I consider working in academia a noble pursuit and thrive when I can learn and contribute to anything to do with sustainability. I grew up in some exceptional natural environments in Europe and Australia, and I have deep values and beliefs about caring for nature and people. It is no wonder that I ended up becoming a specialist in sustainable tourism with a curious mind. Despite the passionate approach, I chose to work part-time in academia, and so my publications seem like drops in the ocean – hence the artwork accompanying this text! To me, they are golden. Over the past 20 years now, my research changed focus from dealing with natural resource management issues at destinations to addressing sustainable consumerism by more effective communication and marketing. I have published a range of classic academic papers and industry publications.
My first academic contribution (Priskin, 2001) remains relevant and highlights the importance of taking an integrated account of natural heritage resources. This study showed how little effort is required for decision-makers to take stewardship about regional land capability and compatibility between biodiversity conservation and tourism. This study also turned into a broader strategic tourism planning study that directly supported local government policymaking in the Central Coast Region of Western Australia. As part of this study, I spent months meticulously analysing aerial photos between the 1960s to 2000s to investigate the vulnerability of some 300 km of sandy coastal environs. To date, this study remains one of a few that shows how tourism and recreation can be incremental forces and sources of disturbance over decades that need serious attention at the minor scales to avoid ecological damage, as well as substantial restoration costs to public and private stakeholders (Priskin, 2003).
Analysing the visitor experience has fascinated me for a long-time, mainly how to drive more responsible actions. I had the privilege to study visitor interaction with nature in national parks in Canada and showed that different visitor experience dimensions can be facilitated to support biodiversity conservation values (Priskin, 2007). To date, much of achieving Sustainable Development Goals will depend on continuing to foster more responsible visitor experiences that have the power to drive pro sustainable values and beliefs amongst those who are still not affine to sustainable development principles.
Driven by my position at an Applied University over the past ten years, I had to conduct research projects deemed directly relevant for the tourism sector. In doing so, most of my contributions have been in the broader discipline of sustainability marketing and communication (Vincenz et al. 2019, Ponnapureddy et al., 2020) and profiling consumers on their sustainability choices (Walsh et al, 2021). By understanding causal relationships between message design and consumer actions, I believe we can drive more responsible consumption and accelerate change towards sustainability.
If I look back at my entire academic career, it seems my sustainable tourism research contributions are like tiny drops in the ocean, despite their importance and relevance. I sincerely believe we need more focus on understanding how to drive more responsible human behaviour. At the end of the day, people make decisions for societies and the biophysical planet. We can only transform tourism to be a force of good, if we inform, enable, and empower each tourist to choose “good actions” for better outcomes. I choose to contribute more to this in the future!
Written by Julianna Priskin, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland
Read Julianna’s letter to future generations of tourism researchers
Ponnapureddy, S, Priskin, J., Vinzenz, F., Wirth, W., Ohnmacht, T. (2020) The mediating role of perceived benefits on intentions to book a sustainable hotel: a multigroup comparison of the Swiss, German and USA travel markets. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 28(9) 1747-7646.
Priskin, J. (2001). Assessment of natural resources for nature-based tourism. The case of the Central Coast Region of Western Australia. Tourism Management 22, 637-648.
Priskin, J. (2003). Physical impacts of four-wheel drive related tourism and recreation in a semi-arid, natural coastal environment. Ocean and Coastal Management 46, 127-155.
Priskin, J. (2007). Evaluating the approach used to measure the visitor experience in La Mauricie National Park of Canada. A report presented to Parks Canada, Quebec Service Centre. Unpublished report by J. Priskin Consulting, Montréal, Québec, 42 pp.
Vincenz, F., Priskin, J. Wirth, W., & Ohnmacht, T. (2019). Marketing sustainable tourism: the role of value orientation, well-being, and credibility. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27(11) 1663-1685.
Walsh, P. R., Dodds, R., Priskin, J., Day, J., & Belozerova, O. (2021). The Corporate Responsibility Paradox: A Multi-National Investigation of Business Traveller Attitudes and Their Sustainable Travel Behaviour. Sustainability, 13(8), 4343.