JCU Business School explores the social impacts of tourism

1 October 2014

What about our way of life? Exploring the social impacts of tourism
North Queensland residents feel proud of tourism destinations in their areas and the positive impact tourism has in their communities, but it can also lead to locals feeling detached when transient populations pass through.

JCU Business School
This is why Queensland has so many tourists!

Elena Konovalov, a PhD student at JCU Business School, has studied how tourism influences the everyday lives of the people who live in tourist destinations and impacts on their quality of life.
Ms Konovalov said advocates of tourism development usually focused on its potential as an employer and source of business income.
However, opponents of tourism typically focus on the potential negative environmental impacts of uncontrolled tourism.

“Social tourism impacts are usually not as obvious, but nonetheless should be taken into account when evaluating tourism development benefits and costs to the community and this is what our research project was focused on,” Ms Konovalov said.

Ms Konovalov conducted a survey of local residents in three Queensland tropical communities (Airlie Beach, Bowen and the Atherton Tablelands) to explore the links between the scale and style of tourism development and various social aspects of community well-being.
“When we compare the results between the three communities, a number of links between social aspects of community well-being and tourism can be suggested,” Ms Konovalov said.
“In the area of human capital, for example, it seems that the scale of tourism development has a direct impact. A more developed tourism industry tends to coincide with more opportunities for work and education as well as attract more residents to the area.
“A more developed tourism industry is also associated with more opportunities to socialise in public places and more community services that are also available to locals,” the JCU Business School PhD student said.
Ms Konovalov said the presence of tourists at a destination also contributed to the community pride experienced by locals.

“But these benefits can come at a cost,” she said. “The research suggests that higher levels of tourism development can increase the transient population of temporary workers, can contribute to locals feeling detached from their community and less willing to give back to their community, and as tourist numbers increase, some locals can begin to feel angry and powerless about these changes.”

Ms Konovalov said overall, the research so far showed that tourism impacts on social aspects of community well-being are affected by the scale and style of tourism development as well as scale and type of community.
“The challenge for the researchers now is to explore further with these communities how to find the right mix of tourism to keep the benefits and manage the costs.”
Ms Konovalov is conducting the study under the supervision of Associate Professor Laurie Murphy and Professor Gianna Moscardo.

JCU Business School

The Faculty of Law, Business and the Creative Arts offers internationally recognized degrees that inspire students by exposing them to contemporary issues, the latest research and new ideas. JCU business degrees focus on learning outcomes that have professional relevance and practical application. Located across two campuses in the tropical north of the state of Queensland, the JCU Business School offers a broad leading edge range of business-related disciplines and degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management-MBA

This is an innovative joint master level qualification that combines tourism, hospitality and business management to give students the management skills required to be a tourism and hospitality industry professional.
Program: Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management-MBA
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 2 years

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