SOH Research Seminar Series Feature Dr Eric Olmedo and Dr Daisy Gayathri Kanagasapapathy

The School of Hospitality (SOH) recently held the 2nd and 3rd episodes of its 2018 Research Seminar Series with talks by Dr Eric José Olmedo-Panal from UKM and Dr Daisy Gayathri Kanagasapapathy from Sunway University.

‘Food for Thought’: Understanding the Need for Food Research

Dr Eric José Olmedo-Panal is a well-renowned researcher and has expertise in the anthropology of food, and sociology of work. Currently a Principal Research Fellow and Head of Professional Engagement Division at the Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA) in UKM, he has also co-founded a social science laboratory, Antropotek, where findings are applied to the workplace, especially in the aerospace and manufacturing industry.

Dr Eric Olmedo’s talk titled “Food Research & Food Education: Why Do We Need it in Malaysia” on 25 May was divided into two parts, where he first shared his research concerning ‘mamak’ restaurants and how they foster social ethnic inclusivity, and how these food shops play an active role in social innovation. The second part concentrated on the study of ethnic and local vegetables such as ‘ulam’, emphasising the importance of local vegetables being incorporated within primary education institutions to cultivate an awareness of healthy eating lifestyles from a young age. Working together with various international groups and education institutions such as Kyoto University in Japan, Ho Chi Minh University of Technology (HUTECH) in Vietnam, among others, Dr Eric hopes to see the rise in consumption of ethnic vegetables through education.

Professor Marcus Stephenson, Dean of School of Hospitality, stated: “As the School of Hospitality at Sunway University continues to expand its capacity to conduct research in this field, the role of food research will certainly feature as a core interest area. We learnt a lot from Dr Eric’s presentation, including the symbiotic relationship between food and education”.

Dr Daisy Gayathri Kanagasapapathy, Chair of Research and Enterprise Committee said that the presentation was “very insightful in the field of food education. Food education is a promising instrument to promote healthy eating habits among children and adults.”


Exploring Heritage Flow Experience: The Case of Greenwich

A PhD graduate from Bournemouth University, Dr Daisy Gayathri Kanagasapapathy who is currently attached with School of Hospitality, Sunway University presented her research titled “Understanding the Flow Experience of Heritage Tourists: The Case of Greenwich” in the 3rd Research Seminar Series on 8 June.


Her research explores the field of heritage tourism and centres on experiences from the perspective of ‘flow’. She adopted a quantitative research approach, using a tourist survey at Maritime Greenwich, United Kingdom due to its rich maritime heritage and all year-round appeal to tourists. A total of 648 respondents was analysed and fitted into the flow theory.

Dr Daisy’s study indicated a strong moments of presence of flow experience was present especially when heritage visitors were in an extremely enjoyable experience. The results of this study provide baseline data on the existence of the flow phenomenon in the heritage environment. It also provides knowledge about the factors associated with the flow experience and tourists’ feelings and enjoyment in a heritage visit.

"This topic is very unique and actually crucial for the heritage industry to fully comprehend, especially to then maximize on tourist satisfaction and the heritage tourism experience. Dr Daisy’s presentation was of very high quality and her research methodology was extremely robust. It is of no surprise that she oversees research development in the School of Hospitality”, explained Professor Stephenson.

Dr Daisy has won a couple of research grants and collaborated with English Heritage, Historic England, Greenwich Tourism and UNESCO for research. Prior to that, she served the National Tourist Board for over 10 years and has organised a number of high-profile events for academic, professional and governmental audiences. She has also worked closely with major industry players such as UNWTO, PATA, ICCA and IAPCO.

Sponsored by The Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur, this seminar series is part of SOH’s commitment to strive for research excellence where faculty members and other academicians will be provided an excellent opportunity to exchange research expertise and ideas, which will pave the way for future research collaborations.

Throughout this series, leading academics and distinguished guest speakers, as well as faculty staff members, will be invited to share the latest research advances in their field, to contribute to the continuing professional development of the faculty.

All university colleagues are welcome to attend the SOH Research Seminar Series, as well as staff from other university. For details of forthcoming sessions, please contact, Dr. Daisy at