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Meet our teachers: Jan Henrik Nilsson

Jan-Henrik Nilsson

Who is Professor Jan Henrik Nilsson? What does he say about the masters's programme in Service managment, specialisation Tourism? What is he currently working on in terms of research projects? And what will students be surprised to find out about him?

What is your academic background and what did you do before you started teaching at Lund University?

"I have a teacher's education (history, social science, religion) and worked 11 years as a schoolteacher. Then I went back to university, took a PhD in human geography and have been working at the department since 2000, when it started."

Could you describe the programme in Tourism?

"All our programmes (Bachelor’s and Master’s) are primarily service management. The generic parts are very important. This said, tourism studies have developed very much over the years. They are founded on close relations between research and education. All teachers are researchers, which is an advantage for several reasons. First, they are more 'up to date' as they are constantly refreshing their knowledge by doing research. Then, they are familiar with the “craft” of doing research, which is essential to supervise a good Master’s thesis. Finally, they often have first-hand information about the industry."

What sets this programme apart from other Master's programmes in the field?

"Other Swedish programmes studying tourism tend to concentrate on rural issues, while we are more urban. I also think that we are more truly transdisciplinary than most others."

How does the programme meet the needs of the labour market?

"Rather well. Perfect matches only exist in very specific professions, but I think we prepare students for a wide variety of tasks. I believe that the advantage of our programmes is that it combines general management insights with the tourism (and other) specialisations. This means you are not “stuck” with a particular industry. This said, I believe that our tourism students are particularly fit for working for hotels, tour operators and destination marketing organisations. But, at least in a Nordic context, they must be prepared to start on a junior level and work their way up."

What are you currently working on in terms of research projects?

"Two related projects: New urban tourism, and Ecosystem services in urban tourism."

What would the students be surprised to find out about you?

"I am a sergeant in the reserves of the bicycle infantry. I am also a licensed white water rafting guide, and I printed my Bachelor’s thesis using the old-fashioned fluid paint!"