2014 Research Seminar

The School of Tourism and Hospitality Management

The University of the South Pacific

Research Seminar No. 1

Researching Tourism in Australia, Antarctica and Asia: Challenges and Opportunities

Speaker:  Dr. Thomas Bauer

Date: Thursday 4 December 2014

Time: 3.00pm

Venue: STHM Tutorial room (FBE annex)


This presentation is based on a biographical account of Dr. Bauer’s research experiences over the past two and a half decades. His presentation will thus concern his research activities in Australia, Antarctica and Asia, initially focusing on his research in Australia in the late 1980s. The work investigated the reasons as to why there was a lack of German speaking visitors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Southern Australia, notably Victoria and Tasmania. Tour operators in German speaking countries were interviewed via a structured questionnaire, which proved fruitful. However, as the discussion will indicate, the main challenge concerned the employment and use of visitor surveys. The presentation then focuses on his research for his PhD in the early 1990s, which concerned an underdeveloped region of tourism research, i.e., Antarctica. The challenge was based on the fact that what was written on the topic largely came from people who had never been to the region. The discussion will highlight the methodological processes involved in retrieving information: desk research in libraries in Australia and New Zealand, and at the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University; a Delphi study of over 30 Antarctic experts carried out via mail; and visitor surveys of their expectations of a visit to Antarctica and their opinions after a visit was carried out aboard ships. The presentation will also focus on research and tourism consultancy projects in Hong Kong, China, Laos, Vietnam and the Maldives, where the presenter will try to cover the highlights of such research activities in an endeavour to expand on the opportunities and challenges of tourism research; which are indeed diverse, unique and complex.


Thomas Bauer has been involved in tourism in various incarnations since 1971. He has travelled in over 70 countries on all continents. His academic qualifications include a PhD (Monash University), Master of Business in Tourism Development (Victoria University) and two undergraduate business degrees from Germany. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London and is an Adjunct Professor in Sustainable Tourism at Central Queensland University. Thomas taught tourism at Victoria University in Melbourne and at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for 23 years, and has carried out tourism research in Australia, Antarctica and Asia. Thomas has also been engaged in consulting projects for the UNWTO in Vietnam and the Maldives and has consulted to the governments of Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China. Thomas is also an experienced auditor of THE ICE.

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