15 November 2012

Efforts to help Queensland’s tourism industry to adapt to the effects of climate change are likely to be focused on areas that attract the most tourist dollars rather than those with the greatest need, according to new UQ research.

Researchers at The University of Queensland Business School fear that natural heritage such as The Great Barrier Reef and northern tropical rainforests could lose out if investment decisions are made on the basis of economic values that fail to take into account its environmental value.

The research by UQ Business School Masters students suggests that Queensland tourism could be badly affected by climate change.

With the industry generating close to $19 billion in annual revenue and accounting for one in 10 jobs, measures to adapt to overcome the adverse effects would be necessary.

Using different climate change scenarios, the students compared leading tourist destinations on their tourism revenue, their vulnerability to climate change, and their ability to adapt to it.

They found the south-east coast, from a purely business perspective, should be given the highest priority for climate change action, with the lowest priority given to the Australian outback and northern tropical rainforest regions.

UQ Business School Lecturer and corporate sustainability expert Dr Martina Linnenluecke said: “This research is one of the first studies to combine insights into the costs of adaptation, as well as the vulnerabilities of different regions.

"It identified that those areas most vulnerable to climate change, including The Great Barrier Reef and northern tropical rainforests, might be neglected in adaptation decisions, simply because they do not generate much of the tourism sector’s overall revenue.

“The findings of this project are yet another indicator that governments, industry sectors and individual businesses need to carefully consider adaptation actions and decisions - and to consider both economic and environmental implications.”

The study was undertaken by Mattieu Barrere, Sarah Brischetto, Gabriela Morales Darker, Antoine Nicolas, Maye Walraven and Scott Woodford for ‘Business Strategies for Sustainability and Innovation’.

This postgraduate-level course examines the strategies that businesses introduce to manage with issues associated with sustainability and climate change.

It is offered as part of the Master of Business program at UQ Business School.

About UQ Business School
The University of Queensland Business School is independently ranked as one of the top business schools in Australia and amongst the leading institutions worldwide. Based in Brisbane, it brings together over 130 subject experts with over 6,500 students and offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs and executive education across the range of business disciplines.

UQ Business School is renowned internationally for the quality of its research and also provides contract research and consultancy services to organisations throughout the world. The teaching – research – consultancy loop is central to its success, ensuring that the School maintains its position at the forefront of academic knowledge while staying closely attuned to modern business requirements. For further information see www.business.uq.edu.au

Fast facts
• UQ Business School was the first in Australia to meet the standards of the world’s two most influential accrediting bodies - the US-based AACSB International and Europe’s EQUIS.

• Has been ranked in the world’s top 50 universities for executive education by the Financial Times.

• Its MBA program has been ranked number one outside of Europe and the USA by The Economist and in the top two in Australia by the AFR’s BOSS Magazine.

• The MBA course has been awarded the highest possible rating of five stars for eight years running by Australia’s most influential rating body, the GMAA.

• The School was classed as above world standard in its four major fields of business research in the Australian government’s ERA assessment.

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