Current research in hospitality, tourism and events

The School of Hospitality and Tourism has a broad range of research activities. On this page we provide a sample of the research currently being done by school academic staff.

Professor Alison McIntosh, Dr Brielle Gillovic, AUT Adjunct Professor Simon Darcy (University of Technology Sydney) and AUT Visiting Scholar, Dr Cheryl Cockburn-Wootten (University of Waikato) coordinate the NZ Tourism For All research cluster.

Initially funded by the NZ Ministry of Social Development Think Differently Fund, NZ Tourism For All is a project to champion accessible tourism in New Zealand. The investigation recognises the citizenship rights of people with disabilities and those living with chronic or terminal illness to tourism as an inclusive leisure activity. Current projects include accessible beach tourism; accessible hotel restaurants; tourism and carers; disability employment and entrepreneurship; terminal illness and travel; and disability, tourism and sustainability.

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Selected publications include:

  • McIntosh, A., (2020). The hidden side of travel: Epilepsy and tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 81(March).
  • Gillovic, B. (2019). Experiences of care at the nexus of intellectual disability and leisure travel (Doctoral dissertation).
  • Gillovic. B., McIntosh, A.J., Darcy, S. & Cockburn-Wootten, C., (2018). Enabling the Language of accessible tourism, Journal of Sustainable Tourism. 26(4), 615-630.
  • McIntosh, A. & Harris, C. (2018). Representations of hospitality at The Special Needs Hotel. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 75, 153-159.
  • Willson, G., McIntosh, A., Morgan, A., & Sanders, D. (2018). Terminal illness and tourism: A review of current literature and directions for future research. Tourism Recreation Research, 43:2, 268-272.
  • Gillovic, B. & McIntosh, A. (2015). Stakeholder perspectives of the future of accessible tourism in New Zealand, Journal of Tourism Futures, 1(3), 223-239.

The 36th America’s Cup Match will take place in Hauraki Gulf (Auckland) in 2021. Auckland is getting ready for the event and Dr Abrar Faisal, Dr Sandra Goh, Dr Massimo Morellato are coordinating a research cluster to study the challenges and opportunities that are coming with this major event and related celebrative activation sites. The investigation spans across different areas of event strategies, policies and legacies (place activations, celebrative live sites, technological innovation, socio-economic impacts, entrepreneurial responses, social licence to operate, and serious leisure).

The project is led by three emerging scholars at the AUT Department of Tourism and Events where is held the only bachelor degree on events in New Zealand. Senior colleagues and postgraduate students in the School as well as other Schools, Faculties and Universities are joining and enriching the research cluster shaped around the commitment to bring forward the research on sustainable development in events. If you are interest to receive more information on the research or would you like to get involved, please contact us.

Prof. Alison Macintosh on the health benefits of travel: The study will examine the motivations, challenges and opportunities of tourism businesses that are specially designed to provide improved experiences to tourists that have a life-threatening or terminal illness, as well as the experiences of people who travel with these businesses.

Professor Michael Lück and post-doctoral fellow Dr Brooke Porter, together with Dr Bart Neuts, currently work on pelagic bird tours in New Zealand. There is very little research on seabird tourism, and thus a primary focus is on profiling "the pelagic bird tourist", to gain a better understanding about the background, interest, and specialisation of these birders. A second study, looking at motivations and experiences of pelagic bird watchers in-depth, is currently in the planning stage.

Michael, together with Brooke and Dr Krista Hupman (NIWA) are also completing a study investigating the on-tour experiences of tourists on dolphin watch tours in Kaikoura and Auckland. In particular, their focus is on the interpretation and education on these tours, which builds on Michael's work in Kaikoura, Akaroa and Paihia a few years ago.

Dr Claire Liu is undertaking several research projects in the area of Chinese outbound tourism market and tourism education. Current projects include:

  • Using qualitative research methods, the Chinese self-drive tourism market was explored in terms of motivation and behaviours for taking self-drive holidays overseas
  • Co-editing a book "Tourism Education and Asia" to be published in 2018 with Dr Heike Schänzel from the School of Hospitality and Tourism
  • Slow tourism and the growing Chinese FIT tourist market.

Dr Massimo Morellato is currently exploring patterns of leisure consumption in coastal and mountain destinations in New Zealand and overseas with an attention on community and tourism development under a more sustainable use of natural, cultural and recreational resources. His investigation on ski areas focuses on skiers' perceptions and the ski areas attributes that influence the tourism/leisure experiences that people have at different ski resorts and club fields. Massimo's research interest include the evolving ski demand and the developing ski industry, how the unique and heterogeneous ski areas are experienced and managed.

Massimo's work on the coastal communities aims to gain a better understanding of the role of leisure amenities in nurturing community development and attracting tourists as well as 'costal commuters' and life-style migrants.

Dr Massimo Morellato is also currently involved in supervising postgraduate research projects on scuba diving experience (Cambodia), augmented reality in enhancing indigenous narratives (Malaysia), co-creation in sharing economy (Vietnam), co-management of protected areas (Canada and New Zealand).

As a food sociologist, Lindsay Neill keenly researches contemporary restaurant, food and beverage culture not only within Aotearoa New Zealand but also within wider western hospitality frameworks.

This interest has generated research projects examining vernacular food culture in New Zealand, how pie carts have come to reflect New Zealand's nostalgic 'golden summer', how the humble meat pie has incorporated contemporary New Zealand identities, and how, within a four nation project, constructs of altruism and cynicism impact the world view schemas of undergraduate students.

Lindsay has published widely in academic journals and is the author of two books; The Great New Zealand Pie Cart and The New Zealand Chef. In 2014 Lindsay headed the Food Studies Research Group. This group went onto win the Vice-chancellors Team Research award for that year.

Dr Heike Schänzel is currently involved in several research projects relating to children, families and gender issues. She is passionate about better understanding family fun (along with the avoidance of conflict) and the facilitation of sociality and meaningful experiences within the context of tourism and hospitality. Current research interests include:

  • Consumption and Intergenerational Relationships; a project on grandtravel (grandparents and grandchildren) with Aalborg University in Denmark, Gothenburg University in Sweden, University of Edinburgh Business School in Scotland and University of Tampere in Finland
  • Research project on understanding the family ski experiences at Sun Peaks Resort in Canada with Thompson Rivers University, Canada and University College of Southern Norway
  • Book project on masculinities in the research field of tourism with Dr Brooke Porter (AUT) and Dr Joseph Cheer (Monash University)
  • Conceptualisation of masculinities and fatherhood within the gender debate in tourism with Professor John Jenkins (Southern Cross University)

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