A new and unique international research centre has been launched by Leeds Metropolitan University, Yunnan Normal University and Yunnan Education Centre for International Exchange in China.

The Sino-UK Centre for Research in Events and Tourism (SUCRET) is the first of its kind to be established between a UK university and a Chinese counterpart.

Led by Professor Rhodri Thomas, Dr ShiNa Li and Visiting Professor Yunfang Li for Leeds Metropolitan, SUCRET will invest in academic exchanges, international research projects in events and tourism, industry training and consultancy and joint postgraduate courses in the UK and China through both full-time and distance learning.

The research centre is also beginning plans to host an international conference on sustainable tourism and events planning policy in October 2014 in Yunnan.

Professor Thomas, Director of the International Centre for Tourism, Events and Hospitality (ICRETH), commented: "We have ambitious plans that will - by bringing together our collective expertise - enable us to undertake pioneering projects and act as a conduit for informing the work of Chinese and British government departments, NGOs and businesses."

Leeds Metropolitan University will be contributing the specialist expertise of ICRETH in the areas of responsible management of tourism and events and the evaluation of the impact and implications of tourism and events.

SUCRET has evolved from work undertaken by Dr ShiNa Li in Kunming over the last two years and includes of a number of academic experts in the fields of events and tourism at Leeds Met and several universities and research institutes at Yunnan Province. Academics from leading UK Chinese research centres and representatives from NGOs (including the Head of Tourism at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Chief Executive of the British Chinese Business Association have also been recruited to sit on the advisory board.

The press conference for the inauguration of Sino-UK Centre for Research in Events and Tourism (SUCRET) was held at Kunming, Yunnan Province, China on 8 November 2013. The launch news has been widely reported in a number of famous news webpages such as China Daily (one of the most influential newspapers in China), Yunnan Reporter Station of Xihua News Agency, Yunnan Daily, Chun Cheng Evening News, China Tour, Phoenix New Media in China. Hong Kong, and Taiwan news have also covered the conference

The latest findings from a report into future trends in the meetings and events industry is to be presented to industry leaders by a Leeds Met researcher.

Jackie Mulligan, Principal Lecturer from the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality, will be presenting the latest findings from a new future trends report to industry leaders at EIBTM, the global meetings and events expo, which runs from 19 -21 November.

Jackie will be presenting findings on social changes, in particular generational differences,at the industry tradeshow. The presentation will draw on the latest research report - Future of Meetings: The bottom line - which brings together the findings from insights from over 1600 delegates from four continents alongside expert insights.

As Jackie explains: "I am very much looking forward to discussing the research with practitioners and considering the actions in event design and communication that should support businesses to be future-ready".

The full research alongside the latest report that has been funded by the MPI Foundation is available on www.mpiweb.org/FOM - Details of her session entitled Talking generations can be found here.

Earlier this year research carried out by academics at Leeds Met revealed that the UK meeting industry generates 3x more GDP than agriculture and the equivalent of 1 million full-time jobs.

The research revealed that:

. The UK meeting industry delivers £58.4 billion to the UK's gross domestic product (GDP) - making a contribution three times greater than agriculture to the country's economy.

. The meeting industry is the UK's 16th largest employer with more than 515,000 individuals directly employed - double that of the telecoms industry.

. Including indirect employment, the meeting industry generates more than 1 million full-time equivalent jobs.

. Meetings made a direct gross value added (GVA) contribution of £20.6 billion -more than legal services, accountancy or broadcasting.

. The meeting industry contributed £21.1 billion in taxes to the economy.

. When combined, the space occupied by the 10,000 venues in the UK is the equivalent of 6,000 football pitches and capable of seating 13.5% of the population at any one time.

Martin Green, Head of Ceremonies for London 2012, visited first year Events Management students to speak about the challenges and triumphs of staging world class events.

The event comes as part of a series of guest lectures designed to aid students with their industry knowledge and development.

Student Emily Ratcliffe said: "I felt incredibly honoured to have Martin green as a guest speaker, which in itself shows the sort of opportunities that Leeds Met can provide for us. Martin is a very influential person and has some hugely inspiring anecdotes. I have learnt that it is vastly important to enjoy your work and have realised that almost anything is possible if you have the drive and commitment to make it a reality."

Martin, who is also going to be involved in next year's Grand Depart in Yorkshire said: "I took the students through the challenges and triumphs of staging the opening and closing ceremonies on the Olympic Games, for which I was Head of Ceremonies. I hoped to inspire them as first years embarking on their events career that everything really was possible and give them some pragmatic tools for success."

He continued: "As someone who started their career in teaching I have always endeavoured to accept invitations to lecture, in the hope that I may pass on what I have learnt through a very exciting career thus far. I have been to Leeds Met a few times now and always find the students engaged and energetic."

Speaking about the event, Emily said: "It has already started to benefit my course as I have felt a lot more drive to begin to seek out work experience and to attend events which will help me with my future career. It's great that our tutors are brimming with expertise and are more than willing to help with anything. The course has already provided us with the opportunity to travel to Edinburgh and look around some of the top venues and experience some of the evening events around the city ourselves. "We are currently planning our own large events for one of our modules which I am very much enjoying as it has provided us with a chance to sift out our strengths and weaknesses so we can work on ourselves as an Event Manager and let our creative juices flow."

Senior Lecturer Sharon McElhinney said: "From my point of view it is excellent for us to have such a high profile speaker for the students. Martin provided a really inspirational talk to students who are just starting out on the events career ladder and offered them an insight into where they could be with some hard work and passion for the industry. Industry speakers help the students to understand how their classroom teaching and activities will help them achieve their industry goals. Speakers have the ability to bring the case studies we use to life for students."

Martin Green is the first in a series of guest speakers who are visiting our University to talk to first year BA (Hons) Events Management students and which will also include Randle Stonier, CEO Adding Value, Sarah Longland, Senior Account Manager for Universal World Events and Paul Simcox, Volunteer & Charity Manager at Tough Mudder.

A Leeds Metropolitan University student and graduate are set for Shanghai after winning scholarships to travel there to attend an international conference.

Elissar Shalhoub, an MSc International Events Management student and an alumnus of the same course, Yanning Li, will attend the 52nd International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) conference in China running from November 2-6.

The duo will have the costs of their fees, flights and accommodation covered during the conference by the ICCA.

Rhodri Thomas, Leeds Met's Professor in Events Tourism and Hospitality, will be travelling with them and will be the keynote speaker during the conference at the Best Cities Global Alliance Knowledge Exchange event where he will be discussing ways of maximising the benefits of events portfolios for global cities.

He commented: "This is a fantastic opportunity for Elissa and Yanning, who both competed with many others studying events management at an advanced level to win these scholarships. The conference in Shanghai will provide them with an excellent opportunity to learn from senior practitioners and to strengthen their networking skills and contacts.

"This achievement shows Leeds Metropolitan University is a leader in this area of work, building on the sustained success of the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality colleagues in securing major international research and evaluation projects concerned with various aspects of event management. It also shows that we make connections between our practitioner networks and our students."

Groundbreaking research findings from the International Centre for Research in Events, Tourism and Hospitality (ICRETH) at Leeds Met has been presented by Dr Eliza Hixson at the IMEX America in Las Vegas this week.

The Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) project has formed part of a larger project undertaken by ICRETH colleagues and commissioned by Meeting professionals International (MPI). The project also included the UK Economic Impact study which concluded in July this year.

The goal of the research was to gain a deeper understanding of SMM as a disciplined approach to managing enterprise-wide meeting and event activities, processes, suppliers and data. Specifically, the researchers evaluated how SMM has evolved as well as the implications and opportunities for future applications.

 

The SMM concept was first introduced more than a decade ago as businesses strove to manage costs and mitigate risk. That need grew throughout the recent recession a few years ago. However, as SMM programs matured, businesses found that they also proved useful in designing events that meet organization-wide goals and for improving the delegate and stakeholder experience.

 

Including examples from Tesco's SMM programme - which led to cost savings and consolidation of events suppliers from 100 to six - the new research evaluates opportunities for future benefits.

The report found that successful SMM can engage attendees before, during and after the meeting is over, but must be backed up by support from throughout a business.

It also found that creating and nurturing business partnerships is an increasingly important aspect to SMM in helping to reduce risk, garner better service and improve negotiating power.

Dr Eliza Hixson at ICRETH commented: "Many larger organisations are moving towards mature SMM programmes. We can see benefits expanding from simply cost consolidation to one more focused on the participant experience."

To access the research report and additional SMM resources, visit www.mpiweb.org/smm