Tourism, Public Transport and Sustainable Mobility

17 February 2017

This month we are publishing Tourism, Public Transport and Sustainable Mobility edited by C. Michael Hall, Diem-Trinh Le-Klähn and Yael Ram. In this post, Michael discusses the under-researched relationship between tourism and public transport and the many positives to be found in tourist use of public transport.

Tourism, Public Transport and Sustainable MobilityPublic transport is something that has become a major focus for many cities and regions in recent years. For cities, this is often connected to the need to cut traffic congestion and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in order to meet climate change goals. For regions, especially in rural and peripheral areas, public transport is about connectivity and access, and ensuring that people who live in such places have links to shopping, services and schools. Yet tourism is hardly mentioned in any of the usual public transport literature.

In many ways this is really surprising given how visitors and tourists are often substantial users of public transport services. For example, Diem’s research in Munich, which we discuss in the book, suggested that 78.5% of tourists used public transport. In London, the figures are even more impressive, with Transport for London suggesting that 93% of inbound tourists to London use public transport. Of course, in the case of London, the underground and double-decker buses are potentially an attraction in themselves, though this is something shared with many other destinations, for example, ferries in Stockholm, trams in Melbourne and street cars in San Francisco. If you include active transport, you could also now add cycling in Copenhagen or walking the High Line in New York. However, one of the great challenges is that this data is often not collected. Public transport agencies only tend to collect from residents, while many destination management organisations don’t collect data on the type of transport that visitors use, especially once they have actually arrived at a destination.

Nevertheless, a number of cities and destinations are now starting to see great advantage in encouraging visitors to use public transport, as they do permanent residents, in order to reduce traffic congestion. For example, some Swiss cities provide free bus access for hotel guests and for airport transfer. However, there are other benefits as well; tourists get to have a more direct experience with local people and the place they are visiting, which can improve the quality of the destination experience and increase likelihood of return visitation. For many public transport systems though, there is also recognition that tourists are helping to support the maintenance of the system to the benefit of locals. In the case of some ferry services to some of the islands in Finland and Scotland, tourists are clearly important users of the system, especially in summer, and the public transport services are therefore helping to get the tourist to spend out of the main centres in such situations, while also showing tourists more of the country. There are also many benefits for a tourist in not having to drive, as they are able to see more of a destination and not have to contend with unfamiliar road signs and roads.

Given that tourists are not usually seen as a significant market by public transport companies, there clearly remains a number of challenges in encouraging tourists to use public transport in many situations. As we discuss in the book, foremost among these is high quality and up-to-date information that is easily accessible. Ideally this should also be available in languages other than that of the destination and/or be accessible by a translation service. Cost is also significant and this is not just the direct economic cost of using the service but also ease of use, travel times and the extent to which different modes of transport are coordinated so as to make connections easy.

Overall we found that tourist use of public transport at destinations can have many positives, particularly with respect to developing more sustainable cities and contributing generally to reductions in emissions from transport use. However, the real challenge is to try and encourage more tourists to use public transport for longer distance travel. In some cases this is harder for structural and design reasons, i.e. the services just don’t exist or there’s no or insufficient capacity for carrying luggage, but in some parts of the world this is beginning to change. For example, in Europe and China we are seeing the development of new high speed rail routes and in the United States and Australia these possibilities are increasingly being discussed as a focal point of economic development and as a means of reducing both air and car congestion along major routes. In addition, some countries are developing long-distance cycleways as a means of encouraging long-distance active transport.

In terms of the future we are undoubtedly going to continue to see more focus on public transport as a core part of the sustainable mobility mix, and we think public transport, economic development and destination agencies are increasingly recognising that they can work together to encourage and promote tourism. However, as well as ongoing concerns over climate change, congestion and tourist support for public services, we see the other big issue as the growth in autonomous vehicles. This is going to have enormous impacts in the future on employment in the tourist transport sector and visitor experiences, as well as on public transport provision. Uber, for example, has major interests in autonomous cars and that, combined with their disruptive impact on taxi services and public transport, is going to create a whole new set of challenges. And we can imagine that if we are doing a new edition of the book in five years’ time, rather than consider autonomous public transport at the end of the book in the futures section, we will probably have to have a separate chapter allocated to it because it will be happening now!

