“Crossing the Divide”: How Can Tourism Practitioners and Academics Better Understand One Another? Taylor’s Professor Leads Panel at TTRA-Apac Conference in Hong Kong

“Crossing the Divide”: How Can Tourism Practitioners and Academics Better Understand One Another? Taylor’s Professor Leads Panel at TTRA-Apac Conference in Hong Kong
 
Professor Perry Hobson organised a panel at the 5th Travel & Tourism Research Association Asia-Pacific conference to try and help academics and practitioners to identify ways to develop more relevant research that can lead to better informed industry practices.

(L-R) Prof Brent Ritchie (UQ), Carolyn Childs (MyTravel Research), Prof Perry Hobson (TU), Dr Glenn McCartney (UM), Rod Hillman (EcoTourism Australia)
 
While there are many academic and industry tourism associations, the unique positioning of Travel & Tourism Research Association (TTRA) is that its membership includes both academics and industry practitioners. The theme of the 5th TTRA Asia-Pacific (TTRA-Apac) conference was on “Leveraging tourism sustainability in the Asia-Pacific through research and practice”. The conference was held at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (SAR-China), and Prof Perry Hobson, the PVC for Global Engagement at Taylor’s University (TU), organised a panel as part of the conference to tackle the question of “Crossing the Divide”. The focus of this session was to explore ways in which academics and practitioners can work with one another to develop more relevant research, which can then lead to produce better, and more informed, industry practices. The four panelists included practitioners and academics.

The practitioners included Ms Carolyn Childs, a consultant at MyTravel Research (Australia), and Mr Rod Hillman, the President of EcoTourism Australia. The two academics included, Assoc Prof Brent Ritchie from the University of Queensland (Australia) and also Assoc Prof Glenn McCartney from the University of Macau (SAR-China). Over the years there have been many comments made about academic research being irrelevant to industry needs, and that industry-research is being quickly and poorly done and is very short-term in its views. Prof Perry Hobson got the panelists to draw on their experiences to highlight a range of positive examples of academic-industry collaboration. Dr Glenn McCartney commented that, “one of the challenges rest with how the research is disseminated. Academic research is often written in a more difficult-to-read style, and then published in journals that are not easily accessible by practitioners”. In summing up, Prof Hobson noted that, “The general consensus was that an organisation like TTRA-Apac not only has an important role to play in bringing academics and practitioners together to talk about issues, but we now also need to explore ways to open-up research findings and to make them more widely available across Asia in more accessible and easy-to-read formats”. Dr Paolo Mura, from the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at TU, was elected to join the Board, and the next TTRA-Apac conference will be held at the RMIT campus in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) - (Global Matters 2018)