The sustainable development of tourism in Australia and around the world

Cape Naturaliste

We have a long tradition of multi-disciplinary and industry-relevant tourism, hospitality and events research. We have become well-known for our annual international symposia and our collaborations with government and industry in providing innovative solutions to current problems through rigorous research projects. Our key research areas in the sector include, yet extend beyond:

  • Sustainability, Responsible Business and Indigenous Tourism;
  • Innovation and Digitisation; and
  • Local Communities and Regional Development.

Since its inauguration in 2011, the Tourism Research Cluster (TRC) has been the foundation of Curtin’s world-class rated research in the area. We are a vibrant cross-faculty research group of internationally recognised academics. The TRC connects industry, government and academia and offers students the opportunity to develop research skills in the interconnected fields of tourism, hospitality and events research. Through our diverse network of tourism academics and international Adjunct Professors with backgrounds in marketing, geography, management, cultural anthropology, public policy, spatial sciences and statistics, the TRC targets topical tourism issues with wide-ranging expertise.
We maintain close ties with industry and government partners, including Tourism Western Australia, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (Parks and Wildlife Service), the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council, the UN World Tourism Organization and several regional tourism organisations and development commissions.

Key projects

Australia’s South West Sustainable Tourism Observatory Researchers: Dr Michael Volgger, Prof. Kirsten Holmes, Sara Cavalcanti Marques, Prof. Christof Pforr, Prof. Mohammed Quaddus, Titania Suwarto, Prof. Ross Taplin, Dr Ben Thomas, A/Prof. Jianhong (Cecilia) Xia

Established in 2019, Australia’s South West Sustainable Tourism Observatory supports sustainable tourism development in Western Australia’s second largest tourism region by providing relevant and up-to-date data about sustainable tourism in the South West. The South West Observatory has been incorporated into the prestigious United Nations World Tourism Organization’s International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO), officially recognising it as the first of its kind in Australia. The Observatory operates in close partnership with government and industry, including partners such as the Western Australian Government, Tourism Western Australia, Australia’s South West, Parks and Wildlife Service, the South West Development Commission, the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, RAC Parks and Resorts, and Expedia.

Beyond the traditional cellar door: Do tiered cellar door service offerings maximise value for differing wine tourist segments? Researchers: A/Prof. Jeremy Galbreath, Dr Ben Thomas

Wine producers are increasingly complementing cellar door wine tastings with additional attractions such as self-guided wine flights, restaurants, the sale of local gourmet products, galleries and museums. This has been especially important in sustaining interest from tourism markets. Funded by Wine Australia, this project partners with two Western Australian wine producers to attempt to better understand the impact of these various service offerings on visitor satisfaction, purchasing behaviour and return visits. Using innovative mobile phone tracking technology, visitor behaviour within the cellar door facility is being tracked, and data on the financial yields for each service offering produced and analysed.

Indian Ocean Tourism Research Initiative Researchers: Dr Michael Volgger, Dr Christina Lee, Prof. Barbara Mullan, Prof. Christof Pforr, Prof. Ross Taplin, Dr Michael Baird, A/Prof. Cecilia Xia, Dr Senika Dewnarain, Dr Samuel Folorunso Adeyinka-Ojo, Prof. Euan Harvey, Dr David A. McMeekin, Dr Eleanor Quested

A multi-disciplinary and cross-campus team of Curtin researchers, located in Western Australia and at Curtin’s global campuses in Malaysia and Mauritius, are currently collaborating to implement an Indian Ocean Tourism Research Program. The team includes researchers from the faculties of Business and Law, Humanities, Science and Engineering and Health Sciences. This research program supports adaptable, resilient and sustainable tourism development in the Indian Ocean context. Industry-embedded research will concentrate on digital technologies to support cultural tourism, connectivity and mobility, conservation of marine ecosystems and mental health, as well as consumer confidence in post-COVID-19 tourism.