Tourism and TransportFor more information about this book, please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Tourism and Transport by David Timothy Duval.


CAUTHE 2015

27 February 2015
10606490_817343701672591_4985313827004476559_n

Rosemary Black, Betty Weiler and Sarah Williams

This year I got to escape the February weather in England with a trip to the Gold Coast! CAUTHE 2015 was hosted by Southern Cross University at their Beachside campus in Coolangatta. We were very happy to launch Betty Weiler and Rosemary Black’s book Tour Guiding Research at the conference. Many of our authors were in attendance and it was great to catch up with everyone as usual!

The Tour Guiding Research launch was one of many highlights, others including the welcome drinks at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary where delegates got to be up close and personal with snakes and koalas! koala

The CAUTHE conference dinner never fails to disappoint, this year there was an excellent Nutbush City Limits routine by many of the delegates and a conga to round things off!

coolangatta beach

Coolangatta Beach

As you’d expect at the Gold Coast the beaches were beautiful and only a short walk from the conference hotels. Definitely useful to clear the head the morning after the gala dinner 🙂 Next year’s conference will be hosted by the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School in Sydney.

Sarah


Books, snakes and snacks aplenty – AILA 2014

21 August 2014

This week saw Kim and Laura banished from the office. No, we weren’t sent to the other side of the world for bad behaviour but rather, we headed to Brisbane, Australia for the triennial AILA conference. With a theme of ‘One World, Many Languages’, we knew this would be a great conference for Multilingual Matters. AILA is always exciting for us, as so many of our authors and editors are in attendance. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with old friends as well as make new connections, and hear some fascinating papers.

Some wildlife enjoying our books!

Some wildlife enjoying our books!

The week started well, with strong sales and lots of interest in our new books, particularly Language Globalization and the Making of a Tanzanian Beauty Queen (Billings), Key Topics in Second Language Acquisition (Cook and Singleton) and Measuring L2 Proficiency (edited by Leclercq et al). We also got to meet a different type of delegate – the organisers had arranged for some local creatures to join us for the opening reception! We met snakes, a wombat, a kookaburra, a tortoise and a baby crocodile – some even seemed quite interested in our books.

Jan Blommaert's keynote

Jan Blommaert’s keynote

The conference was pretty busy all week so we didn’t get to many sessions, but those we did attend were high quality and very interesting. Of particular note were the keynotes by Lourdes Ortega, Elana Shohamy and Jan Blommaert, as well as the session on publishing by Mary Jane Curry, and the symposia on indigenous languages organised by Gillian Wigglesworth and Teresa McCarty. Jan had some particularly comical examples of lookalike language!

Brisbane by night

Brisbane by night

The Wednesday afternoon was a chance for everyone to take a breather, as it was a national holiday in Brisbane for their county show, known as the Ekka. We took the opportunity to explore some of Brisbane and had a lovely time doing the typical tourist attractions – we loved the Big Wheel and got a great view of the city. Back to the conference the next day and the stand was as popular as ever, with more animals to see including koalas, possums and a skink. Our best-sellers of the week really did sell well, with Identity and Language Learning (Norton), Ethnography, Superdiversity and Linguistic Landscapes (Blommaert) and A Scholar’s Guide to Getting Published in English (Curry & Lillis) taking the top spots.

We couldn’t possibly write a piece on this conference without mentioning the food. We’ve never been so well fed! The organisers truly laid on a feast every day, with cakes, pies and biscuits aplenty. Needless to say – the diet went out of the window for the duration of the conference!

