the Scottish tourism industry, and is delivered by Edinburgh Napier, and this collaborative approach has now been recognised as an industry-leading model.
A record of success
The Scotland-wide programme has a track record of facilitating real-world, meaningful outcomes in the development of destination tourism. These include:
- An Edinburgh Welcome Project: ‘Our Edinburgh’;
- ‘Is Edinburgh Ready to Capitalise on the Chinese Market?’: Edinburgh China-Ready Group;
- ‘Highlighting the Importance of the End-to-End Customer Journey and Collaboration in a Disparate Rural Destination’: a Toolkit for Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative;
- Accessible Tourism Industry Group; and
- ‘Women in Tourism’: a group of destination leaders who work to inspire, motivate, encourage and support women across the tourism sector.
Leadership for growth
The modern tourism industry requires effective leadership for growth and the challenges within the tourism sector are wide-ranging. Edinburgh Napier’s programme confronts these challenges and equips destination leaders with the skills and approaches that are necessary to thrive in a global marketplace of travel destinations.
Tourism is expected to play an important part in the economies of a number of Scottish towns and cities, and the DLP is helping these locations build the leadership capacity to deal with the challenges and create leading tourist destinations in Scotland.
For Dr. Ali Knight, the award validates the approach Edinburgh Napier has taken with the leadership programme.
"We have received numerous industry testimonials about the value of the programme and its benefit both individually and at a destination level. We were delighted to receive this award from ATHE and The Tourism Society as it confirms its value as an educational experience and the uniqueness of the innovative blended industry/academic approach. It also further evidences how universities can work successfully with their industry colleagues and we hope to further develop the programme in Scotland and take it to other destinations in the UK and overseas."