Postprint of: Weiler, B 2016, 'The contribution of Australia-based researchers to tour guiding', Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, vol. 26, pp. 100-109.
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The work of Australian researchers has been central to the development of theory and scholarship on tour guiding. The paper begins with a quantitative synopsis of the collective output of Australia-based research that has appeared in scholarly journals, published conference proceedings, edited books and research reports. More tour guiding research has emanated from Australia than from any other single country.
The bulk of the paper considers some of the key contributions that these Australian researchers have made, including conceptualisation and theory-building, the application and refinement of theory and methods from other disciplines to enhance understanding of tour guiding, and the synthesis of knowledge about tour guiding. Conceptual contributions include a six-cell framework for depicting the roles of tour guides, a multi-dimensional framework to inform the use of quality assurance mechanisms for tour guiding practice, a three-part model for the development of tour guide certification, a framework for aligning relevant theories, research designs and approaches to four categories of sustainability outcomes from tour guiding, and a set of principles for guide training in developing countries. Each of these has informed the research of others within Australia and globally. Australian researchers have also engaged theory from other fields such as human resource management, consumer behaviour, and applied communication to advance understanding and measurement of tour guiding phenomena and to refine the theories themselves. A recent synthesis of Australia-based research theory and findings together with the global body of knowledge on tour guiding suggests that the way has been paved for more theoretically-driven and methodologically-rigorous research in tour guiding.
The paper concludes with examples of research dissemination, technology transfer and research uptake, as evidence of the real-world impact of Australia-based tour guiding researchers. Publication of user-oriented products, often in collaboration with industry partners, has been a hallmark of Australian tour guiding research that, together with its scholarly contributions, puts Australia at the forefront of applied tour guiding research globally.