Students studying for the MSc Strategic Public Relations and Communication Management and the MSc in heritage and Conservation at the University of Stirling had a fieldtrip to St. Andrews on 10 April 2015 – a day at the Scottish seaside filled with glorious sunshine and some extraordinary learning experiences about the contemporary tourism sector.
The day was organized around a series of expert interviews and site visits to a number of organizations involved with promoting golf tourism in Scotland. Students gained an insight into the role of the R&A, golf’s governing body, and the evolution of event-led tourism strategy in Scotland from Mike Woodcock, Media & Editorial manager at the R&A. Mike also spoke about the challenges of correcting misperceptions (around golf in general, and the specific role of the R&A in particular) and the enormity of the media relations operation associated with the hosting of the Open at St. Andrews this year.
The St. Andrews Partnership is a path-breaking tourism development organization that is seeking to grow tourism by building on the reputation and recognition that St Andrews enjoys globally. The group met with Patrick Laughlin (Manager), Jim McArthur (Chairman) and Gillian Richardson (Scottish Enterprise) to discuss the Partnerships destination-led strategy.
The fieldtrip also included meetings with a number of the leading golf resorts in St Andrews. Dylan Kelly from the Old Course Hotel shared some thoughts on media relations and strategy to manage social media communications around the hosting of the Open this year. Gavin Wilson from the Fairmont group reflected on the complexities of resort promotion in the context of working within a global organisation and with over 200 tour operators. Audrey Hogg, business development manager at the renowned Kingbarns golf links discussed the importance of inter-cultural communication and aligning strategy with specialist market intelligence and global tourism sector trends.
Reflecting on the day’s activities Fang Lu, studying for the MSc in Strategic Communication and Public Relations (2014-15) said: ‘the fieldtrip has given me a deeper understanding of how PR can promote tourism. The different perspectives from experts working in the golf industry brought the theories and concepts we have been studying to life’.