The Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT), Australia’s largest dedicated centre for world-leading research in this area, opened at Griffith University on January 1.
Its Strategic Research Program will focus on key areas covering business, environment, health and the Asia-Pacific region, aiming to influence development of tourism-related policy and how the tourism industry adopts evidence-based best practice.
“This is a research centre for the 21st century,” Professor Susanne Becken said.
“GIFT is globally significant and will demonstrate the sustained value of research for communities and economies both here and overseas.”
Professor Becken is the inaugural Director of GIFT which includes 25 academic members and three research fellows.
GIFT will build on an established and strong footing in tourism research. Griffith ranked number three in the world in terms of tourism research output for the first decade of the century, and was the world leader in the field of sustainable tourism during this term.
Current research projects include the growth of tourism in China, the impact of Schoolies Week on Gold Coast residents, the conflict between mining and tourism, adapting the tourism industry to deal with climate change and disaster management, attracting international students to holiday in Australia and how tourism operators respond to online criticism.
“These include prime examples of how research can bridge the gap between academia and useable knowledge, bring local issues to light, inform community behaviour, research facts with academic objectivity, leading to practical recommendations,” Professor Becken said.
Professor Becken has just returned from a trip to the Maldives where she presented a series of recommendations to government on the development of tourism policy in the face of severe weather events brought on by climate change.
“GIFT will have an economic and community reach through a vibrant research culture, international collaborations and key partnerships with organisations across the tourism sector.”
GIFT will be officially launched on March 5.