Dennis Puniard submitted his PhD thesis for examination on Thursday.
The title of his thesis is:
The Role of the Internet and Online Technologies in Destination Choice for Australian Cycle Tourists.
This is the third PhD to be submitted for examination since the establishment of the National Institute of Sport Studies at the University of Canberra.
It is the first thesis to emerge from a cross faculty collaboration. Dennis is registered for study with the Faculty of Business, Government and Law. I have been his primary supervisor from NISS in the Faculty of Health.
Some of Dennis’s findings about cycle tourists:
- They are very active in their use of online technology to explore their options for cycling away from their home base.
- They seek general information about accommodation and natural attractions at a location, albeit with some cycling specific aspects in view, such as cycle friendly accommodation and cycle friendly routes to attractions.
- Transportation options to reach a destination were identified as important, but with options that allow them to take their own bicycles with them.
- Information about cycling related facilities is important to this group, as is information about cycling events, specifically from a participant’s viewpoint.
- Information about organised cycling tours was seen as important to many in this group.
- Bicycle hire (especially overseas) and access to drinking water were identified as important information items and the weather forecasts are more important to cyclists than to many other tourists who have options to avoid bad weather.
- Age is not a barrier to the use of technology, and in many respects those that are not time poor (older/retired) are just as active online as their younger counterparts.
Overall, Dennis points out that:
The standout feature of this research in regards to cycle tourism is that road safety for cyclists came through as the most significant aspect of cycling away from the home region. Information related to safe routes for cycling was paramount in the needs of this group, and this has significant implications for cycling specific maps both hard copy and online.
Immediately after handing in his thesis for examination, Dennis packed his bags to present a a paper on his work at the Velo City Conference in Vancouver.