Roughly 800,000 people flooded Philadelphia in late September for a visit from Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families, a global gathering of Catholics.
So… now what?
An event jointly sponsored by Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) and Temple’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) considered that very question.
Gathering Philadelphia’s leading minds in tourism, international business, and government at its event, titled, “The World Meeting of Families is Gone: Now What?”, STHM and CIBER aimed to address how Philadelphia could leverage the international exposure and media focus it received from the World Meeting of Families in order to further its status as an elite host for future global events.
“This was our finest hour and it can be again,” said Pat Ciarrocchi, the event’s keynote speaker and a longtime Philadelphia news anchor who covered the World Meeting of Families.
“The World Meeting of Families brought Pope Francis to Philadelphia and, along with him, more than 15,000 reporters representing media outlets from around the world,” said Dr. Elizabeth H. Barber, STHM Associate Dean. “This event generated an unparalleled level of visibility to viewing audiences that wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to what Philadelphia has to offer. In order to best capitalize on the tourism opportunity created by the World Meeting of Families, we as a city will need to maintain the open dialogue we’re initiating today through this event.”
In examining the future of a post-Pope Francis Philadelphia, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) CEO and President Jack Ferguson nodded to the efforts by Desiree Peterkin Bell, director of communications for the Office of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, the Mayor’s Office, and Visit Philadelphia in building upon the city’s strengths.
“We can dissect this forever, but what we will learn is what works,” Ferguson said.
In the days and weeks following the WMOF, Ferguson said he observed how the event boosted the reputation of the city’s businesses, for how well they worked with a large influx of tourist traffic. This positive interaction, Ferguson said, won over consumers.
To do that, Meryl Levitz said she designed a faith-based marketing strategy that invited those looking for love and family with the pope to experience it in Center City, too.
“We watched, we listened, and we helped tell Philadelphia’s story,” said Levitz, CEO and President of Visit Philadelphia of the campaign that featured local catholic organizations, bible studies and family-friendly events.
For Brian Said, executive director of the Tourism Division of PHLCVB, Bell’s efforts to remove the walls between the pope and those wishing to see him resonated with Philadelphia’s foreign visitors. Accessibility to Pope Francis, according to Said, was what put Philadelphia on the map as a global city that is welcoming to all.
“We cannot arm-wrestle New York, and we cannot arm wrestle D.C.,” he said. “We have to work together to show Philadelphia is both safe and fun.”
Zabeth Teelucksingh, executive director for Global Philadelphia, looks forward to that “next great event,” as Ferguson called it. Global Philadelphia works to show foreign travelers the city’s significance as a birthplace of democracy and innovation. Philadelphia has the potential to be the next World Heritage City, which Teelucksingh said is a highly marketable title in countries looking to experience a quintessentially America city. Should Philadelphia become the next World Heritage City, it will enjoy increased property value, stature and economic gains, Teelucksingh said.
All of the event’s panelists agreed that the city’s next steps must be geared toward reminding the world that Philadelphia has successfully managed a world-class event once, and is capable of doing so yet again.
“No one else could have been at the helm of this event,” Bell said. “We’ve done big events and we do big events well. We’re on the map.”
During a 20-year span, from 1994 to 2013, Chinese outbound tourism increased 16 fold, reaching 98.2 million.
A new book that details the latest trends in outbound travel from China has been published, with Dr. Xiang (Robert) Li of Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) serving as its editor.
Professor of Tourism and Hospitality Management at STHM, Li acted as the primary editor of the 23-chapter book, titled “Chinese Outbound Tourism 2.0.” The book, published in November 2015 by Apple Academic Press, melds the world’s leading authors and tourism experts to examine their research findings and offer insights on the blossoming Chinese outbound travel market and its tourists.
“Chinese outbound tourism is changing the world’s tourism landscape,” said Li, a Washburn Senior Research Fellow at Temple University. “We are witnessing one of the most spectacular phenomena in the modern tourism history unfold in front of us. It is exciting to study the Chinese outbound tourism. ”
“Chinese Outbound Tourism 2.0” appeals to a wide audience of academics, destination marketers, destination policymakers, tourism-industry professionals, and world travelers. The book offers a thorough examination of the fast-growing Chinese outbound tourist market, which as recently as 1994 registered only 6.1 million trips.
China is now the world’s largest tourism source market.
Chinese travelers in recent years have demonstrated a greater willingness to visit unfamiliar destinations, Li said, growing more value conscious and technologically savvy. This second wave of Chinese travelers is why he coined the term “Chinese Outbound Tourism 2.0.” He also points to Mercedes-Benz launching its premium travel service brand, called Mercedes-Benz Travel, in Shanghai; InterContinental Hotels Group designing the Hualuxe brand specifically for Chinese consumers; and China’s Wanda Hotels & Resorts building a 5-star hotel in London as further evidence to support the growth in Chinese outbound tourism.
“Any future historian looking back at when China began to dominate travel and tourism at home and abroad may well pinpoint 2014-15 as a turning point,” said David Scowsill, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council, who wrote the book’s foreword. “China will become increasingly central to our sector’s growth over the next decade. … We applaud Dr. Xiang (Robert) Li and his colleagues’ insightful discussion on the latest development and trends of Chinese outbound tourism.”
Li, whose research focuses mainly on international destination marketing and tourism behavior, is the author or co-author of more than 120 publications. Many of his publications have appeared in top-tier tourism, business, leisure and hospitality journals, such as theJournal of Tourism Research, Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management and Journal of Business Research.
He serves on the editorial boards of more than 10 journals and book series, including the Journal of Travel Research and Journal of Leisure Research. To date, he has been awarded over $1.25 million in research funding from numerous prestigious foundations, government agencies, destination marketing organizations and companies.
