Investigating opportunities for innovation in sustainable tourism

The Sustainability and Climate Change pillar advances research in the area of ecotourism, nature conservation, resource efficiency, and climate change. It builds on a long tradition of environmental research at Griffith University and connects with experts from a range of other disciplines, including climate science, ecology and marine science.

Our research strives to ensure that tourism activity is sustainable (economically, environmentally, socially and culturally) and resilient to major pressures, such as climate change or resource depletion.

The program offers practical support to operators and regulators of tourism destinations, drawing on research expertise in tourism (economics, marketing, consumer trends), infrastructure and environmental concerns.  We aim to assist the industry to develop profitable and sustainable business models, conserving the features of particular destinations, responsive to consumer preferences, and resilient to climate change and resource fluctuations.


The Great Barrier Reef is facing significant challenges and innovation is required to monitor environmental change costly effectively.  Working with researchers from Marine Science and the Big Data Lab, GIFT is developing new ways for measuring and monitoring experiential and aesthetic value of the Reef. Questions such as ‘how beautiful’ is the Reef and what experiences does it deliver are at the core of this research area.

Researchers: Professor Susanne Becken, Associate Professor Bela Stantic, Professor Rod Connolly


GIFT is a globally recognised leader in the field of climate change and tourism. Our research on climate change, and its interactions with other factors of global change, recognises the business risks associated with a changing climate and policy responses that require a decarbonisation of the tourism sector. Research at GIFT generates unique knowledge on how climate change affects tourism, and also provides policy, (and) business advice, resilience strategies and tools to support change.


Destinations are at the core of tourism activity, as they bring together the communities and businesses involved in tourism production with the consumer who visits the ‘place’ in search for positive experiences. Sustainable destinations recognise that substantial planning, design and management is required to ensure that net outcomes from tourism visitation are positive and do not undermine the integrity of local communities and environments. Research at GIFT tackles various aspects of destination sustainability, including resource efficiency, resilience, cultural integrity, well being of local residents, and policy.

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Our services

Destination planning

Griffith Institute For Tourism works closely with destinations to assist with sustainable planning.

Climate mitigation strategies

Our Institute conducts research to identify climate mitigation strategies that help balance the impact of tourism on the environment.

Business and infrastructure resilience planning

We work with destinations, government and industry to strategically plan for the sustainable development of business and infrastructure.

Disaster management

Our researchers use critical thinking to identify strategies for disaster management and resilience planning.

Sustainable design solutions

We use our extensive knowledge and expertise to designs tourism experiences that are sustainable and innovative.

Behavioural change strategies

We have innovative approaches to researching and educating people on behavioural change strategies required to become sustainable.

Carbon footprint analysis

Our researchers conduct comprehensive carbon footprint analysis to report on the carbon footprint of destinations and make recommendations on how to reduce the carbon footprint.

Assessing tourism social and environmental indicators

Our researchers critically analyse social and environmental indicators to assess the sustainability of a destination or tourism experience.

First People research and tourism planning

Griffith Institute For Tourism conducts First People research and tourism planning to ensure sustainable development of experiences.

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Contact the Griffith Institute for Tourism