Using research excellence to address current issues facing the tourism industry

A range of groups and organisations harness GIFT’s expertise, making use of user-friendly research reports on specific issues facing the tourism industry, linking the Institute to the world.


Griffith Institute for Tourism assisted with the preparation of the data for the 2018-2019 State Tourism Satellite Account.

The State Tourism Satellite Accounts show the importance of tourism to the economy for each of Australia’s states and territories, presenting key data on consumption, employment and economic activity during 2018–19.

They provide an accurate reflection of the tourism industry during a more typical economic environment, before COVID-19 and Australia’s 2019–20 summer bushfires. Therefore, it will be the benchmark against which tourism’s recovery for each state and territory can be assessed.


On the 8th September, 2019, a bushfire destroyed most of the heritage listed buildings at the lodge.

This case study was prepared by Griffith Institute for Tourism based on interviews with key stakeholders in November 2019. The case study aims to document the event to share with tourism and other businesses to inform their disaster preparedness and planning in responding to similar events.

Queensland Tourism Digital Workforce Development and Training Plan

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) partnered with researchers from the Griffith Institute for Tourism to develop the first Queensland Tourism Digital Workforce Development and Training Plan.

Lady Elliot Island Eco-resort’s transition to renewable energy

This report presents an industry case study of the Lady Elliot Island eco-resort’s transition to 100 percent renewable energy. The transition started in 2007 and has proceeded over a period of over a decade during which the main drivers of energy demand and supply have changed significantly.

This report focuses on the story of how the eco-resort team overcame barriers to change, the problems encountered in operating renewable energy infrastructure in a remote and harsh environment, and the ways in which the eco-resort has improved its power and energy management practices to assist the transition.

Airline Initiatives to Reduce Climate Impact

Airlines are facing mounting pressure from governments, the public and media to reduce their fast-growing CO2 emissions. Scientists have calculated that the ‘carbon budget’ that remains to stay safely within 1.5 degrees Celsius warming will be depleted in 8 years and 2 months (from November 2019), assuming current levels of emissions. Whilst airlines currently only represent 2-4% of emissions, their share will increase to well over 20% in 2050 should aviation continue on its current growth path.

Monitoring aesthetic value of the Great Barrier Reef using innovative technologies

The underwater beauty of the GBR is under threat due to reduction in coral cover and reduced water clarity. This project focused on underwater aesthetic value, because it is changing most rapidly and is at acute risk from deterioration of water quality, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and biodiversity loss.

Visitor Visas for Asian Markets

Australia competes in a highly competitive industry for visitors from a number of Asian markets. A key consideration in Australia’s overall competitiveness is the cost of visa fees and supplementary charges, along with visa processing times. This research compares visa charges and processing times in a select number of Asian markets,.

Is UNWTO actually walking the talk?

This research bulletin features some of the highlights from an analysis of the gender representation of speakers at UNWTO events in 2017. The aim of the study was to establish a  baseline that would serve as a benchmark for UNWTO to measure their improvement of the fifth UNSDG (to have its member countries achieve gender quality and empower women in tourism).

Queensland Climate Adaptation Strategy

Building on 20 years of research, this strategy is a well founded and authoritative guide to the Queensland tourism industry.

Managing Growth and Sustainable Tourism Governance in Asia and the Pacific

In collaboration with the UNWTO, this book provides insights and case studies to understand what tourism growth means for nations, communities and the environment, and how it needs to be managed to avoid negative impacts.

Carbon reporting in Travel and Tourism

Measurement, reporting and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions are becoming more mainstream, especially amongst larger corporations, followed by smaller operators. The benefits of carbon reporting include reduced operational costs, enhanced brand value, and better risk management. There is evidence an increasing number of tourism companies are engaging in environmental and carbon reporting. However, relative to the size of the sector and considering its annual growth rates, reporting levels are still comparatively low.

This report on “Proving the Case”, written in partnership with Amadeus, concluded both industry leadership and an enabling policy environment are required to achieve fast progress in reporting, disclosure and reduction of carbon emissions.

Public-Private Partnerships in tourism

GIFT and UNWTO launched the Global Report on Public-Private Partnerships in Tourism in November 2015. Through a wide range of case studies, the UNWTO Global Report on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs): Tourism Development, provides a solid evidence base for the importance of effective PPPs in tourism, illustrating how partnerships across different destinations and market segments can be used as development tools.

Presenting the main findings of the report, Professor Scott noted through PPPs, stakeholders can come together to achieve remarkable results in areas such as product development and capacity building.

Resilient tourism in New Zealand

Funded by the New Zealand Government's Resilience Fund, this project focussed on concern about, and preparedness for, natural disasters, a focal point since the Christchurch earthquakes. To work toward the long-term strategic reduction of risks from hazards through collaborative planning with stakeholders, Lincoln University and Griffith University undertook a series of interviews to investigate the implementation of the Vourism Action Plan (VAP) in the Northland area and to present the findings in a written report. A mixed method approach was used to conduct a 'value-engaged evaluation', with findings reported to key stakeholders to increase disaster preparedness.

Climate change policy development in the Maldives

This UNDP-funded project analysed the policy environment of the Maldives and its effectiveness for climate change adaptation in the tourism sector. Dr Shakeela, Professor Becken and Ms Johnson undertook doctrinal research of more than 85 laws, regulations and policies and interviewed 39 stakeholders to identify barriers and incentives for adaptation. Recommendations included the clarification of key terms in relevant documents, improved legislation for monitoring and compliance and the development of a Climate Change Act. The Government of the Maldives is working on the implementation of the findings.

White Papers on Tourism and Water

GIFT is working collaboratively with EarthCheck and Ecolab to progress tourism’s performance in the area of water efficiency and conservation. The team produced two state-of-the-art White Papers on tourism and water. The first White Paper on Tourism and Water (2013) provided a global context on water stress, availability and stewardship, and discussed the implications for the tourism industry along the three dimensions of cost, availability and quality. The second White Paper on Tourism and Water provides solutions and discusses emerging issues, such as the water energy nexus.

Water Efficiency in the Asia Pacific hotel industry

A GIFT team worked with EC3 Global and Ecolab, the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies, to provide state-of-the-art information on tourism and water to the hotel industry in Asia Pacific. The first White Paper on Tourism and Water (2013) provided a global context on water stress, availability and stewardship, and discussed the implications for the tourism industry along the three dimensions of cost, availability and quality.

The second White Paper on Tourism and Water provides solutions and discusses emerging issues, such as the water energy nexus.

Engaging our students with industry

Building links between students and the tourism industry is critically important because students learn about the 'practice of tourism', and they can develop their skills in a real world context. Businesses enjoy sharing their success stories and having an opportunity to reflect on the importance of their innovations. This report highlights innovative case studies in tourism businesses in Queensland. These case studies were researched and prepared by students studying an undergraduate business degree at Griffith University and edited by the Course Convenor, Dr Sarah Gardiner.

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