Professor Marina Novelli was conferred to the Fellowship of the Academy in autumn 2023. She is Professor of Marketing and Tourism, in the Department of Marketing at Nottingham University Business School (NUBS), and her research focuses on sustainable tourism policy, planning and development.
With a background in economics, Marina’s reputation is broadly associated with the field of tourism for sustainable development. She has led and collaborated with multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder and multi-cultural teams and her extensive empirically grounded research in over 50 countries in Africa, Europe and Asia, has contributed to significant new elaborations and impact beyond tourism. Examples of these are available in the REF2014 and REF2021 Impact Case Studies.
Marina’s vision is to engage in the pursuit of impactful research and knowledge exchange practices through critical interventions in tourism grounded in empirical evidences. Through her work, she aims to generate new knowledge on ways in which tourism can play a key role in sustainable development by stimulating local economies, conserving the environment, developing people and changing lives. Having secured funding through highly competitive streams, she has deployed her own research and consultancy frameworks drawing upon qualitative, participatory and cross-disciplinary techniques, such as the Peer2Peer (P2P) collaborative and capacity building approach encompassing the development of partnerships that deliver mutually beneficial policy and practice interventions for those involved.
In 2023, Marina became a Selected Member of The World Economic Forum – Global Future Council on the Future of Sustainable Tourism. She is also a Fellow of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism, and an Alternate Member of the UNWTO World Committee on Tourism Ethics (2021-2025). Marina is an activist researcher and a globally recognised Sustainability Leader, and she served as a Research Exercise Framework (REF2021) panellist for UOA C24: Sport, Tourism and Leisure between 2018 and 2021.
Why do the social sciences matter?
Tourism is performed broadly through the active engagement of people as consumers or service providers, policy makers and destination communities. At the heart of my interdisciplinary social sciences approach is the ability to make a difference to the quality of decision making that underpins the development, management and marketing of the tourism sector and to the understanding of the socio-economic, cultural and natural environments in which this occurs.
What inspires you about your work?
As an applied social scientist, my approach in research and consultancy is designed and deployed to have impact beyond academia, holding the role of destination communities at the centre of whatever I do. For instance, at the core of my research is contributing new critical understanding on the complexity associated with the implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and how this plays out on the ground, how it is contested, challenged and resisted. My work for International Development Organisations (IDOs), National Ministries, Tourism Boards, Regional Development Agencies, private and third sector has enabled me to make a positive real-world impact and translate research evidence into practice.
What is the most urgent issue social scientists need to tackle today and within the next three years?
An interdisciplinary social sciences approach in the study of tourism can make considerable positive contributions to addressing some of the most significant global challenges. Of particular interest and urgency are the debates on (tourism) governance, local communities’ needs, power relations and democracy, social justice and inclusion, protection of local cultural meanings, preservation of natural resources, fair trade principles, poverty reduction strategies, business ethics and responsibility, and climate change.
More broadly, the social sciences play a key role in bringing together inter- and multidisciplinary teams of researchers and non-academic ecosystem players to positively impact on policy and practices in a world characterised by polycrisis, encompassing pandemics, climate imbalances, environmental disasters (i.e. drought, floods, mega storms and wildfires), war, humanitarian emergencies, financial speculation, and socio-cultural asymmetric power, to name a few.
What does being a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences mean to you?
I am delighted to join this community of distinguished scholars and to be able to benefit from such a prestigious recognition of my work. I look forward to contributing to the Academy’s mission and will proactively continue advocating for the value of social science research in addressing the mounting challenges affecting our society.