Pictured with PhD student Ernesto Sanchez (third from left) is Geraldine Enright, Director of Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, Bobby Kerry, Chair of the Board of Cliffs of Moher; Jim Deegan, Professor of Tourism Policy and Director of the National Centre for Tourism Policy Studies (UL); Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council; and Eoin Flanagan, Human Resource Manager, Cliffs of Moher Experience. Photograph: Eamon Ward.
VISITOR EXPERIENCE and sustainable tourism are among the focus points of a new PhD scholarship programme at the Cliffs of Moher.
Clare County Council has partnered with the University of Limerick (UL) to sponsor a new PhD Scholarship Programme at the Cliffs of Moher Experience.
Working with UL’s National Centre For Tourism Policy Studies (NCTPS) and The Kemmy Business School, Ireland’s most visited natural attraction this week welcomed the sponsored PhD student, Ernesto Sanchez as part of the tourism research project he will undertake over the next four years.
The structured PhD programme will focus challenges and opportunities of responding to a paradigm shift in the tourism marketplace, including visitor experience, sustainable tourism, destination and visitor management and the role of technology in shaping tourism.
Director of the Cliffs of Moher Experience, Geraldine Enright explained, “This programme represents an excellent opportunity to collaborate with the University of Limerick in generating important research that will help to define and shape the future of tourism in Clare”.
She added, “In addition to providing Ernesto a monetary sum to support his academic studies and research, the scholarship will present him with a unique opportunity to develop key relationships with other visitor attraction sites and tourism businesses within the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark and the wider county.”
Jim Deegan, Professor of Tourism Policy and Director of the National Centre for Tourism Policy Studies, commented, “Work undertaken by our Research Centre is constantly evolving to reflect new academic interests, market trends and policy problems. The leading market position held by the Cliffs of Moher Experience makes it an ideal case study for present and future tourism development in Ireland.”
Leonard Cleary, Director of Rural Development, Clare County Council, stated, “We are delighted to support Ernesto in his studies through this PhD Scholarship Programme. Tourism is emerging from a challenging period, and it is important that new challenges and opportunities for the sector are identified. The research output will aid ongoing efforts to maintain the Cliffs of Moher as Ireland’s foremost natural attraction, grow the Cliffs of Moher’s contribution to County Clare in a sustainable way and protect the site for future generations”.
It is anticipated that the PhD sponsorship programme will become part of an ongoing strategic partnership between Clare County Council and the University of Limerick.