Research Candidates' Projects

Read about some of the topics our Research candidates are exploring


Sulistyo Utomo

The Impact of Hajj satisfaction and Hajj investment on Islamic religious commitment:  The case of Indonesian Hajj


Touristic Intelligence: Developing a model on measuring Touristic Intelligence

Hanna's PhD research investigates how emotionally arousing tourism advertisement and source credibility of images affect consumers’ attitude through the lens of the Self-Validation Hypothesis (SVH), paying specific attention to the role of thought confidence, the valence and amount of thought. Her thesis applies a meta-cognitive theory from social psychology to explore Australians' attitudes toward Iran tourism adverting stimuli.


Destination food images: The case of Australia and its China Tourism Market

This study aims to explore the image of Australia as a food destination as perceived by the largest tourism market─China, which is recognized as the largest inbound visitor market for Australia and is also predicted to reach $9 billion a year by 2020. A negative perception associated with Australia as a food destination was discovered in the Tourism Australia’s (2014) market survey. The survey revealed that 72% of Chinese people who have never visited Australia perceived Australian food and gastronomic experiences as unattractive, and ranked the country’s food and wine poorly. Conversely, Chinese tourists who have experienced Australian food considered Australia as one of the best places to enjoy good food, and ranked it as the number one food destination in the world. Indeed, this indicates Australia needs to understand the various perceptions of Australian food amongst potential Chinese tourists, in order to identify the issues of perception gap between how Tourism Australia projected a desired food image overseas and how it was perceive by these potential tourists. In tourism destination image literature, little is known about the Asian tourists’ pre-visit awareness, knowledge and perceptions of a Western country’s food. This research seeks to investigate factors influencing the perception of a favorable or unfavorable image of a country’s food in general, and to identify determinants of Australian food image from the perspective of potential Chinese tourists in particular. This study adds to the existing literature on destination food image in destination branding. The findings can guide future destination marketing activities by minimising disparity in brand image perception between the guest and host, so as to increase brand consistency, visibility and awareness of food destinations.


An investigation into authenticity and its key determinants in dining experiences: a study among online review communities

This study examines authenticity in dining experiences including two stages. The first stage examines the expressions of authenticity communicated in online restaurant reviews and determines to what extent authenticity plays an important role in online restaurant evaluations. The second stage aims to establish a multi-dimensional scale of authenticity that depicts key elements shaping perceptions of authenticity held by online restaurant reviewers. This study, overall, argues that authenticity in dining experiences should be examined from both tourism, hospitality and leisure perspective and organisational management perspective.


This research investigates the relationship that empathy bears to the delivery of quality tourism experiences across Chinese and Australian tourism and hospitality workers

This research will focus on how empathy delivering and influencing quality tourism experiences in both Australian and Chinese setting.  In this research a supporting psychological/behavioural training program will be introduced that will enhance empathic skills, and in turn, the quality experiences.  The research proposes to achieve the following aims:

  • Development of a survey instrument to identify the various dimensions of empathy in tourism and hospitality workers
  • Enhanced understanding of the relationship between empathy and the deliver of positive tourism experiences
  • Development of culturally appropriate training programs to develop empathic skills in tourism and hospitality workers in china and Australia.
  • Development of curriculum to increase understanding and awareness of empathic skills for tourism education programs in china and Australia.


The Development Plan of Dongguan Street: An Invaluable Historical and  Cultural Heritage

Culture heritage is endangered in the fast urbanization process, and tourism helps to save the heritage and develop the city characteristics.

Urban development in China has stepped up large scale development of new areas and reconstruction of the old towns. However, challenges between urban development and heritage conservation exist since the vast development in urban areas will threaten the built heritage in the city. China’s embodiment of a unique political and socio-cultural context for urban heritage and regeneration pertains to urban heritage tourism. Rejuvenating the old district left in the city and making it the symbol of urban history and culture will promote the development  of the city’s character and attract more tourists. My research focuses on an abandoned relic neighbourhood located at the city center of Dalian, Liaoning Province, China. With a history of more than 110 years, this deteriorating relic is at the intersection of heritage conservation and urbanisation. Hence, this research tries to offer an effective and valuable guide for the sustainable development of this urban relic through  the integration of heritage conservation and tourism planning.


Investigating destination competitiveness through customer value in scuba diving

I’m investigating destination competitiveness through customer value in scuba diving tourism. Because the tourism market is so diverse and there are so many different motivations, my study is based on just that one niche market: scuba diving tourism.

One of the ways to improve the marketing position of tourism destinations is through competition. But what are the attributes that make one destination better than another? Previous studies on destination competitiveness relied on the suppliers’ perspective. This meant that academics, managers and members of the tourism industry formed the basis of previous research(?) models on destination competitiveness.

But what about the tourists? What are successful attributes from a tourist’s point of view?  This is what essentially forms the theoretical background of my study. I’ve been investigating the importance of each destination attribute. For example: What is more important: the underwater visibility or the quality of the accommodation?

