Tourism Advertising and Public Relations is an elective in the MS in Tourism Management. Professor Pierre Gervois, the instructor, tells us more about his background and the course in this post.
What is your background?
I studied philosophy and constitutional law in Paris, and my first job was in politics, writing speeches for politicians. At the same time, I was painting and exploring abstract forms of art. Following a French government cabinet reshuffle in 2000, I ended up working at the Ministry of Finance and Economics, at the Department of International Chambers of Commerce and Industries, where I was in charge of coordinating business relations with China. I was also teaching international marketing and communications in several French universities and business schools, and discovered that teaching was something that I liked a lot. I have always been teaching since then.
In 2005, I left my government job and started to advise Western companies in their investments and developments in China, with a particular focus on hospitality and tourism businesses. From 2007 to 2013, I was working and living in Shanghai, where I was advising international tourism businesses and organizations on their strategy with Chinese outbound tourists.
I immigrated to the United States in 2013 and started a media production company, producing travel-related content (digital publications and documentary films about travel & art in the U.S.) as well as an interview series for television focused on philanthropy and social justice issues in the United States.
At the Tisch Center, you teach the Tourism Advertising & PR course. What are the objectives of the course?
I had the pleasure to work with more than 20 countries on tourism advertising and public relations projects over the last 15 years, and I could see how important it was, for a destination, to have a well-crafted and executed advertising and PR campaign. My goal is to share my experiences with my students and make them the best possible advertising and PR professionals, as well as anticipating the new trends in the ever-changing tourism industry.
In class, we are exploring how destinations, at the city, county, state and federal levels, are promoting themselves to domestic and international travelers. We are analyzing the new travel trends for the upcoming decade: a transition towards more authenticity, more genuine travel experiences, more interactions with the residents of a destination, and growing incorporation of local arts and culture in the advertising and public relations mix.
Why are you interested in this specific topic?
The tourism industry is one of the largest industries in the world, and has a major impact on the global economy. It's also an industry that is fundamentally, deeply human: welcoming a guest, sharing ideas, discovering new cultures, confronting stereotypes and embracing our differences. I have always thought that promoting a destination through advertising and PR was a fascinating task that requested a multidisciplinary approach at the confluence of advertising, psychology, new technologies, and political science.
What impact do you hope to have on your students through this course?
Good advertising and PR professionals should be able to adapt to any unforeseen circumstance and adjust their destination's message and branding in real-time, based on new travelers' trends as well as major disruptions. Being curious, open-minded and respectful of other cultures are essential values for tourism professionals.
I teach my students intellectual curiosity and skepticism concerning stereotypes, and I hope they will always challenge status-quo and find innovative ways to promote destinations, in an inclusive way for all travelers.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I have been very impressed by the academic environment at NYU SPS Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitlality, the support and encouragement from my colleagues and the extraordinary resources at the disposal of students and faculty members to conduct research or find data to prepare a class. It is an honor for me to teach here and I feel I learn myself as much as my students and constantly get new perspectives on my professional practice.