27 November 2009

Stephen Craig-Smith is a born teacher and loves to travel, making his role at The University of Queensland’s School of Tourism the perfect fit.

Associate Professor Craig-Smith is also passionate about tourism education, with more than 20 years at UQ.

His passion has been rewarded, with The Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education naming him an Inaugural Fellow.

Associate Professor Craig-Smith is one of only eight academics to receive the honour and one of only two in Queensland.

"It is a great compliment to be recognised as a father of tourism and hospitality education in Australia," he said.

"I live the subject. I have always been a great tourist. I have done about two million kilometres in 20 years. I like scenery and meeting different people.

"There is no continent I have not been to – and that includes Antarctica, although I flew over that and did not land."

Associate Professor Craig-Smith said he loved The Rocky Mountains in Canada, the wildlife in South Africa, the cities in Morocco, the Alps and the Norwegian fjords.

But his favourite scenery is at Bariloche, alongside Lake Nahuel Huapi in the Argentinian region of Patagonia. His favourite city is Paris.

While Associate Professor Craig-Smith started his career as a geologist and coastal engineer, moves into town planning, environmental management and leisure management brought him closer to his ultimate job in tourism.

"I am a teacher. If I could not teach tourism, I would teach town planning or anything else I could. I like teaching. I like the students.

"I am a complete extrovert. Teaching is like performing on a stage. I am that sort of person. I get on well with almost all of my students."

Associate Professor Craig-Smith set up the first degree course in tourism in Wales at what is now The University of Glamorgan in 1986 and established the School of Tourism at UQ the following year.

"Tourism education has gone from a vocation at TAFE to a teaching and research area at university. Tourism education is a fairly new area, so you can do something quite new and make a difference," he said.

Media: Stephen Craig-Smith (3346 6245, 0407 754 686)