Additionally, I’m investigating the relative importance of these attributes according to the level of diving and travel experience of the respondents. So, to what extent does the level of a scuba diver’s experience influence the importance given to destination attributes?

The results have shown that destination competitiveness is a very dynamic concept that varies not only through tourism niches but within niches.

It means, rather generally,  that destination competitiveness should be measured by comparing destinations in the same market niche – for example: scuba diving tourism, wine tourism and sky tourism… each one of these niches has its own unique parameters (attributes?)

The results of my research will help managers to better understand the strengths and weakness of their destinations,and in turn, provide better and more competitive value for their niche tourist market.


Consumer behaviour in the green hotels context

With the goal of getting further insights into marketing approaches that promote environmental behaviour in Australia, my research aims to examine the effect of positive and negative cueing on consumers’ purchase intention in the green hotel context using the framework of the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Green hotels are becoming a growing niche in the competitive accommodation market. Developing persuasive marketing messages is critical in ensuring the effectiveness of the hotel’s green initiatives. Despite consumers’ rising concerns for the environment and growing demand for green hotels, the effect of hotels’ green messages on consumers’ purchase intentions has been rarely examined. Hotels have been promoting their green practices through a continuum of cues that implies their positive and negative impacts on the environment, consequently, it is arguably crucial to understand the anticipated effect of such queues on consumers’ purchase decisions.


Understanding the Tourism Adaptation System and its Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change Risks

Climate change adaptation is increasingly important for destinations around the world. This is the case in particular for the tourism sector on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) due to the economic importance of tourism and the islands’ high vulnerability to climate change impacts. Currently, there is a lack of understanding how the tourism sector is adapting and how its adaptation actions and development activities impact surrounding communities and environments. However, this knowledge is crucial in order to avoid diverting risks from one component of the system to another and to creating new risks. This study proposes that when tourism is integrated with the local community, any climate change responses are more likely to be effective if a joint approach is taken which considers the wider system. In order to investigate this proposition, this study applies social-ecological systems thinking to find out how the tourism sector of South Pacific SIDS can adapt to climate change risks while contributing to sustainability of the system.


Is international tourism only a hedonic pursuit that is substitutable for domestic travel?

Well-being plays a vital role in tourism as holidays are one avenue whereby people can prioritise well-being in their lives. However, empirical research which links holiday taking and well-being still lack theoretical foundations to support this line of inquiry. The literature on how different tourist experiences influences hedonic (feeling good) or eudaimonic (functioning well) well-being is also unconsolidated.  This study builds on recent literature which suggests that the supply side of tourist experiences per se cannot be classified as hedonic or eudaimonic but instead depends on the characteristics of individuals engaging in the activity, their goals, past experience, and the meaning and personal significance they assigned to the experience.

This study will employ the Cognitive Appraisal Theory (CAT) from cognitive psychology and the PERMA (Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement) model from positive psychology to examine how goals and novelty may influence hedonic and eudaimonic well-being resulting from a holiday.

By drawing on the pragmatic paradigm and adopting an explanatory sequential mixed methods design consisting of a pre-post trip design, this study aims to make two contributions to the positive psychology and tourism bodies of knowledge. First, by extending the current understanding of hedonic and eudaimonic experiences in tourism by examining the effect of individual goals and holiday novelty on well-being.  Second, by examining whether goals and novelty can affect change to PERMA dimensions. This study will also provide industry practitioners with an understanding that tourist experiences can extend beyond hedonic enjoyment by contributing to an individual’s well-being and quality of life.  By acknowledging that individual goals and appraisals such as novelty can impact well-being outcomes has implications for marketing efforts in terms of delivering memorable tourism experiences.


Pro-environmental practice and behaviour whilst staying at holiday accommodation

Monitoring the impacts of persuasive communication and infrastructure to determine most effective methods to encourage guest participation in reducing holiday accommodation's environmental footprint.

The question ‘how can we invite guests to actively participate to save resources whilst on holiday’ has been the quest of Christopher's research. It has been a fascinating PhD with intriguing insights, and a commercial output in the form of My Green Butler. It is a smart service which persuades you to reduce resource consumption while maintaining overall stay satisfaction. My Green Butler recognises you want a comfortable stay but don’t want to be wasteful, so the digital advisor helps you make smart choices to save precious resources. What’s great is that all financial savings you generate go to local wildlife causes.

There is very little sustainability-oriented innovation in tourist accommodation beyond imitation and reliance on technology. My Green Butler is a service innovation which uses social technologies as its driving force, going beyond guest compliance with towel/reline reuse messages, to generate customer value through the resource conserving experience. In parallel there is a training programme to upskill accommodation staff. This is the invention of Australian accommodation provider, Crystal Creek Meadows in Kangaroo Valley, which is soon to be used by other tourist accommodation in Australia, Dubai and the Europe.

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