Dr Amy Savener, a Cultural geographer from Cincinnati Ohio, joined the Department of Rural Tourism in August, 2016. Savener received her PhD in Geography from Indiana University-Bloomington in the U.S., with a minor in Leisure Behavior / Tourism Studies. She also has a Master of Community Planning, focusing on tourism planning for economic development purposes. Her Bachelor of Art was in Journalism, after which she spent seven years as a newspaper reporter in Annapolis, Maryland, Nashua New Hampshire and Pullman, Washington – all rural areas facing rapid residential and commercial development.
Within the academic community, Amy Savener‘s research is situated within and between Critical Tourism Studies and Cultural Geography, influenced by Cultural Studies and is grounded in western continental philosophical traditions. She is particularly interested in how work and leisure in the Global North and in urban areas globally have shaped tourist perceptions.
Geographically, Dr Savener‘s work applies to any remote regions undergoing explosive growth in tourism. But regionally, her work thus far has centered on three places:
• the indigenously-occupied territory of Guna Yala, Panamá, which consists of an archipelago of nearly 400 islands and islets. The region is politically autonomous and consists mostly of water. The tiny population there has been battling outsiders for 500 years – first Cristobal Colon and his legion, then Americans and now drug-smugglers from Colombia
• the southwest coastal province of Barahona in the Republica Dominicana where the Aeropuerto Internacional María Montez was under contruction without a feasibility study to gauge whether the region could draw or support international tourism.
• the agricultural region between northeast Alsace in France and northwestern Saarland in Germany, bordering southeastern Luxembourg. The Moselle River corridor is the main artery of historic importance in this region.
Her research is now focused on Skagafjörður region of northwest, Iceland and international tourism impacts on the nation itself with regards to sociocultural conflict, infrastructure demands and the tensions between tourism expansion for economic development and the need for measured, planned growth.
Dr Savener teaches courses in Rural Tourism, Research Methods in Tourism and Health and Wellness Tourism. She also teaches a Methodology Workshop on graduate level and supervises a master student, whose thesis research will investigate social carrying capacity and attitudes towards tourism in Akureyri. Pedagogically, she is particularly interested in incorporating cutting-edge web-available technologies both in the classroom and in distance learning communication with students.
In the beginning of November, Amy presented an open lecture, in the Rural Tourism open seminar sequence Vísindi og grautur. The presentation, “Mass Tourism Invasion to and Indigenously-Governed (Rural) Archipelago in the Caribbean”, was based on her PhD research. The picture was taken on that occasion.