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Professor Ross Dowling

Foundation Professor of Tourism

Contact Information Telephone: +61 8 6304 5891, Email:, Campus: Joondalup, Room: JO2.236
Staff Member Details
Telephone: +61 8 6304 5891
Campus: Joondalup  
Room: JO2.236  


Professor Ross Dowling is the Foundation Professor of Tourism in the School of Business and Law.


Professor Ross Dowling OAM is the Foundation Professor of Tourism in the School of Business and Law. He has held a number of other positions in Australian universities and immediately prior to joining ECU he was a Foundation Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer at The University of Notre Dame Australia. At ECU he has held many positions including Chair, Tourism Program, Head, School of Marketing, Tourism & Leisure, Associate Head, School of Business, and Director, MBA and Cross Disciplinary Studies.

Professor Dowling actively contributes to Tourism Research and Development in a number of capacities around the world, especially in the areas of Geotourism, Cruise Ship Tourism, Ecotourism and Tourism Planning & Development. He is an international speaker on tourism, providing advice for the industry in a number of countries around the world.

Ross has also completed two lecture tours on Ecotourism and Geotourism for the Chinese Government throughout China, Hong Kong, and Macau, as well as having developed a Sustainable Tourism Development Plan for the Ministry of Tourism in the Sultanate of Oman. He recently also conducted a summer school for the University of Iceland on Geotourism and Geoparks and is currently working on tourism development in both Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo.

Professional and Industry Associations

  • 2016 - Vice President, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia
  • 2016 - Ambassador, Western Australia Parks Foundation
  • 2016 - Member, Conservation & Parks Commission of Western Australia
  • 2015 - Squad Patron, Western Australia Police Academy
  • 2014 – Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors

Awards and recognition

  • 2016 - Edith Cowan University Vice Chancellor’s Award – Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
  • 2014 – Life Member, Ecotourism Australia
  • 2013 – Life Member, Forum Advocating Cultural and Eco Tourism
  • 2013 – Edith Cowan University Dean’s Award for Higher Degrees and Research Supervision
  • 2011 – Medal of the Order of Australia [OAM] – for service to the hospitality and tourism industry, education and the development of ecotourism
  • 2011 – National Trust McLarty Award – for support and contribution to the National Trust of WA
  • 2010 – Edith Cowan University Vice Chancellor’s Award – for Engagement in Learning and Teaching

Research areas and interests

  • Geotourism and geoparks development, sustainability, impacts and opportunities
  • Cruise Ship Tourism development, growth and industry impacts
  • Ecotourism planning, development, management and impacts
  • Regional tourism planning and development


  • Certificate IV in Training & Assessment, Other TAS registered training organisation, 2012.
  • Graduate Diploma of Educational Administration, Deakin University, 1994.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Murdoch University, 1993.
  • Diploma for Recreation & Sport, New Zealand, 1980.
  • Diploma in Teaching, New Zealand, 1978.
  • Teachers College Diploma with Distinction, New Zealand, 1976.
  • Master of Science with Honours in Geography, New Zealand, 1975.
  • Bachelor of Science in Geology, New Zealand, 1973.


Recent Research Grants

  • Indigenous Tourism Development in Parks: What's its Place in Joint Management?,  Department of Environment and Conservation WA,  Nature-based Recreation & Tourism Research Award,  2013 - 2014,  $3,000.
  • Customer Service Standards: The Effects of Training Intervention on Rottnest Island,  Rottnest Island Business Community Inc.,  Grant,  2009 - 2010,  $10,000.
  • Research Fellow - Sustainable Destinations,  CRC Centre for Sustainable Tourism,  Grant,  2006 - 2009,  $170,667.
  • An assessment of the socio-economic impact of expanding Ningaloo Marine Park and the sanctuary zones within Ningaloo Marine Park on communities of the Gascoyne coast region of Western Australia,  CRC Centre for Sustainable Tourism,  Grant,  2005 - 2008,  $10,288.
  • Western Australian State Network Coordinator,  CRC Centre for Sustainable Tourism,  Grant,  2007 - 2008,  $20,000.
  • Tourism and the Kimberley waterways,  CRC Centre for Sustainable Tourism,  Grant,  2005 - 2008,  $65,000.
  • Sustainable Wildlife Tourism Auditing Framework,  Murdoch University,  CRC - Grant,  2007 - 2008,  $1,600.

Recent Publications (within the last five years)


  • Newsome, D., Moore, S., Dowling, R., (2013), Natural Area Tourism: Ecology, Impacts and Management. Aspects of Tourism, 457, Bristol, UK, Channel View Publications.

