Destination Leaders Programme picks up a win at the THELMAs 

Edinburgh Napier University picked up the Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative trophy at this year’s THE Leadership and Management Awards. 

Date posted

26 June 2017


The THELMAs, now in their ninth year, recognise outstanding work across the professional services and administration of the UK’s world-leading higher education institutions.

A drive to improve the quality of leadership and collaboration in the tourism sector secured the Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative title for Edinburgh Napier University.

The Destination Leadership Programme, delivered in partnership with Scottish Enterprise, is specifically designed to “enhance the visitor experience and secure competitive advantage” for Scottish tourism. The programme runs from October to April, outside the main tourism season, and consists of four one-day workshops, three residential weekends and an assessed leadership project.

Participants have already come from tour operators, visitor attractions, festivals, events and accommodation providers. Tourism academics and professionals from across the globe have taken part as guest speakers, while partners such as Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Yacht Britannia and the National Museum of Scotland have shared their expertise or premises. The programme has also included “learning journeys” to destinations such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Manchester.

A cohort of more than 60 alumni now remain in touch through social media and frequent events. Spin-off projects include a Women in Tourism network, research into whether Edinburgh is ready to capitalise on the Chinese market and a joint marketing campaign between Edinburgh and Glasgow.

A shortened version of the programme has already been delivered in Singapore to the Association of Singapore Attractions.

The judges described the programme as “an exemplar of a university working effectively to transform a key sector in the economy through collaboration with employers”, adding that “the response of the industry itself has been extremely positive”.

THE editor John Gill said:

“Once again we've seen examples of exceptional performance in the most important areas of university leadership, management and administration. At a time of ever greater competition in higher education, our hope is that by shining a light on these winners, institutions will learn from one another to improve the quality of what they do across the board.

Anyone working in a UK university will know how dedicated and resourceful their colleagues are, but it’s our great honour to be able to showcase these examples from across the country.”