“Never doubt that your daily acts and commitments can save the world, focus on leaving a positive impact on the environment” ~ Rawan Nimri
Rawan Nimri, is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) recipient from the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management, and a member of Griffith Institute for Tourism in Griffith Business School. Dr. Nimri was awarded her PhD qualification in 2019 for her thesis titled ‘To Be or Not to Be Green: Triggering Travellers’ Behaviour in Australia’. She is an associate lecturer in the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management teaching multiple undergraduate and postgraduate courses. She is an emerging researcher in the area of best practices for green hotels, green consumer behaviour, low-carbon travel and hospitality employment relations.
Dr. Nimri is currently researching in the area of carbon emissions measurement for reductions in Tourism at Griffith Institute for Tourism, and assisting EarthCheck, the world’s leading scientific benchmarking and advisory group for sustainable travel and tourism, to update their carbon measurement tool for IPCC guidelines and international accounting standards. Dr. Nimri was the proud recipient of 2018 Keeling Dissertation Award at the International Conference of Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) in Miami, USA for the quality of her research, contribution to scholarship, relationship to travel and tourism usefulness, and quality of her paper. She was a finalist in the Griffith 3-Minute Thesis competition 2017, and she proudly represented the Griffith Business School.
1. What was your PhD about and what was the catalyst for your interest in green travel and tourism that could assist hotels and accommodation providers? What was your ‘personal why’ for doing this?
My PhD focused on exploring travellers’ behaviour towards staying at green hotels and the factors that would impact their decisions to choose a green hotel over a traditional one. The hotel sector is allied with adverse impacts on the environment through the depletion of natural resources, yet many hotels are striving to cut down their carbon footprint and level of environmental impact. My PhD specifically focused on the effectiveness of interventions employed by hotels using pictorial elements employing positive and negative framing, and applicable content to gauge travellers’ perceptions and intentions to stay at green hotels.
In the past I had conducted some research is the area of consumerism and behaviour change, particularly focusing on how different queuing could affect sustainable behaviour. With my background in Marketing and a desire to understand the foundations of the pro-environmental decision-making framework, I applied to pursue doctoral studies on this matter at Griffith University.
2. What were the main environmental and social issues or problems identified in your research degree and thesis?
Green hotel knowledge had been identified as a main issue influencing travellers’ willingness to stay at green hotels in my thesis. In other words, the primary reason for travellers not visiting green hotels was a lack of knowledge about such hotels. Therefore, hotel managers need to actively inform consumers of their green practices via various knowledge sources. In addition, though travellers hold positive perceptions of green hotels, they might also be concerned about compromising their comfort and having to incur extra expenses when staying in these hotels. Subsequently, it is vital for hotel managers to educate potential travellers that the implementation of green practices does not necessarily compromise the quality of service and that the prices charged by green hotels are reasonable. That said, hotel managers need to be careful as exaggeration might give the impression of greenwashing, particularly among travellers with little environmental knowledge.
3. What were the key questions or areas of investigation in your research degree and have any gaps or solutions been identified for the hotel and accommodation providers or others involved?
The study added to the evidence that marketing appeals stressing benefits of a specific behaviour are perceived as more effective. This suggests that there are opportunities to tap the positively rather than negatively-framed messages to influence travellers’ decisions in regard to green hotels. As such, it is crucial that hotel marketers create a positive environmental impression through their green initiatives, so that such appeals can be productive.
4. Why did you visit Dr. Evan Jordan from Arizona State University and go on his podcast ‘The Trip Doctor’ in 2018 – was it to promote the things hotels are doing to ‘go green’ and the ways in which their communications affect consumer behaviours?
In June 2018, I travelled to the United States to attend the International Conference of Travel and Tourism Research Association and present my paper “Positive versus Negative Framing: Triggering Pro-Environmental Behaviour in Hotel Guests“. Dr. Evans attended the presentation and was interested to know more about my research and the effectiveness of hotels’ communications about becoming green, and I was invited to share my research insights about travellers’ perceptions and awareness of the programs that hotels are implementing to go green on his podcast ‘The Trip Doctor’.
5. What is the general aim of the funded EarthCheck carbon measurement research you are working on for Griffith Institute for Tourism? What is your involvement and the ultimate aim of the research?
The general aim of the funded EarthCheck carbon measurement research is to help tourism operators worldwide reduce their carbon emissions. The EarthCheck™ Program is an approved reporting standard with the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project). The CDP is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the leading authority on carbon reporting. EarthCheck can support operators to benchmark energy performance and calculate Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in compliance to the CDP and other international reporting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
The updated greenhouse gas emissions database, to be completed by the end of 2019, would help tourism operators understand how to address climate change measures and the actions that can be undertaken to help the industry respond to climate risks and opportunities.
6. Why did you choose Griffith University for your research degree, who were your supervisors and how did they assist your degree?
I chose Griffith University for its strong research in the areas of hospitality and tourism and sustainability. My supervisors were Associate Professor Anoop Patiar, Dr. Sandra Kensbock and Dr. Xin Jin. My supervisors introduced me to the world of research and led me to become an independent researcher.