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YTN catches up with tourism professional, Madelene McWha

YTN: How are you involved in the Tourism Industry?

MW: I teach and research tourism at Latrobe University and William Angliss Institute in Melbourne.

YTN: What do you think is the best thing about Victoria’s Tourism Industry?

MW: Every destination is unique – the diverse landscapes in Victoria mean there are endless places to explore from cities to mountain ranges, coasts and beaches, the Murray River, the Yarra Valley vineyards and the Grampians. I hope to see Melbourne city continue to strive to be a globally conscious modern tourism destination. It will be interesting to see how Tourism Australia’s new campaign, Restaurant Australia, develops. It promotes local produce and cuisine and it ought to have great implications for Melbourne, which is known for its fine food and wine, its secret laneway eateries and coffee culture.

YTN: Where did you study? What are you studying?

MW: I completed my Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Hospitality Management) and Master of Tourism with Honours at La Trobe University, where, mid this year, I will submit my PhD in contemporary travel writing. I interviewed 47 professional travel writers and bloggers and my thesis explores how they reflect on their roles as tourism promoters, while simultaneously supporting sustainable travel, which can sometimes prove challenging. It seems that many writers feel an accountability to write responsibly. Yet, to get published, they must negotiate with many external bodies, as well as transform alongside technological spaces. The implications for both writers and writing are massive.

YTN: What do you most enjoy about your current job?

MW: Researching travel writing, I have met some incredible people with wonderful stories. One underwent a traditional 6-week Papua New Guinean cultural ceremony at age 24 to embody the Crocodile’s spirit through extreme sacrifice and scarification. Another travelled by horseback from Mongolia to Hungary on the trail of the nomads and Genghis Khan. Others sold their belongings and have dedicated their lives to being permanent nomads, blogging from the road. I hope that by tying these stories with theory and relaying them to my students that I can inspire them to think creatively about travel and respect places and cultures that are different to their own.

YTN: What are your career goals?

MW: I would like to continue in academia and contribute to the field of travel writing and tourism studies.

YTN: What advice do you have for students or anyone starting out in the tourism industry?

MW: Tourism is a multifaceted global network and because our ways of communicating are rapidly changing, if you are active online and use social media constructively, you can meet people in tourism from all over the world. If you love the idea of travel, celebrate cultural differences and want new experiences, then the fused tourism, hospitality and events industries are the right place for you.

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