Thanks Brisbane, not only for hosting a fabulous conference but also for showing us the very best of your city. We loved it! We’re already looking forward to the next AILA in Rio in 2017.


CAUTHE 2014, Brisbane, 10-13 February

4 March 2014
Story Bridge

Story Bridge

It was the University of Queensland’s turn to host CAUTHE this year and the conference was held in the Sofitel in Brisbane – with a lovely view for us exhibitors of Anzac Square. Noel Scott and his team of volunteers did a great job of organising especially as there were more delegates this year! 

As usual, it was a successful trip for Channel View and a great chance to catch up with a lot of our authors and meet new people.

UQ's YMCA

UQ’s YMCA

There were some thought-provoking keynotes from Stefan Gössling and Ulrike Gretzel and the Great Debate was won by the Aussies this year – in keeping with general sporting results!

UQ arranged for the conference cocktail reception to be held at the Customs House situated on Eagle St Pier, which was a lovely venue with great views of the Story Bridge – designed by the same man who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge (fun fact!)

The conference finished with a great evening of dinner and dancing – made even better by an awesome YMCA performance from the UQ staff!

 

The Gabbatoir

The Gabbatoir

After the conference I went to watch some cricket at the GABBA – though haunted by the Ashes memories…

We’re looking forward to next year’s CAUTHE which will be hosted by Southern Cross University.

Sarah


BAAL Book Prize Winner 2013

27 December 2013
Laura accepting the BAAL Book Prize on behalf of Alastair Pennycook

Laura accepting the BAAL Book Prize on behalf of Alastair Pennycook

Looking back over 2013, it has been a very busy year for us at Multilingual Matters and we have published many exciting books.  However, one of the highlights of the year actually involves a book that we published last year, Alastair Pennycook’s Language and Mobility: Unexpected Places.  In September it was announced that the book had jointly won the annual British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Book Prize! A bit of excitement for our office and something for Alastair Pennycook to be really proud of.

9781847697639The book is comprised of a series of personal and narrative accounts and it explores aspects of travel, mobility and locality to ask how languages, cultures and people turn up in unexpected places. Among the materials and contexts included in the book are farewell addresses to British workers in colonial India, letters written from parents to their children at home, a Cornish anthem sung in South Australia, a country fair in rural Australia, and a cricket match played in the middle of the 19th century in south India. The result is a thought-provoking, original work and we feel it is a really worthy winner of the prize.

The prize was awarded at the annual BAAL conference (see Laura’s post on that here) and Alastair’s book now joins the 18 books which have won the award in the past – the full list of which is on the BAAL website.


An Interview with Joseph Lo Bianco

6 August 2013

Having published Joseph Lo Bianco and Renata Aliani’s book Language Planning and Student Experiences in June, we asked Joseph to answer a few questions about the research.

Language Planning and Student ExperiencesWhy do you think Australia is a particularly interesting country to research?
Australia is interesting because of the energy it has injected into language policy. We have had 67 initiatives since 1970! It is also the case that our national language planning has been ambitious, aiming to teach a large number of languages, and because of the unique indigenous language context. Asian studies has also been an enduring priority of government, but the results are far from satisfactory.

What do you think policymakers in other countries can learn from Australia’s example?
Because Australia has tried to do comprehensive language planning I think our experience is interesting and relevant to other countries.  We have tried to encompass the national language (English), minority languages (both immigrant and indigenous), foreign languages (Asian and European) and a range of language services. In this wide array some important lessons have been learned and all countries increasingly face similar challenges under globalisation.

Why is language policy such a contentious issue in multilingual communities?
Because languages are like no other human social construct. Languages are both tools and symbols, languages mediate both material and symbolic worlds, what I mean by this is that languages are both very practical, helping or hindering access to jobs and social opportunities and also markers of belonging and identity.  Quite a few policy fields are contentious of course, but languages have some very special dimensions to do with the multiple ways they impinge on our lives.

