The travel behaviour of international students: The relationship between studying abroad and their choice of tourist destinations

Ian Michael, Anona Armstrong, Brian Edward Melville King

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines why international students opt for their chosen study destination. It also investigates their behaviour as tourists while studying, whether they hosted visits from friends or relatives and their overall economic contribution. The sample consisted of 600 international students studying in higher education institutions in Melbourne, Australia of which 219 responded. A stratified random sampling method was used with the key variables identified as country of origin, gender and university attended. Key questions included: What were the factors that prompted students to study in Australia? How did they become familiar with destinations and tourist attractions during the course of their studies? What tourist attractions and activities were most popular? It was discovered that word-of-mouth was the most significant medium of communication in the selection of educational destination. Most travel undertaken during the period of enrolment was for private purposes. The most popular Melbourne attraction was the Queen Victoria Market and The Great Ocean Road was the most popular attraction statewide. The study also found that tourism related activities undertaken by overseas students contributed approximately A$8.2m to the economy of the state of Victoria. The figure more than doubles to approximately A$17.2m if the expenditures of visiting friends and relatives (VFRs) are included.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vacation Marketing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • behaviour
  • Destination Victoria - Australia
  • education
  • international
  • students
  • visiting friends and relatives (VFRs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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