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Research targets cycle tourism


Brigid Veale
30 January 2006
As a keen triathlete Matt Lamont will be able to combine his love of cycling with research when he starts a PhD study into cycle tourism in regional Australia this month.

Matt, who received first class honours in Southern Cross University's Bachelor of Business in Tourism last year, has received an Australian Postgraduate Award, and a scholarship through the Co-operative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism, worth a total of $25,000 a year for three years.

His project will look at mass participation and independent cycle tourism in regional Australia.

"Cycle tourism is a growing market and there are a lot of opportunities there for regional tourism, but there's been little academic research conducted in Australia," Matt said.

"An understanding of the needs and motivations of Australian cycle tourists will help to ensure that appropriate products and services are made available to this group, and that the needs of cycle tourists are met by cycle tourism operators and event organisers."

He said the research would focus on people who take part in mass-participation cycle tourism events, such as the RTA Big Ride, as well as independent cycle tourists who travel established routes such as the Murray to the Mountains Trail in Victoria.

"We need to be aware of the needs and motivations of these cyclists in order to plan and market events and regions effectively."

Matt said the North Coast could be an ideal region for cycle tourism.

"There is potential here in this region, but the condition of infrastructure, particularly roads, is a big problem.

"Improved knowledge of cycle tourists may lead to enhanced experiences for cycle tourists, more effective leveraging of benefits to host communities, and the further development of this form of sustainable tourism throughout regional Australia."

Matt's previous research focussed on sponsorship of sport tourism events by small to medium businesses. His PhD through Southern Cross University will be supervised by Dr Jeremy Buultjens, from SCU's Centre for Regional Tourism Research, and Professor Neil Leiper from SCU's School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.