The future of tourism education : an Australian scenario?

Robert Douglas McKercher

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


There is remarkable consistency in the evolution of university-level tourism programmes around the world, especially when such programmes evolved out of the polytechnic system. After a relatively slow incubation period, tourism education programmes tend to undergo a period of rapid expansion, where both the number of providers and student demand increase dramatically. Most academics feel this growth is unsustainable and predict that a shake-out in programmes is inevitable. Australia was one of the first countries to pursue university-level tourism education programmes aggressively as part of national policy. As such, it is evolving through its life cycle ahead of many other jurisdictions. The Australian experience may, therefore, be a precursor to what could happen in other jurisdictions. This paper reports on a qualitative study of what senior Australian tourism academics feel the future will be for the sector. Most feel that Australia is now in the late maturity or early decline stages of the tourism education life cycle. Consequently, most predict a consolidation of programmes, although there is much debate about which programmes will thrive and which will falter. They also believe that fee-paying postgraduate programmes may be the catalyst to revive the life cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-210
Number of pages12
JournalTourism and Hospitality Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Tourism education
  • Australia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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