Master’s student Abigail Mensah has questions about the future of sustainable tourism — and she is hoping to get answers from fellow Brock University students.
With supervisor and principle investigator Professor David Fennell in the Department of Geography and Tourism Studies, Mensah has developed a survey that can be completed in about 15 minutes online to explore the use of technology to facilitate remote tourism.
The project, “Rethinking Consumerism, Innovation and Tourism Sustainability in a Post-Viral World: A Case of Virtual Tour Innovation Usage in Niagara’s Geoparks,” supports Mensah’s thesis research in the Master of Arts in Geography program.
Mensah, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, says her research connects “the influence of the COVID-19 crisis on people’s future travel preferences and the role of virtual tour innovations, such as Personalized Interactive Real-time Tours (PIRTs), in meeting tourism needs while promoting sustainability.”
Once completed, results of the study will be shared with the Brock community as well as the board of the Niagara Peninsula Aspiring Geopark.
Mensah says that PIRTs are an “ethical and responsible alternative” to high-emission travel because they allow tourists to stay home and connect with local tour guides in a live, interactive, virtual experiences facilitated by technology.
She adds that safe and accessible tourism opportunities for those with restrictions on mobility, transportation or costs for travel and revenue to support local employment, conservation and environmental protection are additional benefits to the model.
All Brock students are invited to complete the survey.