Partnership promotes sustainable
future for ecotourism

aerial view of kayakers over ocean reef

After a decade of working together, UQ and Ecotourism Australia have formalised a comprehensive partnership that aims to build a more sustainable future for ecotourism providers and the communities in which they operate.

UQ Business, Economics and Law Associate Dean (Research) Professor
Brent Ritchie
said the partnership would deliver insights that would add value for the tourism sector, locally and globally.

“For many years, UQ has been fortunate to tap into the industry expertise and experience within the Ecotourism Australia network to teach, inspire and connect with our students,” Professor Ritchie said.

“This partnership will extend how we work together, and pair Ecotourism
Australia’s insights into industry trends and challenges with UQ’s advanced research capabilities.

“Through a series of research projects, student scholarships, and industry work placement opportunities, we aim to deliver practical outcomes and insights that add value to local tourism providers, helping them to make informed, evidence-based business decisions.”

One of the new initiatives of the partnership will provide four scholarships to UQ higher degree by research students to explore key issues in ecotourism such as over-tourism, carbon reduction and social license to operate.

Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive Officer Rod Hillman said this was a vital step towards creating a more sustainable future.

“This is an extraordinary partnership that will allow us to access research that will create impact for our members, community and the environment,” Mr Hillman said.

“The PhD students will be doing work that is relevant, real world, and which will ultimately shape a better industry.”

Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive Officer Rod Hillman 

Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive Officer Rod Hillman 

Ecotourism Australia Chief Executive Officer Rod Hillman 

Mr Hillman said research conducted by UQ students had helped Ecotourism Australia find answers to critical questions such as understanding the value of eco-certification.

“One UQ student who recently completed a placement with us was able
to translate data into meaningful insights showing that, in an industry where one third of businesses fail within the first five years, ECO certified businesses are succeeding,” Mr Hillman said.

Professor Ritchie said the partnership will deliver impacts for Ecotourism Australia, their members and UQ.

Diver underwater with turtle on reef
Kangaroo on beach at sunrise
Hiker on mountain top looking at view

Read more inspiring research partnership stories from the 2019 BEL Research Profile.