21 September 2012

A project aimed at boosting international student travel to the Gold Coast has received $25,000 in Federal Government funding to help develop initiatives that will stimulate investment and increase tourism.

The grant has been awarded to a consortium of partners including The University of Queensland, Gold Coast City Council, Gold Coast Tourism, Gold Coast Adventure Travel Group and Griffith University.

The project, Experience Gold Coast: Innovative product development for international student travel, will use the T-QUAL (Tourism Quality Projects) grant to undertake a range of tasks.

These include a capacity audit, with business and industry interviews; consumer intelligence, with focus group interviews; product testing; and industry and community dissemination activities.

Associate Professor Noel Scott from the UQ School of Tourism said this project was a good example of how the tourism sector could develop new ideas in a cost effective way.

“Building an understanding of what attracts international students to the Gold Coast and how to provide the products, services and experiences that they want is really important,” Dr Scott said.

“The funding is very timely and represents a great opportunity to build on previous research.”

Dr Scott has worked for in the tourism sector for 20 years in senior government and academic positions in areas such as marketing, product development and policy.

He said it was important for tourism academics and industry to work together to understand new markets and develop new tourism experiences.

“This project is an example of how this cooperation can happen,” Dr Scott said.

The Head of the UQ School of Tourism, Associate Professor Stephen Craig-Smith, said international students studying in Australia wanted to experience the ‘Aussie’ lifestyle.

“While they study hard, they also want to visit iconic places and have leisure experiences during their time here,” Associate Professor Craig-Smith said.

“This project is set to identify new tourism products and tweak existing ones to attract students to the Gold Coast and drive tourism into the future.”

Media: Claire Shuter, (07) 3346 9259 or c.shuter@uq.edu.au