Chester student ‘highly commended’ by Tourism Management Institute.

Posted on 15th May 2016

A final year Tourism and Events Management student from the University of Chester, who was on a work placement with the tourism division of Staffordshire County Council at the time of the ‘Smiler’ Rollercoaster crash at Alton Towers, has received a Highly Commended accolade from the Tourism Management Institute (TMI) for a report which demonstrated the value of her experience.

Amie Piper
Amie Piper

Amie Piper, who is 21 and from Telford, Shropshire, received the recognition after submitting a reflective account of her placement with Destination Staffordshire – the destination marketing organisation for Staffordshire - to the TMI, for consideration for the David Hughes Memorial Award. 

The TMI is the industry’s professional organisation for anyone working in tourism destination management. Launched in 2012, in memory of former TMI President David Hughes, this particular Award is presented to a student on a TMI Recognised Course, who submits a report on their placement which demonstrates what they have learned, how they have been able to apply the knowledge gained through their coursework to the workplace, and the impact this has had on their personal as well as professional development.

Amie spent five weeks working as a Tourism Marketing Assistant at Destination Staffordshire, where she was able to apply skills, knowledge and academic theory to practical work in the industry. It was during this time that the horrific ‘Smiler’ rollercoaster crash, which resulted in life changing injuries for some of its riders, took place at the Alton Towers resort. As a result of the sensitive way that her colleagues handled the incident, Amie was inspired to base her dissertation on analysing the response of Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) to a variety of tourism crises.

Amie said: “Working with Destination Staffordshire and being there to observe their response to the aftermath of the Alton Towers incident has opened my eyes to elements of crisis management as a function for DMOs.

“I have been able to apply the crisis management theory taught on my course to a real life situation and the aim of my research is therefore to consider how parts of different academic frameworks relate to the role of DMOs in recent incidents.

“It was an honour to be recognised by the Tourism Management Institute, especially since there are so many entries from all over the country for the David Hughes Memorial Award. It has given me the confidence and self-assurance to aim high. It is an achievement that will be recognised and highly regarded by the managers of destination marketing organisations.”

The experience has made Amie certain that she would like to pursue a career in the tourism industry when she completes her studies this year. She added: “During my time with Destination Staffordshire I had the chance to attend various conferences, events and meetings where I made valuable connections. These connections may open doors to opportunities in the industry. I will also be able to demonstrate relevant experience and skills to potential employers.”

Colin Potts, Senior Lecturer in Tourism at the University’s Business School and also a former President of TMI, said: “Students are encouraged to interact with business throughout their degree and to address live issues in their studies to boost their employability. Amie is an outstanding example of a student using her work placement and dissertation to help get ahead in her career and I know she has already impressed a number of potential employers.”