Dr Karen Hughes

A/Prof in Tourism Management

School of Business
Faculty of Business, Economics and Law
+61 7 334 60564


Ms Karen Hughes currently lectures at undergraduate and postgraduate level in the areas of sustainable tourism and visitor management. Her research interests include interpretation and environmental education, wildlife tourism, heritage tourism, visitor behaviour and sustainable tourism. She is particularly interested in exploring how interpretation can be used across a range of contexts to attract, engage and inspire visitors.

Ms Hughes' recent projects include designing and evaluating interpretive signs at the Chengdu Panda Research Base in China; exploring the travel patterns of Chinese students; and evaluating and designing interpretive materials for Canterbury Cathedral in the UK. Her PhD focused on designing and evaluating the impact of interpretive resources on families’ adoption of environmental behaviours following a visit to Mon Repos turtle rookery. She has over 20 years of tourism research experience, and has also been a lecturer and researcher at James Cook University, Charles Darwin University and Queensland University of Technology.

Research Interests

  • Interpretation, Environmental Education and Ecotourism
  • Conservation learning in zoos and wildlife tourism settings
  • Pedagogies and partnerships in Outdoor and Environmental Education Centres
  • Raising community awareness of safe cycling and pedestrian practices


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Graduate Diploma in Further Education and Training, USQ
  • Master of Arts, James Cook University
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), James Cook University


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View all Supervision


Featured Publications


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Alonso-Vazquez, Marisol, Packer, Jan and Hughes, Karen (2014). Place attachment, festival attachment, and behavioural intentions as predictors of on-site environmentally responsible behaviours at music events. In: P. Monica Chien, Tourism and Hospitality in the Contemporary World: Trends, Changes & Complexity Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference CAUTHE 2014. CAUTHE Conference 2014, Brisbane, Australia, (736-739). 10-13 February 2014.

  • Hughes, Karen, Wang, Jie and Shu, Lavender (2013). Thunder down under? Chinese students' preferences for Australia's tourism experiences. In: Joanna Fountain and Kevin Moore, CAUTHE 2013. Tourism and Global Change: On the Edge of Something Big. Proceedings of the 23rd CAUTHE Conference. CAUTHE 2013: Council for Australasian University Tourism and Hospitality Education Annual Conference, Canterbury, NZ, (365-367). 11-14 February, 2013.

  • Moscardo, G., Ballantyne, R. and Hughes, K. (2003). Interpretive signs - talking to visitors through text. In: Tony Griffin and Robert Harris, Proceedings Asia Pacific Tourism Association 9th Annual Conference. Current research - future strategies, bridging uncertainty : Asia Pacific Tourism Association 9th Annual Conference, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia, (500-514). 6-9 July, 2003.

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision