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Tablelands tourism impacts study: visit jcusurvey.com

Atherton Tablelands residents are invited to participate in an online survey by JCU.

Tablelands tourism impacts study: visit jcusurvey.com

Atherton Tablelands residents are invited to participate in an online survey by James Cook University.

A study into community well-being and tourism on the Atherton Tablelands is underway, and local residents are being invited to share their thoughts.

The James Cook University study, which involves an online survey, will investigate links between community well-being and tourism development on the Tablelands.

The local residents are invited to share their satisfaction, thoughts and opinions on topics of community services provided in the area, social ties existing in the community, and different types of visitors coming to the area.

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 on the Atherton Tablelands and how and in what ways tourism affects it.

“Secondary data analysis has shown that more than half of visitors to the area are day visitors,” Ms Konovalov said.

“Among the overnight visitors to the Atherton Tablelands region, older couples that can stay for prolonged amounts of time represent a significant proportion, with another significant category being younger groups of friends or relatives coming for short visits.

“This forms a distinct mix of visitors to the region and we would like to find out locals’ perspectives on how those visitors affect the region.

“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.”

Ms Konovalov said previous research into tourism impacts had shown that different styles and scales of tourism development impact community well-being differently.

The same survey has being conducted in Bowen, is currently underway in Airlie Beach and is now open now for Atherton Tablelands residents.

It is expected that analysis of data collected through the survey will help to establish links between different styles of tourism development and associated impacts on community well-being.

“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.

It is hoped that the survey findings will contribute to informed decision making about future tourism development by local governments.

A report with the survey findings will be forwarded to local governments of the three areas and community meetings will be held in middle of the year to present the survey findings to the communities.

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, which takes only around 15 minutes to complete, will run until June 2014.

For those who are not familiar with, or have access to, the internet there will still be an opportunity to participate in the survey as well.

Ms Konovalov will be visiting Atherton Tablelands in May 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 Atherton Tablelands residents to participate in the survey.

“Your answers will contribute to better community and tourism development in the region and it gives you an opportunity to voice your opinion.”

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

Issued: April 2, 2014