By Warwick Frost

La Trobe University has made the inaugural QS World University Rankings for Hospitality and Leisure Management this year, while a key faculty member recently received an international award for her tourism research.

For the first time, this year’s QS World University Rankings include Hospitality and Leisure Management as a category. From Victoria, Monash University (22) and La Trobe University (50) were included in the top 50. The other four Australian universities recognised were: Griffith University (9), The University of Queensland (12), University of South Australia (27) and Southern Cross University (38).

This comes as we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of La Trobe University and the 21st birthday for our Bachelor of Business in Tourism and Hospitality. It is also significant that Tourism and Hospitality was the only area at La Trobe to be placed in the global top 50.

The rankings are based on academic reputation, employer reputation and research impact. Sixteen of the top 50 institutions are located in Europe, 15 are from North America, 10 from Asia and six from Australia. The University of Nevada – Las Vegas came in at first place.

Many of the universities in the top 10 are specialist institutions, including Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (2) and Swiss Hotel Management School (8).

LBS Associate Professor Jennifer Laing awarded Emerging Scholar of Distinction for 2017

Associate Professor Jennifer Laing of the Department of Management, Sport and Tourism at La Trobe University was recently awarded the Emerging Scholar of Distinction for 2017 by the International Academy for the Study of Tourism. She received the award at a conference in Guangzhou, China in May.

Laing says that most of her research has been conducted in Victoria. “My research on festivals and events has primarily examined their social benefits and meanings, such as their role in changing environmental behaviour,” she says. “I have also looked at practical problems such as governance issues affecting the viability of rural festivals, like succession planning and volunteer burnout.” Her  work has covered four main research areas: the social dimension of events, the role of tourism in rural and regional development, media and travel narratives, and health and wellness tourism.

The Academy (which is headquartered at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University) was created to further scholarly research in tourism, and its Fellows are comprised of highly accomplished tourism researchers from around the world. Up to three scholars receive this award every two years and applicants must be within 10 years of having completed their PhD.

The award acknowledges Dr Laing’s contribution to tourism research and her substantial publication track record of innovative and ground-breaking research in top-tier journals and co-authorship of five research books. It is the first time a Victorian scholar has won this award.