Dr Julia Albrecht
Dr Julia Albrecht, from the Department of Tourism, shares what took her from an academic background in Geography and a practical background as a consultant, to a career researching destination management for sustainability.
With an interest in the "world at large” Dr Albrecht began her tertiary studies in Geography, Landscape Ecology and Political Studies.
After achieving her Diploma in Geography from the University of Münster, Germany, she began working for planning and consulting companies before deciding to go in a different direction.
“I no longer wanted my research restricted by policies and politics because it became painful to see clearly and carefully prepared strategies collecting dust on shelves rather being put to use,” Dr Albrecht says.
“It was that experience that has motivated me to this day, as I seek to illuminate exactly why destination management is not the clear-cut, rational activity that textbooks can sometimes make it seem.”
With that incentive behind her, Dr Albrecht decided to move from Germany to the University of Otago in Dunedin to pursue her doctoral thesis.
During her undergraduate degree in Geography, Dr Albrecht did a minor in Political Studies where she first heard about 'implementation theory'.
At the time, there was no mention or application of this body of theory in tourism research and so Dr Albrecht decided to marry the two.
“Dubbed 'misery research' and described as 'the pathology of the social sciences', it suited my then-perception of the study area quite well,” Dr Albrecht says.
“To the best of my knowledge, my study was the first to apply public policy implementation theory in a tourism destination context.”
Dr Albrecht continued this line of investigation, producing several papers which were among the first to illuminate the complex interplay of destination management organisations, related strategy and processes pertaining to leadership and advocacy.
Now, more than 10 years later, she is still inspired by that initial interest in the practical challenges facing destination management.
“Despite all the progress made in the field of tourism and thanks to our own unpredictability as human beings, there will be no shortage of fascinating, if at times uncomfortable, questions to ponder with regard to destination management and sustainability,” Dr Albrecht says.
Since her initial investigations, Dr Albrecht has also used her expertise in a variety of other, related research investigations and initiatives.
This includes research into the sustainability practices in destination management strategies, destination managers' motivations behind the establishment of the national destination pledges, studies in visitor management, intangible cultural heritage, and food and wine in tourism.
She is a co-editor of the Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, an Associate Editor of the newly founded Frontiers in Sustainable Tourism, and she is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research.
Dr Albrecht also serves on the University of Otago Human Ethics committee, the Otago Business School Research Committee, the Council for Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education (since 2019), and the Building Excellence in Sustainable Tourism Committee (since 2012).
- Kōrero by Communications Adviser Kelsey Schutte