Investigating opportunities for innovation in sustainable tourism

The strategic Sustainable Tourism program 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.

Focal Areas

MONITORING THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

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

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CLIMATE CHANGE

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.

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SUSTAINABLE DESTINATIONS

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 flagship projects