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Personal profile

Research interests

Marina is a geographer with a background in economics. She is an internationally renowned tourism policy, planning and development expert and Professor of Tourism and International Development at the School of Sport and Service Management, which is an Affiliate Member of the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). She is Academic Lead for the University’s Responsible Futures’ Research and Enterprise Agenda, which is aimed at fostering internal and external interdisciplinary research and consultancy collaborations - https://www.brighton.ac.uk/research-and-enterprise/brighton-futures/responsible-futures.aspx.

She has advised on numerous international cooperation and research assignments funded by International Development Organisations (IDOs) such as: The World Bank, the European Union, The UN (UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO), the Commonwealth Secretariat, National Ministries and Tourism Boards, Regional Development Agencies and NGOs.

She is known globally for her excellence in leading and collaborating with multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder and multi-cultural teams and for her commitment to generating new knowledge on ways in which tourism can play a key role in sustainable development by stimulating local economies, conserving the environment, developing peoples and changing lives.

She has written and advised extensively on a number of tourism, leisure and hospitality-related aspects in Africa, Europe and Asia. Her global reputation is associated with there broad thematic areas:

  • tourism and development in the developing economies (particularly in Africa)
  • niche tourism development and management.
  • overtourism 

Her interdisciplinary approach to the study of tourism draws on human geography, development studies and international politics as well as anthropology and sociology.

Her research has been designed and deployed to have impact beyond the University of Brighton. Having secured funding through highly competitive streams (for example, the World Bank, UN, EU and the Commonwealth Secretariat), she has deployed her own research frameworks drawing upon a number of qualitative, participatory and cross-disciplinary techniques, such as the Peer2Peer (P2P) collaborative approach and delivered research in various formats.

She is interested in the debates on global governance and policymaking, especially the role of international organisations and NGOs and international treaties in the development and management of tourism and leisure spaces and places as well as how the global agenda on development plays out on the ground, how it is contested, challenged and resisted.

Her research practice focuses primarily on aspect associated with:

  • sustainable tourism policy, planning and development
  • niche tourism development and management
  • rural diversification, leisure and tourism
  • community-based and responsible tourism approaches
  • tourism in the developing world, especially Africa
  • travel philanthropy - serious leisure and the act of giving beyond volunteering
  • tourism, leisure and hospitality training needs analysis, capacity building and curriculum development.

Her research and consultancy engagements and contributions are primarily in the field of:

  • diagnostic, monitoring and evaluation studies
  • policy, governance and institutional development
  • destination planning and product development and management
  • sustainable tourism product development and tourism value chain;
  • HRD - training needs analysis, capacity building, train-the trainers and curriculum development
  • service standards and optimisation processes in hospitality and tourism.

She has worked in several countries, including Botswana, Burundi, France, The Gambia, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, USA, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Her current research and consultancy focuses on four key research thematic areas:

  • tourism policy and planning in Africa
  • travel philanthropy in Africa
  • arts and community-based tourism in West Africa
  • contemporary niche tourism, leisure and hospitality
  • tourism impacts and overtourism

Supervisory Interests

Marina’s PhD supervisory interests are closely aligned with her research interest and experience. These include:

  • sustainable tourism policy, planning and development
  • special interest and niche tourism development and management
  • rural diversification and regeneration in tourism
  • community-based and responsible tourism approaches
  • tourism in the developing and emerging economies (especially in Africa)
  • travel philanthropy, serious leisure and the act of giving beyond volunteering
  • tourism and hospitality capacity building and innovation.
  • overtourism and tourismophobia
  • tourism and the circular economy


  • GV Recreation Leisure
  • Tourism

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Research Output

Overtourism: Excesses, discontents and measures in travel and tourism

Milano, C. (ed.), Cheer, J. (ed.) & Novelli, M. (ed.), Jun 2019, CABI.

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored

Overtourism and degrowth: a social movements perspective

Milano, C., Novelli, M. & Cheer, J., 16 Sep 2019, In : Journal of Sustainable Tourism. 27, 12, p. 1857-1875 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Tourism and Community Resilience in the Anthropocene: Accentuating Temporal Overtourism

    Cheer, J., Milano, C. & Novelli, M., 22 Apr 2019, In : Journal of Sustainable Tourism. 27, 4, p. 554-572 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Travel philanthropy and development

    Scarth, A. & Novelli, M., 2019, A Research Agenda for Tourism and Development. Edward Elgar, p. 88-108

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

    Niche Tourism: Past, Present and Future

    Novelli, M., Aug 2018, The Sage Handbook of Tourism Management. Cooper, C., Volo, S., Gartner, W. & Scott, N. (eds.). London: Sage Publications, p. 344-359 15 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter