Bachelor of Arts (Honours) student
Bachelor of International Tourism in Destination Management
For Madeleine (Madz) Crouth, hearing her lecturer discuss voluntourism was an eye-opening experience and inspired her to make a positive difference to the tourism industry.
“I know every student dreams of that lecturer who will change their life, and I certainly had that experience. I remember sitting in my sustainable tourism class in my undergraduate degree and watching my lecturer, Professor Alison McIntosh, talk about voluntourism; where tourists travel to third-world countries to have a holiday and do some volunteering while they’re there.
“That was a concept I disagreed with, so I emailed Alison and we had a bit of a discussion of the topic. It spoke to me so deeply, and I realised I could have a bigger impact on tourism than I had initially thought.”
After realising that she could help change tourism for the better, Madz started looking at some of the more problematic aspects of the industry, including dark tourism and human trafficking in tourism. Now enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), she continues to pursue this interest and is investigating how airlines can help fight human trafficking.
“My honours degree dissertation is a critical discourse analysis of human trafficking awareness training in the airline industry. I’m looking at how some airlines are implementing policies to improve awareness of human trafficking and victim identification.”
A passion for tourism
A connection to tourism runs in her family, Madz says.
“My sister and brother-in-law are both flight attendants, so I first learned about the tourism industry from them. I then decided to enrol in a diploma in tourism at another tertiary institute, and just fell in love with critical tourism and having a bigger impact by using tourism as a vehicle of change.”
With her passion for tourism sparked, she soon decided to continue her studies and further her understanding of the tourism industry.
“I was looking at different tertiaries to continue my studies, and AUT stood out to me. I liked that AUT is accredited by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and it became clear that the university is aligned with a critical understanding of tourism’s ethical, cultural, social and environmental dimensions, and with policy change in tourism.”
Big plans ahead
Expecting to complete her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) later this year, Madz already has a good idea what her next step will be.
“My plan is to get good enough grades in my honours degree and then continue my studies with a PhD. A doctoral degree is something that has always been on my bucket list of things I would like to achieve, and it’s a great opportunity to be involved in research that can ultimately lead to policy change.”
Her goal for the future is lofty: change the tourism industry for the better.
“I don’t think I’ll ever leave academia but I’d like to use my academic values to make bigger changes, such as petitioning to the UN and other organisations that need shaking up. Eventually I’d like to be working with the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization toward a more sustainable and eco-friendly tourism industry.”