Professor of Tourism
School of Hospitality and Tourism
Professor Alison McIntosh explores the social, cultural and economic (triple bottom line) impact of tourism, focusing on what tourism means to people and how they experience it. This can be from the perspective of tourists themselves, the communities they visit and workers in the industry.
Alison has always worked and studied in the industry and it was a passion from the start, she says. After graduating first class honours with one of the first tourism degrees in the UK, she travelled to Thailand to see the impact of Western tourism on indigenous hill tribes.
She did a PhD in Edinburgh looking at how tourists’ experiences are shaped, and specialised in heritage and industrial heritage tourism, looking at tourism as a panacea for communities whose industries are closing (eg mining, gum digging, steam trains).
Alison’s work on what tourism means to people and how they experience it has led her into areas such as social justice and making tourism available for everyone. Accessible tourism - how to make tourism viable for people with special access needs - is a huge opportunity that New Zealand is missing out on, she says.
“Part of my work is dispelling the myth that people with a disability don’t want to travel. It makes good business sense as well as social sense to cater to this market. Australia and Europe have very strong measures around the economic value of accessible tourism, especially as the western population ages.”
She says work is also needed on how to increase employment opportunities within tourism for disabled people.
In 2011 Alison co-founded the journal Hospitality and Society, looking at critical elements of hospitality and not for profits.
Professor Alison McIntosh’s extended academic profile