Tourism is one of the very fundamental aspects of smart city development. As it contributes to the wide landscape of urban progress, it is very much important to also consider the underlying authority that dictates the success and expansion of tourism—low skills work being on the cornerstone of it.
In 2014, Professor Thomas Baum and Dr Miguela Mena, leading researchers of their field from the University of Strathclyde and the University of the Philippines Diliman respectively, have collaborated to conduct a multi-disciplinary approach in examining the future of low skill workforce in the international tourism industries both in Scotland and in Manila. Entitled, ‘Low skills work in a smart city: Supporting capacity development for research into tourism employment in Glasgow and Manila,’ the research project was launched to develop a research framework to provide a holistic perspective on tourism employment in the modern city from an economic, social and cultural perspective.
Ultimately, Prof Baum and Dr Mena also aimed to enable major cities, worldwide, to engage in serious consideration of low skills work within their smart economies and socio-cultural fabric. This proposed project is ground breaking in locating debate about low skills work at the heart of the future/ smart cities narrative; it is also important to note the project’s efforts in addressing tourism work in a wider social context.
And while the project has concluded in 2016, Strathclyde and UP Diliman have continued to strengthen the partnership even after the Newton Agham project. Yearly workshops were being held in the Philippines, and in April 2018 the same team again conducted a 5-day workshop on ‘Inclusive Tourism in the City’ at the UP School of Labor and Industrial Relations.
Watch the brief interview with Dr Miguela Mena of UP Diliman as she re-introduces the Newton Fund Institutional Links project and the growing relationship she has forged with Prof Tom Baum of the University of Strathclyde.