28 August 2020

In conversation with Brendan Moffett, Director of the Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism at the University of Derby: Our partnership with the Gateway at PEAK.

We recently announced that we would be partnering with the University of Derby, amongst other strategic partners, on our Gateway project in the Peak District. We talk to Brendan Moffett, where he explains more about how the project will deliver a wide range of research, innovation and applied learning opportunities.

“As the Hospitality and Tourism sectors go through a period of post Covid-19 reinvention, there will be a need to embrace new business models with sustainability and technological innovation embedded. The University is positioning itself to be future focussed and at the forefront of innovation and problem solving to help the sector to recover and build resilience for the future.

“The University of Derby already has a strong reputation in the delivery of hospitality and tourism education and from this September our new intake of students will be housed within the business school to enable us to support the industry and develop the next generation of leaders.

“Partnering with Milligan and Birchall Properties on the Gateway at PEAK presents a once in a generation opportunity to create an exemplar of sustainable tourism at a time when consumers and visitors are becoming more aware of the impact of their actions.

“We’ve seen an upsurge in staycations and domestic tourism from a wide demographic and we need to develop best practice models for how this will be managed to protect the natural environment. The University is keen to support a Sustainable Tourism Development approach where the Peak District and Derbyshire can retain the economic and social advantages of tourism whilst reducing or mitigating any negative impacts on the natural, cultural or social environment.

“We believe this project is at the heart of national policy on Tourism. In 2019 the Government announced a Tourism Sector Deal with the aspiration to improve connectivity, accommodation and grow off-peak visits through the creation of ‘tourism action zones,’ so we believe this project is the perfect test bed for such a strategy.

“For our students, this will be a live project, adding value to their courses and the project itself will have access to the latest thinking and research via the University’s research specialisms in ‘business improvement’ and ‘sustainable development’.

“Research will help us to understand the seismic shifts we are seeing in consumer values, behaviours, and expectations when it comes to sustainability and responsible tourism. Great service, unique experiences and personalisation are now core to these expectations, but add to that the new challenges for increased hygiene and safety, and it is clear we need to operate very differently and evolve current operating models.

“Tomorrow’s visitor will increasingly make decisions about where and how they travel and what they buy and consume based on the environmental and community impact, leading to a preference for locally sourced products and authentic experiences. The Gateway at PEAK project is a hugely exciting opportunity to completely re-imagine what such an offer should look like and will be at the heart of a world class visitor economy for the region.”