MSc Tourism Graduate Christy Hehir’s New Job and Book Success

Today we are sharing with news from a MSc Graduate, Christy Hehir who has recently got a new job at Visit Britain and is also seeing her first book published.

If you would like to order a copy of the book or for more information please contact @christyhehir

Christy will be joining Visit Britain as a Research and Evaluation Specialist. Christy commented “I am delighted to soon be working for the national tourism agency. My role will involve market intelligence, including the latest inbound visitor statistics, tourism trends, forecasts, analysis and commentary. I am looking forward to playing my part in attracting international visitors to GREAT Britain and working in an office adjacent to Buckingham Palace.”

Christy also shared with us a brief history of her education that led to her publishing her first book:

“My AVCE in travel and tourism led me to the BA(Hons). I have always been curious as to the impacts of travelling to remote destinations, hence my undergraduate study titled, ‘Young People as Antarctic Ambassadors?’ In 2007 I became the UK’s student representative of International Polar Years 2007-2008, and as such was invited on a journey of a lifetime inside the Antarctic Circle. Antarctica heightened my awareness of the serious fragility of that continent and how essential it is that tourism companies operating there do this in an ethical and responsible way, managing not only their operations but the tourists they deliver to this region. Despite graduating as UWIC’s ‘Tourism Student of the Year,’ I felt my undergraduate study was only scratching the surface, so I continued my studies with an MSc.

My MSc dissertation titled, ‘The future of Antarctica. Is tourism an ally or an enemy?’ was a follow-up study to my under-graduate work, looking into the ways in which exposure to different fragile environments changes tourists’ environmental perceptions, attitudes and behaviours and how time is a major factor upon these changes. The second half of the study compared Antarctic tourists to the control group (of non Antarctic visitors) and confirmed the previous visitors to Antarctica had significantly stronger environmental attitudes and environmental behaviours. I am delighted that my dissertation has been very well-received both academically and within the travel industry.

My thesis won the titles of, “the most outstanding MSc Dissertation” at Bournemouth University, and the ‘ITB Science Award – German Society for Tourism Science: Best International Thesis.’ I travelled to Berlin in March 2010 to receive my award and present my findings at the ITB trade show. The Association for Tourism in Higher Education awarded me ‘Best Masters Student of Tourism 2008/2009,’ and I was nominated for: The Leisure Studies Association ‘Dissertation of an exemplary standard.’ My work has also been requested by and sent to the British Antarctic Survey, Royal Geographical Society, and Polar Scott Research Institute for their library resources.

Since my MSc Tourism success, I have continued my polar research and extended my study to the Arctic. In 2010 I contributed to the British Council’s ‘Action for the Arctic’ Seminar Report which discussed the Arctic’s engagement – communication – partnership. In July 2011, I was invited by Dr. Peter Prokosch, Managing Director UNEP/GRID-Arendal to participate in a 7-day training and research expedition in Svalbard, subsequently leading to my first book ‘Arctic to Action’, published in September 2012, looking at tourists’ heightened environmental actions since visiting the Polar Regions.”

The book, “Arctic Reflections: Moments of inspiration, a life time of action”, is a result of seventeen young people from twelve different countries that visited Svalbard in the Norwegian Arctic, as part of an expedition funded by the European Union’s Youth in Action programme, and organised by the British Council in partnership with UNEP GRID – Arendal.

Through personal testimonies collected by Christy as part of her PhD research, and photographs taken by Luka Tomac of the sights witnessed, the book goes beyond simple impressions and acts as a poignant reminder that our planet is at great environmental risk. Importantly, it also offers positive examples of young people taking action, something the Youth in Action Programme strongly encourages. Doug Allan, prominent wildlife and documentary cameraman, experts from UNEP GRID – Arendal and Dr. Dirk Notz, a polar scientist from MaxPlanck Institute, have also contributed by adding their personal insights and knowledge, highlighting the need for urgent action necessary to save the Arctic.

It is hoped that this book will not serve as yet another coffee table piece, but rather as an inspirational handbook which encourages you and the decision makers to take real action.

Christy commented on the book release “2012 is set to see the 1billionth passenger – and whilst this is a cause for celebration and success in the travel sector, should it also not come with a warning? At 25 I have already visited all 7 continents and stepped foot on both the Polar Regions – yet it is exactly these experiences that have opened my eyes to the pace of development and fuel my passion to preserve the last remaining wilderness.

Arctic Reflections aims to give readers an expert opinion, highlight through photography the Arctic’s sensitivity and importantly share examples of young professionals, like me, determined to make change.

Now published, the next plan is to launch the book at the European Parliament in Brussels at the end of Jan 2013 and distribute copies to policy makers and key influencers across Europe. In 3 weeks time, participant Stijn Otten will be sitting across the table with Dick van Benschop (CEO Shell Netherlands). A nice person to give this book to, I think.”

If you would like to order a copy of the book or for more information please contact @christyhehir

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