Seminar on pre-project conceptualization stages

Project Management in Sustainable Tourism Development


14-21 September 2014

University Leuven -Belgium


An intensive seminar – at postgraduate level – will be organized by the Catholic University of Leuven and the non-profit organization ViaVia Tourism Academy, from 14-21 September 2014. The main objective of this short training initiative is to broaden the knowledge and expertise, through international exchange and knowledge transfer, on sustainable project management within the tourism sector, and more specifically in sustainable pre-project conceptualization. The initiative is sponsored by the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR-UOS), the Arenberg Doctoral School of the KULeuven, the Urbain Claeys Fund for the Master in Tourism of the KULeuven and Toerisme Vlaanderen.  Unlike similar seminars the focus is not on project management methodology in general but specifically on the pre-project conceptualization stages for sustainable project management within the concrete setting/context of sustainable tourism development.

Although the importance of good project management during a project’s lifecycle, to ensure that a development project produces the required results to the required standard of quality and within the specified constraints of time and cost, can hardly be overestimated; the reasons for failure are very often related more to poor project development before the project even started, in the so-called pre-project conceptualization stage (i.e. a lack of proper needs analysis, poor problem definition and bad project management due to vague objectives, roles and responsibilities and bad stakeholders’ involvement within the process (especially local communities)). For tourism academics and professionals who need more insight in sustainable approaches to project development, this summer school offers hands-on tools and insights into sustainable pre-project concept development.

Creating awareness about these crucial pre-project conceptualization stages and strengthening the capacities of various public and private stakeholders to apply this knowledge skillfully in the field in order to improve current and future tourism project conceptualization and management are first steps in the process of increasing the efficiency and long-term benefits of tourism development projects, especially in those regions where policy has explicitly identified and prioritized tourism development as an instrument for local economic development and poverty reduction.


The program will start with at international 2-day conference on Sustainable Tourism Development, followed by 5 more days of intensive workshop. The organizing team of the seminar will initiate and facilitate an interactive debate in which all participants will contribute with their own experiences and background. The introduction to key issues will be given by experts with various disciplinary backgrounds; experts in sustainable tourism development, experts in tourism development planning (issues such as destination management, marketing and branding, organization and participation of stakeholders, etc), and experts in sustainable project management (participative inquiries, sustainable project business case definition, project monitoring and evaluation, intercultural project management, etc…). Participants will be requested to present their research work and/or to share their case-based experiences with the other participants.

Thanks to the support of the Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR) we have the opportunity to invite 17 participants with a genuine involvement in the interactive field of project management, sustainable tourism development, and local economic development. Participation in this scientifically-founded but practical seminar should be a source of inspiration for their current work, and have an actual impact on their future work and research, whether this is in policymaking or management tasks, teaching assignments or other professional involvement in this field of study.

The funding will cover all costs for travel and accommodation, participation fee and study material, and in addition a daily allowance during the time of the seminar.  A one-day field trip to cultural heritage sites in Flanders will be included in the program.

There will be a selection procedure since the funding is limited to 17 participants. Written applications had to be submitted to the organizers before the 20th of June 2014.
The seminar is organized by KULeuven:

–          Prof. Dr. Jan van der Borg – Tourism Management

In collaboration with ViaVia Tourism Academy:

–          Mr. Sanne Cras –
–          Ms. Dorien De

Supported by:

–          VLIR-UOS, Flemish Interuniversity Council, University Development Cooperation
–          Arenberg Doctoral School , KULeuven
–          Ubain Claeys Fund for the Master in Tourism, KULeuven
–          The Flemish Tourism Board: Toerisme Vlaanderen