The 2014 Symposium

First of all, here is where you will find the proceedings of the 1st Corfu Symposium on Managing and Marketing Places and here are some photos of the 2014 Symposium.

Reflections on the 1st Corfu Symposium on Managing and Marketing Places

When I decided, along with my co-organiser Alex Christou of Green Corfu, to establish this event, a number of decisions were taken very early on in our planning:

  • That it would be ‘outcome-focused’ on producing results from research initiated from the interaction between academics and practitioners that would result in a wide range of written publication outputs. I could not have been more delighted with the connections that were made at this event, and the planned outcomes that were articulated in the final closing session. I strongly believe that these outcomes will make a real positive difference to the organisations and locations involved, and that the academic outcomes will be of a high quality in terms of published research.
  • The decision to seek the support of the Institute of Place Management was also vital in not only providing an additional level of credibility to the event, but also in honing our focus on ensuring relevance for both academics and practitioners in place management and place marketing initiatives in the Symposium’s content relevant to its theme.
  • This Symposium would be an international event – and while there were many delegates from the island of Corfu itself, and quite a lot of discussion focused on place management and marketing issues facing this island, the delegate list shows the truly international nature of this 1st Symposium.
  • That from Day 1 we would promote it as the 1st Corfu Symposium on Managing and Marketing Places, because we firstly wanted to communicate that we expected this to be the inaugural event in an annual series, and also that the home of the Symposium, regardless of its specific theme, will be in Corfu.
  • That the Symposium’s social programme, incorporating visits to places of interest relevant to the theme, was to be as much a part of the event as the session content. I think we managed to get this aspect right first time, and so we will stick to this format for future events.


For those of you who were unable to attend this 1st Corfu Symposium on Managing and Marketing Places, I have included below some of the key discussion themes and planned outcomes arising from this event.

I hope to see you in 2015 for the 2nd Corfu Symposium on Managing and Marketing Places.

Dr Heather Skinner
Symposium Chair (on behalf of the Symposium team)



Putting PLACE First

Many places around the world are already at a tipping point and have become unsustainable in their current form and with their current infrastructure and target markets – whether these places are cities, high streets, towns, villages all over the world in which people live, work and play all year round, or tourist destinations that rely heavily on a relatively short season in a world where tourist markets, wants and expectations are changing. Whether developments to effect positive change in these places are strategically led top-down, or emerge from a more grass-roots community led approach, what emerged most strongly from this 1st Symposium on Managing and Marketing Places is that any and all developments must consider the place first and foremost in order to achieve any level of future sustainability, rather than simply revising and refocusing the strategies from the past that have led to the place’s current problems. Many of our discussions centred around the belief that resilience comes out of resistance. In order to become resilient, to become sustainable, to ‘future-proof’ a place, the issue of resistance must be addressed: not only resistance to current structures and dominant models of thinking that drive various initiatives that may not be helpful to a place’s future resilient development, but also the resistance to change that may be evident in a place and its communities.

Image and Identity

Another theme that arose throughout the Symposium was the level of disparity between the way a place identity is promoted, and the way that identity is translated to a place image that is perceived through visual media, stories and histories, cultural heritage, music and song. For many places there is a need for much more research into these two separate but linked issues of identity and image. Various projects and collaborations were identified among delegates to move this theme forward.

The Cognitive Causal Mapping place management marketing tool presented at the Symposium can be adopted to elicit the core attributes of a place brand, it is now planned to use this tool here in Corfu to elicit the core attributes of this island as a whole, and also the core attributes of its various resorts.

Connecting People and Places

The issue of local wine and gastro tourism also aroused a great deal of interest, with a number of collaborations proposed to explore these research areas further, particularly exploring how tourists could connect better to places through engaging with activity holidays, or activities that form part of the overall holiday experience that are based on local food and drink production and consumption.

There was a great deal of interest in furthering exploring how the model of the case study on Arillas could be employed to improve co-operation and effect positive change in other resorts, particularly, but not exclusively on Corfu. As a result of the Symposium, a number of delegates have planned further collaborative research examining aspects of this place management and marketing issue.

Another key theme was the way digital media is now being used by those responsible for managing, marketing and consuming places. This theme, featuring the linkages between individual internet based and social media platforms and web-based portals is also one that will continue in our 2nd Symposium.

The 2nd Symposium on Managing and Marketing Places to be held in 2015 will continue to ensure international interaction between public sector bodies, private sector practitioners and academics. Please see the call for papers on our website.

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Institute of Place Management

Professor Catherine Parker, director of the IPM, has extended an invitation to anyone involved directly or indirectly in making places better to join the IPM for FREE for a trial period of 6 months. This is a very special honour for us as the free trial period is usually 30 days. If you join the IPM and attended the Symposium, please send me an e-mail and let me know in order that I may sign your certificate of attendance that proves the way your attendance at this event has contributed towards your Continuing Professional Development.

For further details of the IPM and to sign up for this FREE TRIAL please visit

Social Programme

As outlined above, this was as much a part of the Symposium as the session content.

Day 1 – On the Monday evening we had a BBQ on the terrace of the Symposium Hotel. The wine was Theotoky Aspro – a white wine from one of our sponsor’s, the Theotoky Estate, which is also mentioned in the James Bond Film For Your Eyes Only”, which was filmed on Corfu, when Roger Moore’s James Bond asks for it specifically while dining at the Casino that used to be housed at the Achilleon Palace.

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Day 2 – Following the morning’s sessions on cultural tourism & heritage, and wine and gastro tourism, lunch was accompanied by a selection of beers from another of our sponsors, the Corfu Microbrewery, producers of a range of organic local beers.


Tuesday afternoon’s trip was to the Theotoky Estate, where delegates had the chance to sample the extra virgin olive oil produced there, along with the chance to taste a wider range of Theotoky wines, including the Rose that has been back in their product portfolio only for the last 2 years. Mrs Theotoky also allowed delegates access to view her library, which was a very special treat indeed.

Day 3 – The morning’s sessions had focused very much on place narratives, and the way these may be leveraged to facilitate alternative forms of tourism catering for visitors who want to experience more of what the island has to offer than simply sun, sea and sand. We heard a case study on the resort of Arillas, which is leading the way in showing the positive effects of community co-operation in achieving results that benefit all – local businesses and tourists alike.

The afternoon’s trip was then to Arillas. Arillas has managed to extend their tourist season by attracting visitors to a wide range of activities, events, and residential experiences. The area is home to 4 meditation centres, including Corfu Buddha Hall, and delegates had the chance to see this fine building in Magoulades. Then it was off to Corfu Beer, and more sampling of the delights of organic local beer, and some tasty mezes. We then had time to go for coffee (and more mezes) on the very windy seafront, before returning to our hotel base, having a quick chance to freshen up and then head into the centre of Corfu Town for a guided walk around this most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site. Delegates were then free to explore the town and have dinner, but all chose to stay as a group and experienced the delights of authentic, plentiful and inexpensive Greek cuisine at Bakalogatos Taverna in the centre of town.

Day 4 – a full final day of sessions, followed by the Symposium Dinner at the Venetian Well restaurant, where we experienced some of the best fine dining that Corfu has to offer.