Looking at what’s in store for Bowen
First published December 18, 2013
A study into various development options for the Bowen community is underway, and local residents are being invited to share their thoughts.
The project is a partnership between James Cook University’s School of Business and the Bowen Chamber of Commerce.
The study, which involves an online survey, will investigate links between community well-being and tourism development in Bowen.
The study is being conducted by Elena Konovalov, a PhD student at JCU’s School of Business, as part of her PhD research under the supervision of Associate Professor Laurie Murphy and Professor Gianna Moscardo.
Ms Konovalov said the study would assess the social aspects of community well-being in Bowen and how and in what ways tourism affects it.
“Bowen has been going through a lot of changes lately and there is a sense of uncertainty about the future in the community,” Ms Konovalov said.
“Tourism is frequently promoted as a developmental tool for regional communities; however tourism can contribute as well as detract from the community well-being of small tropical communities.
“The previous research on tourism impacts has shown that different styles and scales of tourism development impact community well-being differently.
“Managing tourism impacts on community well-being can be a difficult task for local government and community groups as consequences of tourism are multilayered and far reaching.”
Ms Konovalov said further research was needed to understand the mechanisms of how tourism impacts community well-being and this is what the study aimed to uncover.
The online survey for Bowen residents with questions about social aspects of community well-being and how those are affected by tourism can be accessed by visiting www.jcusurvey.com website.
Ms Konovalov said all Bowen residents were invited to participate in the survey and contribute to better understanding of this topic.
All the survey participants can enter into a prize draw with chance to win one of ten $20 vouchers from various local shops.
The survey will take around 15 minutes to complete and the survey findings will be presented to the community in the middle of the next year.
For those who are not familiar with, or have access to, the internet there will be an opportunity to participate in the survey as well.
Ms Konovalov will be visiting Bowen in the end of January 2014 and will set up research stations in public places.
Passers-by will be invited to answer the survey on the spot by providing their responses via Ipads.
Ms Konovalov urged Bowen residents to help create a vision of a certain future for the town.
“With Christmas fast approaching, we would like to ask all Bowen residents to spend 15 minutes of their time to answer the survey questions in the spirit of helping others and contributing to their community,” she said.
“Your answers will help us to understand the social aspects of community well-being in Bowen and what are the preferences and opinions of residents about different styles of tourism in the community.”
The survey is open now and will run until February next year.
Ms Konovalov said the same survey would be conducted in the Airlie Beach and Atherton Tablelands communities at later dates, so it will be possible to see what the differences and similarities are in the opinions of the three communities’ residents.
For more information, contact principal investigator Elena Konovalov, on (07) 4781 3130 or via email: Elena.Konovalov@my.jcu.edu.au
JCU Media contact: Caroline Kaurila (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175