UQ Business student says tourists tend to leave environmental concerns at home
People who have environmentally friendly lifestyles at home often engage in environmentally harmful behaviour when they go on holiday, research shows.
The subjects of a University of Queensland study were aware of tourism’s negative environmental consequences, but displayed an attitude-behaviour gap, said PhD student Emil Juvan from UQ Business School, the report’s author.
Mr Juvan’s paper, The Attitude-Behaviour Gap in Sustainable Tourism, aims to lead the tourism industry and other stakeholders in finding new ways to increase the level of environmentally sustainable holiday behaviours.
“This research shows there is little evidence to suggest that people consider the environmental costs of their holiday, nor do their environmental concerns influence their holiday choices,” Mr Juvan said.
It also revealed some of the most common excuses people gave for ignoring environmental costs, included denial of consequences, responsibility and control.
“These categories present a promising starting point for developing interventions that will prevent tourists from using excuses for not making the right choices,” Mr Juvan said.
“An environmentally unsustainable tourism industry is not only harmful to the environment, but also to its own future as it depletes the very resources tourists come to enjoy.”
Mr Juvan’s PhD supervisor, Professor Sara Dolnicar, said much of the previous research in sustainable tourism assumed that people could be “trained and re-educated.”
“Emil’s work takes a totally different perspective,” Professor Dolnicar said. “It accepts that people tend to find excuses for not doing the right thing.
“This is an extremely important piece of research because it makes the first step towards increasing the level of environmentally friendly behaviour of tourists while at the same time accepting that such behaviour does not come naturally to people who are investing a lot of time and money to relax and be free of the typical worries they have at home.”
Mr Juvan’s study has been published in the leading international academic journal Annals of Tourism Research.
The UQ School of Tourism
The UQ School of Tourism is recognised both nationally and internationally as a leading applied research and research training centre related to Sustainable Tourism. The school supports, produces and diffuses research knowledge that is original, innovative, high quality and of practical use to tourism-related industries and government. This takes place in a dynamic, collegial, supportive and well-resourced research environment for both staff and research students. The school engages strategically with industry, strengthens links with government bodies and has developed strong international links with other universities and other organisations.
The school’s research strengths are recognised by industry and government with academics and researchers attracting contracts and grants to conduct innovative research that contributes new knowledge to the fields of tourism, hospitality and events. This new knowledge is communicated to a wide audience via industry and government reports, national and international conference presentations, participation on advisory committees, and high-quality scholarly publications.
The UQ School of Tourism’s research strengths come under two broad themes: Visitor Experiences and Tourism Policy and Planning.
Master of Tourism Leadership
Program: Master of Tourism Leadership
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intakes: February or July
Duration: 1.5 years
Application deadline: November 30, 2014 for February 2015 intake; May 31, 2015 for July 2015 intake