VU academic & tourism leader honoured for lifetime achievement

Brian King with current & former VU staff

VU Adjunct Professor Brian King, an internationally renowned tourism researcher, teacher and leader for more than 30 years, has been honoured for his outstanding contributions to Victoria’s tourism and events sector.

Professor King received his award at the black-tie 2018 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards surrounded by key tourism leaders and academics, including staff from VU’s new School for the Visitor Economy that Professor King helped launch earlier this year.

The annual ceremony is judged by industry peers and celebrates excellence in Victoria’s multi-million-dollar tourism and events industry.

Professor King, who was instrumental in establishing and leading VU’s School of Tourism, Hospitality and Marketing in the 1990s, is widely recognised as an Australian pioneer and leader in tourism education and research. He has trained hundreds of people who are now tourism educators themselves in Australia and around the world.

During his decade at VU (which included an appointment to Pro-Vice Chancellor for Industry and Community Engagement) Professor King made work-integrated learning and work placements a distinctive feature not only within his School, but across the University. This helped launch high-profile careers for thousands of graduates who now work worldwide, and forge the strong industry, business and government partnerships that VU is well known for today.

Professor Leo Jago, one of Professor King’s postgraduate students in the 1980s and now department head of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey, said he owes his career in tourism in large part to Professor King.

“Brian has always been extremely generous in terms of advice and mentorship to tourism students around the country, not just at Victoria University.There are literally thousands of tourism graduates who have benefited from his guidance over the past 30 years.”

King key to VU’s reputation

Professor King was key to VU developing an early reputation as a leading tourism, hospitality and events educator, with course offerings ranging from certificates to doctorates, and research output that was the largest in the country. Under his leadership, the School was a routine prize-winner for tourism education, and VU was inducted into the Victorian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame in 2001.

He also played key roles with Destination Melbourne, the Victoria Tourism Industry Council and Tourism Victoria during that time, helping build Melbourne’s reputation as a globally important city.

While Professor King relocated overseas in 2012 to join the Hong Kong Polytechnic University Tourism School, he is still strongly involved at VU. His influence remains deeply imprinted on those he worked with, taught, and mentored.

Tourism expertise recognised internationally

Professor King’s expertise is recognised by international bodies including the World Tourism Organisation and the Pacific Asia Tourism Association. He is a founding member and Chair of Assessors for the International Centre of Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality Education (THE-ICE), a global body that promotes quality training through accreditation, benchmarking and professional development.

Professor King is also a prolific results-based researcher specialising in the cultural dimensions of tourism marketing, in particular in emerging Asia-Pacific markets, especially China. He has published more than 200 tourism-related publications, and his work has received more than 2000 citations.

King launches School of the Visitor Economy

Professor King officially launched VU’s School for the Visitor Economy earlier this year to reinvigorate Victoria University’s tourism, hospitality, and events courses and research.

The School will congratulate its first graduates in the Masters in Tourism and Destination Management next month, and will launch its two-year Associate Degree in Hospitality and Hotel Management next year.

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