As lives become more complex, challenging and stressful, people have begun to see travel as an opportunity to relax and re-discover life balance. This emphasis on self-discovery has created a significant new sector in the international tourism industry, which takes in diverse activities, such as spas and retreats, dedicated hotels and resorts and wellness products (aromatherapy, massage and organic skin products, alternative remedies).
Travel and Wellbeing (T & W) has expanded this new wellness tourism concept to also include research on food, nutrition and lifestyles of consumers, social impacts on communities and volunteering in the industry, offering an innovative program that takes account of the growth and diversity of the wellness sector.
What we do
T & W will work with various industry partners to conduct research and build practical industry innovation. The program has been organised into three broad streams, each contributing to an overall vision of the sector.
Understanding travel and wellbeing
Builds models to understand the social relevance of the sector. Major research includes theory and history of wellbeing, wellness tourism, travel and escape, work–life balance and symbolic consumption.
Applying travel and wellbeing
Nutrition and lifestyle balance: expands the definitions of wellness and wellbeing to incorporate food and nutrition. T&W research group has undertaken substantial food and wine research and is committed to developing this field further to offer a more holistic view of wellbeing.
Social impacts and community wellbeing: focuses on the wellness tourism industry’s impact on, or interaction with, our communities. This includes research on resident attitudes towards wellness tourism development, or research on wellbeing of communities affected by tourism development in general.
Volunteer workers and wellbeing: focuses on research on volunteers and volunteer management. T & W respects the important role volunteering plays in the tourism industry.
Advancing travel and wellbeing
Provides key information and strategies to industry, government partners and other stakeholders so that policies can be created to enhance the wellbeing of individuals and communities.
Whilst the T & W research group draws on expertise across the university depending on the projects being undertaken, key researchers involved in this program are:
Professor Margaret Deery, T & W Program Leader. A well established professor and researcher in tourism and hospitality management, Prof. Deery has had a series of successful industry and government research grants on community wellbeing, volunteer management, human resource management, work-life balance and social impact studies. Prof. Deery is on editorial boards of major relevant international journals, has a strong track record of international publications in the field and has professional experience as a research consultant in the hospitality, tourism and education fields.
Dr Sebastian Filep, T & W Research Fellow. Dr Filep has completed a PhD in the area of wellbeing and travel, and is currently co-authoring a book on wellbeing in tourism. He is a member of the Australian Centre on Quality of Life and a young tourism professional of the Pacific Asia Travel Association . He is currently engaged in various research projects in the areas of subjective and social wellbeing, happiness and impacts of travel on wellbeing. He has had Australian and international journal publications and conference presentations in the wellbeing field.
Associate Professor Barry O’Mahony, T & W expert in food and beverage management, and consumer behaviour. He has a particular interest in wellbeing research in this field. Currently an acting associate Dean of Research and Research Training at VU, Assoc. Prof. O’Mahony is also a professional member of the Institute of Hospitality , Australian Marketing Institute and The British Academy of Marketing. He is also on editorial boards of various international academic journals and has had extensive publications in major journals in the field.
Dr Leonie Lockstone-Binney, T & W expert in volunteer management. She is an appointed member of volunteering Australia, the peak body for promoting voluntary activity in Australia, and has a range of international publications in the field of volunteering in tourism. She also conducts research work on human resource and events management which are further areas of interest to the travel and wellbeing program.
Professor Leo Jago was previously director of the CTSR. He is an established senior academic and researcher in tourism and events management with a history of strong industry collaboration, a track record of successful large industry and government grants and many international publications. Prof. Jago has experience in assessing the impact that tourism has on local communities and developing strategies to enhance community engagement with tourism. His ongoing engagement with major tourism organisations such as Tourism Victoria will also be of major benefit to the development of the program.
Professor Pauline Sheldon is an adjunct professor at CTSR and a T &W wellness advisor. She is a full professor in the tourism field at the University of Hawaii, Hawaii. She is the co-editor of “wellness and tourism: mind, body, spirit, place” and is the president of the international academy for the study of tourism. She visited the centre in august 2009 and helped shape the design of the travel and wellbeing program. She is an internationally known senior expert in tourism in the field of wellness and other tourism management areas.
T & W works with industry and external research partners through specific project collaborations and ongoing partnerships. Key partnerships include Tourism Victoria and VicHealth, research institutions both nationally and internationally and partners in the hotel and resort industry.
Last reviewed: 27/07/2009