With a total of five accomplished tourism researchers now serving on the prestigious International Academy for the Study of Tourism (IAST), the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is proud to have the largest number of IAST members in any university worldwide.
IAST is an international organisation created to enhance both theoretical and practical research in the field of tourism and its membership is limited to 75 highly accomplished tourism researchers from around the world. Obtaining membership in IAST stringently requires a nomination from a current Fellow, a presentation of the nominee's research work at the IAST conference and at least a two-thirds vote of the Fellows.
The fifth academy member from PolyU is Prof. Bob McKercher, who presented his work at IAST's 20th anniversary conference "A 20-20 Vision of Tourism Research: Roads Travelled, Hills yet to Climb" held in Mallorca, Spain, in June 2009. Prof. McKercher has joined his fellow SHTM colleagues Prof. Kaye Chon, Prof. Haiyan Song, Prof. Cathy Hsu and Prof. Stephen Witt on the board of IAST.
Prof. Kaye Chon, SHTM Director and Chair Professor, said, "We are proud of Prof. McKercher's outstanding achievement. The honour bestowed on him further prove that he is again being recognised as one of the world's leading scholars for the invaluable contributions he makes to global hospitality and tourism education and research." SHTM's major strength is its international scope, and prides itself on its internationally recognised faculty members.
Prof. McKercher has a wide range of research interests. He has published over 190 scholarly papers and research reports on a variety of cultural tourism, socio-cultural tourism, nature-based tourism, regional tourism development, tourism marketing and tourism education issues. He is the author of The Business of Nature-based Tourism (1988) and co-authored Cultural Tourism: The Partnership between Tourism and Cultural Heritage Management (2002). He has also co-edited two other books. Prof. McKercher is the member of the editorial board of 14 international tourism journals. He was also appointed a Fellow by the Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE) in 2008.
Prof. McKercher has been an active academic in the field of tourism since 1990, working in both Australia and Hong Kong. Prior to that, he worked in the Canadian tourism industry in a variety of advocacy and operational roles. Prof. McKercher joined PolyU in 1998.
PolyU's School of Hotel and Tourism Management is a leading provider of hospitality education in the Asia-Pacific Region. It is ranked No. 4 among the world's top hotel and tourism schools based on research and scholarship, according to a study published in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research in 2005.
With 60 academic staff drawing from 18 countries, the School offers programmes at levels ranging from PhD to Higher Diploma. It was awarded the 2003 International Society of Travel and Tourism Educators Institutional Achievement Award in recognition of its significant contribution to tourism education, and is the only training centre in the Education and Training Network in Asia recognised by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.