World-leading researchers will gather in Hobart for the University of Tasmania’s Tourism Tracking Symposium on Friday.
Hosted by the Tourism Research Education Network (TRENd) and Institute for the Study of Social Change, event organiser and the University of Tasmania’s Associate Professor Anne Hardy said the free event will focus on tracking tourists which is one of the most current, yet highly contested research issues facing tourism researchers, managers and business owners.
Associate Professor Hardy led the award-winning Tourism Tracer project, which was launched in 2016 and has attracted worldwide attention as the first research program to profile and track tourists as they travel, with their consent.
“The world really is watching Tasmania in the tourist tracking space and we are honoured to have leaders of this calibre bringing their research to our shores,” Associate Professor Hardy said.
“Although technology allows for tracking, there are many issues facing the practice.
“These include ethical compliance, the challenges of recruiting research participants and the great range of options available to track and asses tourist’s movements.
“Being able to bring some of the world’s leaders in this field to our state and tackle these issues in an open forum, is such a great opportunity for the tourism industry.”
Associate Professor Hardy said the event would be live streamed allowing people to video link in remotely, with many RSVPs secured from Spain, New Zealand and interstate.
“This is the first time we have hosted an event like this and we are thrilled to have the support of the United Nations through its One Plant Network Sustainable Tourism Programme. Our symposium has been branded as a One Planet event, as it is seen as aligning with the Sustainable Development goals of the UN,” Associate Professor Hardy said.
“This is a huge international tick of approval and is part of the global commitment to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production in both developed and developing countries.”
The symposium will feature key international presenters including Professor Noam Shoval, of Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Dr Amit Birenboim, of Tel Aviv University.
Interstate presenters include Professor Catherine Pickering, of Griffith University, and Professor Sara Dolnicar, of the University of Queensland.
Professor Noam Shoval’s arrival from Israel to Hobart on Sunday, marked his first visit to Australia.
He will team up with Associate Professor Hardy and fellow conference speaker Dr Birenboim to work on publications based on similar data sets from Israel and Tasmania.
“The Tourism Tracer project team are doing ground-breaking “state-of-the-art” work in terms of research and its application for industry and policy makers,” Professor Shoval said.
“This is exciting and making this long journey worthwhile for me.”
Professor Shoval said his recent two-year data collection with the Israeli Ministry of Transport to track incoming tourists to Israel, was similar to Tasmania’s Tourism Tracer project.
“Therefore, we can see what type of generalisation we can do from two different but similar projects of tracking tourists during their whole visit to a large-scale destination like Tasmania or Israel,” Professor Shoval said.
“Projects like the Tourism Tracer are important since we have a tool that is very accurate in terms of time and space and this is already transforming the way we do research nowadays.
“This could be very beneficial for the tourism industry and policy makers to make better decisions or increase revenues.
“In my mind the potential impact of tracking technologies in tourism should be compared to the impact of the introduction of high-resolution digital platforms in other fields, such as MRI in medicine, the electron microscope in chemistry and biology, or the Ikonos earth observation satellite in remote sensing.
“Tourist tracking gives us insight that previously could not be achieved with the methodologies that we had available.”
Pictured: Preparing for Friday’s Tourism Tracking Symposium in Hobart are (from left) Professor Noam Shoval, of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Associate Professor Anne Hardy, of the University of Tasmania, and Dr Amit Birenboim, of Tel Aviv University.