GIFT Director appointed to expert panel

Headshot of Susanne Becken, Griffith University

The Director of the new Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT) has singled out the continued growth of the Chinese tourist market as one of the highlights in the first UNWTO World Tourism Barometer publication of 2014.

The importance of understanding Chinese tourists and their needs has been a key focus for Professor Susanne Becken since the opening of the Institute in January, and was also a mainstay of her first contribution to the World Tourism Barometer after she accepted a position on the UNWTO Global Panel of Tourism experts.

Among the tourism trends headlined in January’s publication of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer was the continued growth in 2013 of China as an important global source market.

China became the largest outbound market in the world in 2012 with an expenditure of $US102 billion, and a further 28% increase in expenditure was recorded for the first three quarters of 2013.

“It is a great honour to be part of the UNWTO expert panel and I hope my research knowledge can make a worthy contribution to this important organisation,” Professor Becken said.

“Membership represents a great opportunity for GIFT to build stronger linkages with the world’s major intergovernmental organisation for tourism.

“Our researchers and Griffith University students can benefitthrough research access, government, industry and NGO networks, as well as leading initiatives in education and training, including curriculum development.”

The United Nations World Tourism Organization is a specialised agency of the UN and the leading international organisation in the field of tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how.

The international panel advises the world’s largest intergovernmental agency for tourism on trends and marketing strategies.

UNWTO plays a central and decisive role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism throughout the world.

GIFT’s 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.

Later this year GIFT will link up with Griffith’s Tourism Confucius Institute for an East-West Dialogue to discuss how tourism can engage with the China Dream to the economic benefit of both countries.

“We are to the forefront and in a strong position to work with the Chinese tourism authorities, and the trend highlighted by the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer means our plan for the East-West Dialogue is both appropriate and timely,” Professor Becken said.

China is expected to be the fourth-largest source of outbound travel in the world by 2020, with 100 million travellers. Australia hosted 827,624 Chinese group visitors in 2012. The Chinese inbound tourism market has also become the third largest market for Australia.