Why is the relationship between policy makers and those implementing the policies i.e. teachers a difficult one?
This is a key focus of the book Renata and I have written. I think one of the key reasons for this difficulty is that teachers are seen by many policy makers as mere implementers of policy that they determine. In reality it isn’t like that at all. If teachers don’t share the goals of language or literacy policy, or even if they are only half-hearted about the policy, the chances of policy makers achieving their goals are drastically undermined. I think that teachers have a kind of reserve power, if they withhold enthusiasm, how can a distant, temporary, Minister of Education achieve what he or she wants? There are other complications in this relationship. One of them is that teachers and teaching is in fact a kind of language planning too.

What makes your book different from others that have been published before?
Some language planners still debate whether the ‘micro’ level of the school can be considered a language policy site. Our research shows that schools, teachers and classrooms are very much part of the ecology of language planning. The book is also different in that it exposes the weakness of the policymaking position; it is powerful in formal ways, controlling money, curriculum and employment, but teachers and teaching, and student learning, are activities with some measure of autonomy.

Which other researchers in your field do you particularly admire?
The list would be too vast to be complete, but Joshua Fishman, Bernard Spolsky come to mind, also Elana Shohamy, Francis Hult, Claire Kramsch, Jan Blommaert, Jef Vershuren, Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Mary Kalantzis, Peter Freebody, Nancy Hornberger, Colin Baker, Jiri Neustupny, Francois Grin, Richard Ruiz and Dante Alighieri. OMG I have left nearly everyone off my list!

What is your next research project?
I have a Multilingual Matters book with a Tunisian colleague, Dr Fethi Helal, on language discourses in Tunisia, the place where the remarkable events of the Arab Spring began. We are working closely on analysing how language is implicated in the volatile politics of remaking this amazing North African country. I am also working on a UN project on peacebuilding and language in SE Asia, especially Myanmar, southern Thailand and Malaysia.

Language Policy for the Multilingual ClassroomLanguage-in-education PoliciesIf you’re interested in this book click here for more information. You might also be interested in: Language Policy for the Multilingual Classroom edited by Christine Hélot and Muiris Ó Laoire and Language-in-education Policies by Anthony J. Liddicoat.


Banned from the beach?

18 April 2012

With Tourism and Australian Beach Cultures published this week one of the authors, Christine Metusela, tells us about the restrictions that bathers were subject to in Australia.

Can you imagine being banned from bathing in the sea? This was the case in New South Wales, Australia, from the 1830s to 1903. At this time the state government banned bathing in the sea in public view between 6 am and 8 pm. Our book, Tourism and Australian Beach Cultures, explores why bathing was banned and the political and cultural processes that subsequently transformed the beach. We begin by exploring the dominant moral values of the British colonial gentry that led to the ban on daylight bathing in public view, even at beach resorts in New South Wales. The focus of the book then traces the emergence of the bathing reserve, bathing ordinances and beach inspectors as mechanisms given to municipal authorities to restore respectability to a growing number of middle-class people that bathed, swam or sunbathed at the beach. The transformation of beach cultures is examined in terms of the implications of new forms of mobility like the train and car, along with the emergence of swimming clubs and surf clubs among the middle-classes that changed understandings of ‘race’, masculinity and healthy bodies. These ideas are illustrated drawing on examples form the Illawarra, some 80 kilometres south of Sydney.

‘Seaside Holiday… Sunburn and laughter and a dipping sea’ (The Australian Women’s Weekly 1933, 25 November)

When this front cover of The Australian Women’s Weekly was released in November 1933, bathing ordinances provided a set of rules governing the bathing costumes of both men and women. Until the mid1930s, men and women could be fined for not wearing a costume that measured three inches in the leg. Bathing ordinances also required men to cover their chests, and conceal their penis behind a skirted trunk. Yet, as this illustration from The Australian Women’s Weekly suggests (along with photographs in our book of bathers at the beaches of the Illawarra), these rules were difficult to enforce.


%d bloggers like this: