Anna Leask is Professor of Tourism Management and a key member of the Tourism and Languages Subject Group in The Business School. I am involved in a broad range of activities - researching, teaching, supervising, engaging with industry, knowledge exchange and informing policy and business practice. My role provides extensive opportunities to engage with students, organisations, businesses and communities. As a result, I am regularly invited to contribute to tourism strategy and policy-making events, informing policy on the basis of my research.
I am an internationally recognised expert in international visitor attraction, museum and heritage management, with a particular interest in how to engage a broader range of visitor audiences. I also research destination management, specifically World Heritage site designation and management practice. I'm also part of an international network of researchers into the development of dementia-friendly destinations and experiences. I particularly enjoy collaborative projects that draw academics, practitioners and policymakers together to work on live issues. A recent project related to the recruitment and retention of visitor-facing employees at visitor attractions across Scotland - a multi-generational approach.
I am Lead for the interdisciplinary Tourism Research Centre hosted at Edinburgh Napier University. I encourage collaborative working and work closely with the tourism, festival and event, and hospitality sectors to develop and support sustainable tourism practices. We aim to engage in inter-disciplinary research and knowledge exchange activities to drive economic, social and cultural recovery and sustainable growth across destinations and communities.
I have co-edited several textbooks including Managing Visitor Attractions (2022) and contributed to several key tourism textbooks. I am on the Editorial Board for five international tourism journals and has been actively involved in the Scientific Committees for many international conferences in Europe and USA. I have published in key 4* CABS academic journals such as Tourism Management and the Journal of Travel Research, in addition to publishing an extensive range of case studies, articles and practitioner papers. I am actively involved in doctoral student supervision and external examination.
My recent undergraduate and postgraduate teaching delivery has been in Edinburgh, Switzerland, Corsica and Hong Kong. I am also closely involved in the preparation and delivery of the Scottish Enterprise Destination Leaders’ Programme and other commercial programmes. Recent publications include work on the development of dementia-friendly destinations and how to develop experiences for Senior Visitors at attractions, with my research being embedded within the curriculum.
I have held various external roles, for example, as Visiting Professor at Wakayama University, Japan between 2015-2019, and as reviewer and referee for validation panels and promotion panels. Anna is a Fellow of the Tourism Society and of the Higher Education Academy.
I work closely with tourism sector organisations and participated in the Scottish Government Tourism Recovery Taskforce and delivery of the subsequent Scottish Government funded Talent Development and Leadership programmes. I facilitates connections between the industry and higher education in my role as Higher Education representative on the Tourism & Hospitality Skills Group as part of Skills Development Scotland. More recently I have been working with the tourism sector on how to develop skills and leadership in individuals, organisations and destinations.