Sustainable and Health Tourism
The increasing significance of sustainability to the tourism industry has resulted in a rich program of sustainable and health tourism research at Curtin Business School that offers new opportunities for both industry collaboration and higher degree by research study.
Working primarily in Australia, but also internationally, Curtin Business School researchers in this field are contributing towards building a body of knowledge around this niche sector that includes the rapidly growing interest in natural therapies, healthy eating, outdoor recreation and medical tourism.
Closely related to health and wellness tourism, another priority area of research is nature-based tourism, which includes coastal and island destinations, as well as national parks. Much of this research takes place in partnership with local and state governments and with peak tourism bodies. It aims to assist with planning, development, management and policy to support the long-term sustainability of resources.
Academics from the sustainable and health tourism Research Program also actively work in event and hospitality tourism, as well as in cultural tourism – ranging from major international events such as the Olympic Games, to world heritage sites and local festivals.
Volunteering forms yet another vibrant area of research, with current efforts looking at the use of volunteers to staff visitor centres and meet-and-greet programs, for example, to better understand how local community engagement can enhance services that benefit the sector as a whole.
Cutting across most research in this area is an interest in regional development, given that – particularly in Australia – much tourism activity is regionally based, and can have a profound effect on these communities. In addition, because of the vital role played by strategic marketing and communications in either building a particular tourism destination or in managing environmentally fragile areas, factors such as tourist behavior, visitor experience and communications planning are also significant fields of ongoing study.
Researchers affiliated with this Research Program are also developing robust methodologies for measuring customer satisfaction in recreational tourist destinations, and for determining the value of nature-based assets.