Griffith ready to celebrate travel’s tech side on World Tourism Day

This Thursday, 27 September, is World Tourism Day and, as a leading global institution in the field, Griffith University will be celebrating the industry’s technological side in honour of this year’s theme, ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation’.

“Technology is increasingly important to tourism, making the guest experience more personalised and relevant, easier to purchase and more enjoyable and fun,” senior lecturer Dr Sarah Gardiner said.

“I’m particularly impressed by some of the young Queensland innovators that are leading the way in tourism’s digital transformation globally.”

To get the conversation started in the lead-up to World Tourism Day, Griffith organised an event to discuss the theme, hearing from leading digital innovators.

Presentations were from TravelbyBit founder Caleb Yeoh, who is revolutionising digital currency in tourism, as well as Griffith graduate NoExpiry founder Jackie Babbage, who launched a new innovative online global gifting platform early this year, and current PhD candidate Ryan Yung, who is investigating the role virtual reality will play in future tourism experiences.

Griffith researchers are also at the forefront of using new technologies in research. One project that highlights GIFT’s dedication to integrating technology in its research is ‘Monitoring the Great Barrier Reef’.

Led by GIFT director Professor Susanne Becken, the project investigates the urgent need to better understand and monitor the aesthetic value of the Great Barrier, using technology such as eye tracking, heart rate measurement, big data and artificial intelligence to obtain its results.

Smart service ‘My Green Butler’, developed by PhD candidate Christopher Warren, is another example of Griffith’s digital tourism nous, using smart metering and big data in order to help businesses change their customers’ consumption behaviours for the betterment of the environment.

In the realm of Hospitality and Events Management, GIFT researchers Associate Professor Anoop Patiar and Ms Kayleen Wood are investigating virtual field trips in the hospitality industry.

Meanwhile, technology and digital innovation also play a crucial role for researchers in the field of Tourism Modelling & Trends, exemplified by the Global Sustainable Tourism Dashboard initiative.

These ongoing projects are only one facet of GIFT’s commitment to technological innovations in tourism, having staged a seminar with the Griffith Business School’s Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management in early September to encourage conversation about the best ways to lead tourism into the future.

World Tourism Day is an initiative of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, and aims to promote sustainable and inclusive growth across the tourism industry in keeping with the UN’s list of Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information about the day, see the UNWTO’s website.

Learn more about studying tourism and hospitality at Griffith here.