Expanding Asian markets present exciting opportunities for the Australian tourism industry and fierce competition for the domestic and international tourist dollar means there is no room for complacency.

At the forefront of this new era is the recently launched Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT).

Based at the Gold Coast campus and part of the Griffith Business School, GIFT is Australia’s largest dedicated centre for tourism research. Building on Griffith’s established footing in tourism research, it has a strong focus on the Asia-Pacific.

Director of GIFT, Professor Susanne Becken, says that as the Asian Century evolves, research must deliver quantitative and qualitative knowledge for academic and industry application.

“Griffith’s commitment to tourism has always been evident and has assumed greater relevance given China is now Australia’s largest tourism market,” says Professor Becken.

“I recently returned from a study tour of China during which I met with universities and tourism academies and signed Memoranda of Understanding on teaching and comparative research initiatives.

“Our research at GIFT, aided by our close relationship with Griffith’s Tourism Confucius Institute, can help identify what Chinese tourists want and don’t want from their Australian experience, what they like and don’t like, what concerns them and so on.

“From a local context, we can deliver evidence-based knowledge on the value of Gold Coast projects such as the Chinatown proposal for Southport, as well as the importance of issues such as direct flights, language barriers, beach safety and sustainable tourism practices.”