Book Chapters

  • Dowling, R., (2015), Geotourism's contribution to sustainable tourism. The Practice of Sustainable Tourism: Resolving the paradox, 207-227, New York, Routledge.
  • Ernawati, NM., Dowling, R., Sanders, D., (2015), Tourists' perceptions of community-based tourism products for sustainable tourism in Bali, Indonesia. The Practice of Sustainable Tourism: Resolving the paradox, 95-112, New York, Routledge.
  • Dowling, R., (2014), Galapagos - An emerging tourism destination. Volcanic Tourist Destinations, 193 - 200, Heidelberg, Germany, Springer, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-16191-9_14.
  • Pforr, C., Dowling, R., Newsome, D., (2014), Geotourism: A sustainable development alternative for remote locations in Western Australia. Resource Curse or Cure? On the Sustainability of Development in Western Australia, 153-162, Heidelberg, Germany, Springer, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-53873-5_10.
  • Dowling, R., Margueritte, J., (2014), Reunion Island - A volcanic showcase. Volcanic Tourist Destinations, 325 - 336, Heidelberg, Germany, Springer, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-16191-9_25.
  • Dowling, R., (2013), Nautical Tourism in the Pacific. Nautical Tourism, 189 - 200, Oxford, UK, CABI, DOI: 10.1079/9781780642444.0189.
  • Dowling, R., (2013), The History of Ecotourism. International Handbook on Ecotourism, 15 - 30, Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Klein, R., Bozic, K., Dowling, R., Gibson, P., Grzetic, Z., Haahti, A., Horack, S., Lukovic, T., Papathanassis, A., Pekkala, S., (2013), Opportunities for market development of nautical tourism in Europe. Nautical tourism, 201 - 224, Oxford, UK, CABI, DOI: 10.1079/9781780642444.0201.

Journal Articles

  • Ernawati, NM., Sanders, D., Dowling, R., (2017), Host-Guest orientations of community based tourism products: a case study in Bali, Indonesia. International Journal of Tourism Research, 19(3), 367-382, West Sussex, United Kingdom, John Wiley & Sons, DOI: 10.1002/jtr.2119.
  • Sanders, D., Willson, G., Susomrith, P., Dowling, R., (2016), Fly in to work; fly out to Bali: An exploration of Australian fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workers leisure travel. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 26(1), 36-44, Australia, Elsevier Ltd, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhtm.2015.11.002.
  • Dowling, R., (2016), Australia's cruising phenomenon. Tourism in Marine Environments, 11(2-3), 181-187, Cognizant Communication Corporation, DOI: 10.3727/154427315X14513374773607.
  • Escorihuela, J., Dowling, R., (2015), Analysis of the geotouristic activity in the geologic park of Aliaga, Spain: Progress, threats and challenges for the future. Geoheritage, 7(3), 299-306, Germany, Springer, DOI: 10.1007/s12371-014-0137-5.
  • Allan, M., Dowling, R., Sanders, D., (2015), The motivations for visiting geosites: the case of Crystal Cave, Western Australia. GeoJournal of Tourism and Geosites, 16(2), 141-152, Oradea, Jud Bihor, Romania, Editura Universitatii din Oradea.
  • Hurtado, H., Dowling, R., Sanders, D., (2014), An Exploratory Study to Develop a Geotourism Typology Model. International Journal of Tourism Research, 16(6), 608-613, United Kingdom, John Wiley & Sons, DOI: 10.1002/jtr.1954.
  • Ólafsdóttir, R., Dowling, R., (2014), Geotourism and Geoparks—A Tool for Geoconservation and Rural Development in Vulnerable Environments: A Case Study from Iceland. Geoheritage, 6(1), 71 - 87, Germany, Springer, DOI: 10.1007/s12371-013-0095-3.
  • Norrish, L., Sanders, D., Dowling, R., (2014), Geotourism product development and stakeholder perceptions: a case study of a proposed geotrail in Perth, Western Australia. Journal of Ecotourism, 13(1), 52-63, UK, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/14724049.2014.938654.
  • Dowling, R., (2013), Global geotourism - an emerging form of sustainable tourism. Czech Journal of Tourism, 2(2), 59-79, Czech Republic, Versita, DOI: 10.2478/cjot-2013-0004,.

Research Student Supervision

Principal Supervisor

  • Master of Tourism by Research,  Obstacles Which Significantly Affect Tourism Development In Jordan
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Family Life And Leisure In New Zealand: Leisure And Parenting In Heterosexual Couples During Pregnancy And First- Time Parenthood In Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Producer-market Orientation Of Community-based Tourism (cbt) Products: A Case Study In Bali, Indonesia
  • Master of Tourism Management by Research,  The Business Of Trails
  • Master of Tourism Management by Research,  The Evolution Of Joint Management In Western Australian Parks And The Indigenous Tourism Nexus
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Toward Better Understanding Of Motivations For Geotourism Experience: A Self-determination Theory Perspective.
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Understanding Sustainable Tourism Development From A Complex Systems Perspective: A Case Study Fo The Swan River, Western Australia.
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