After the jerseys have been washed and the grandstands have been cleared of clutter, a professional sports teams’ work is just beginning. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or a team’s efforts to use its impact for the greater good of its community, is no longer a secondary concern to the product they assemble on the field.
For Dr. R. Aubrey Kent, Professor and chair of the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, CSR is an integral aspect of a sports team’s contribution to the community.
“CSR is important to a double or triple bottom line that includes social and environmental impacts,” said Kent, whose extensive research into CSR has produced multiple published articles and international presentations. “Sports teams are trying to grow a brand that goes beyond performance by being committed to the community.”
Kent’s work with the Professional Golf Association (PGA) in Florida spurred on his research interest in CSR. The PGA is widely known as one of the most-charitable professional sport leagues and organizations. In 2015, the PGA added 10 non-profit charities to its already lengthy roster. In his research into CSR and sports, Kent said he’s seen other sports leagues and organizations follow in the PGA’s footsteps in adopting a community-centric approach to business management.
Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies and the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles are known for their socially responsible and sustainability work, hosting “Go Green” games each season. But, as Kent found, the Phillies are less known for their efforts at reducing childhood hunger, or the Eagles for their work providing optometry services to children from low-income families. The fact that these ventures remain relatively unknown is what differentiates CSR from more-familiar marketing campaigns, Kent explained.
“Every single team has separate charitable organizations with very little publicity or fanfare,” Kent said.
As teams’ efforts maintain a low profile and provide the team with little to no financial benefit, Kent said identifying a team’s motivation for giving back can be difficult. Aside from the most-obvious altruistic intentions, Kent said other reasons include a team’s eagerness to satisfy intrinsic value systems and its hope that such values could appeal to more conscientious fans.
“The motivations have to be ingrained and value-laden because the financial incentives aren’t there,” Kent said. “Today, we care more, as a consumer class, about things that aren’t purely economic.”
Though CSR won’t change consumer opinion too greatly, as fans remain more concerned with performance on the field than corporate responsibility off of it, Kent said consumers have taken notice to team’s or a player’s CSR. Or lack thereof.
“Athletes are held to a higher standard because of the impact they have on youth,” Kent said.
The social impact athletes have as heroes among children can produce positive results in education and anti-drug campaigns, he said. Similar results are seen with negative behavior. When news broke of a 2007 investigation into National Football League player Michael Vick’s involvement in a dog-fighting ring, his team – the Atlanta Falcons – made a considerable donation to local humane shelters and animal societies. Fans reacted negatively, accusing the Falcons of making a reactionary donation.
The difference between a genuine and an insincere response, Kent said, is for teams to find that “sweet spot” between performing their social duties and publicizing their efforts. Kent found that teams are facing a more complex branding system, as they attempt to promote their social values while maneuvering daily amid a conscientious fan base.
“Sports are much more engaging emotionally, and there’s an ability to forgive bad deeds,” Kent said. “Ultimately, CSR is about sending positive societal messages.”
More than three-quarters of black women aged 12 to 74 are considered clinically obese.
For Christine Wegner, a Fox School of Business PhD student and a research assistant in the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM), this statistic was a key component in her award-winning research that investigated how social stigmas keep black women from participating in physical activity.
Wegner received the Best Student Abstract Award at the National Recreation and Park Association’s Leisure Research Symposium, held Oct. 14-16 in Charlotte, N.C. The competition selected the best student research in the leisure industry, as it related to current cultures.
Wegner’s work with Black Girls Run! (BGR!), a national organization that uses running to promote physical fitness and health among black women, while combatting stereotypes surrounding the activity, spurred her research. She reacted to how few black women engage in running because of social stigmas surrounding the sport. When coupled with a sedentary childhood, a deficit of black female professional athletes, idealization of a larger body type and issues of hair maintenance, these stigmas have contributed to illness and increased body weight among black women.
To understand this dynamic, Wegner said she reached out to 63,013 black women through BGR! The responses she received helped uncover how the group combats race and gender issues in the running culture. With 70 nationwide chapters, including one in Philadelphia, BGR! teaches black women basic running skills and creates a safe and empowering environment in which they exercise these skills. Working with the organization, Wegner identified confidence, skill, health, time, preference and hair management as six key areas when breaking down the barriers between black women and their athleticism.
“I think that Philadelphia is a good (research) target because of its greater prevalence of obese and sedentary individuals than many other cities like it” Wegner said.
Wegner, whose PhD studies include a concentration in Sport Management, relied upon several skills gleaned from her STHM and Fox School educations to better understand her research results. Wegner hypothesized using information gathered from her courses addressing the nature of organizations to predict that a group promoting a common goal can combat stereotypes held by the majority of its participants. With this in mind, Wegner drew upon her background in leisure activity afforded her through STHM to evaluate how the change in self-identification could result directly from BGR! Participation.
“At STHM, we focus heavily on distinct features and problems within sport and physical activity,” Wegner said. “This focus has allowed me to look at this organization holistically, from both a business perspective that I gained from Fox and from the broader issues in sport gained from the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.”
Wegner concluded that, as predicted, participating in BGR! changed the mindset surrounding running in the black female culture to increase the number of women who now identify as black, female and runners. Their increased physical activity has helped reduce the risks of Type 2 Diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses among black women, and has provided a sense of empowerment as they accomplish various athletic and health-related goals.
“The most rewarding part was presenting my work with this organization, and finding out that there were some BGR! members in the audience at the conference,” Wegner said. “Seeing how passionate they were about the power of the organization made me feel that my research was worthwhile.”