The University of Tasmania and Federal Group will jointly fund a PhD project designed to better understand Tasmania’s tourist offering, using the yet-to-be-opened MACQ01 on the Hobart waterfront as a case study.

Tasmanian School of Business and Economics Chief Project Investigator Dr Kim Lehman said the project was an opportunity for the successful PhD candidate to be embedded in the new hotel from before its opening, to understand what is important to tourists visiting the state.

Areas of focus include the interpretation of cultural heritage, service quality, sense of place and the localisation of food and beverages.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood said the project was a major build on existing tourism ‘big data’ expertise and technology in Tasmania, and would provide the tourism industry with valuable qualitative and quantitative data to support their operations.

“The University of Tasmania is well renowned for conducting research with real-world applications, and our island state is the perfect place to explore a new tourism offering such MACQ01,” Professor Heywood said.

“This is a significant said tourism industry with of opportunity for a candidate to undertake original research in an area of international importance, and to help us better understand an industry worth $2 billion in visitor spend each year.

“The project also allows us to establish a collaborative relationship with a significant industry partner, and we will work together with the Federal Group to continue to contribute to the development of cultural capital on our island.”

Federal Group Executive General Manager Corporate Affairs, Dr Daniel Hanna, said the business would gain unique insights from the research, which would also assist other tourism businesses in Tasmania.

“Tourism is a critical industry sector now and into the future, and industry-focused research projects such as this will have the potential to help the industry better understand the innovations that resonate with our visitors,” Dr Hanna said.