Volume 15 Issue 4-5 2018 Emerging Scholar Profile 1

Dr. Elaine C. L. Yang
Griffith University, Australia


Dr. Elaine C. L. Yang is an early career researcher and an enthusiastic teacher. She is currently employed as an associate lecturer in the Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management, Griffith University, Australia. Elaine’s research interest mainly lies in the areas of gender studies in tourism, Asian tourism, solo consumers, tourist experience in general and innovative qualitative research methods. Elaine’s works have been published in reputable journals, including Tourism Management, Journal of Travel Research, Current Issues in Tourism, and Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management. She is also the co-editor of two books – Asian Culture and Contemporary Tourism and Asian Youth Travellers: Insights and Implications, and the lead guest editor for a special issue for Tourism Management Perspective entitled “Redefining Asian Tourism and Hospitality”.

Elaine was awarded a PhD at Griffith University, Australia in 2017. Her PhD dissertation, “Risk-taking on Her Lonely Planet: Exploring the Risk Experiences of Asian Solo Female Travellers”, explored the risk perceptions and negotiation strategies of Asian women who travel alone, and the implications of risk experiences in relation to the individuals’ lives and the social world. Her PhD was conducted during the #viajosola (which means “I travel alone”) movement and completed at the height of the #metoo movement. Her research made contributions to the discourse of women’s safety by elucidating the meanings of risk for female travellers in the increasingly risk-conscious society as well as the complex power relations underpinning the contemporary tourism space. Her research provided important insights and practical recommendations to the tourism industry in catering to the solo female travel market in Asia, which is a rising yet underresearched market. Instead of writing a traditional thesis, Elaine’s PhD was a collection of five publications. The dissertation consists of: (1) a systematic literature review to investigate the knowledge gaps regarding risk and gender research in tourism, (2) a narrative synthesis to bring together literature from various disciplines and in multiple languages to map the fragmented knowledge of Asian female travellers from the 17th century and earlier up to the present day, (3) an autoethnography study of her own experience as a Asian solo female traveller, (4) an empirical paper to investigate the issues of power and empowerment in the risk experiences of Asian women, and (5) another empirical paper to investigate the gendered and Western-dominated tourism space from a feminist geography perspective.

During her PhD candidature, Elaine was a visiting research student at four institutions – Copenhagen Business School, Surrey University, Bournemouth University and Kempten University, where she presented and defended her PhD research. She has proudly received several awards for her PhD research, including the Bill Faulkner Award for Best PhD Scholar’s Paper at the 2016 Annual Conference of the Council of Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE), the Favourite Presentation at the 2016 Annual Conference of the Association for Tourism in Higher Education (ATHE), and the Winner of Twitter Pitch Contest in 2016 at Griffith University. Her PhD research was featured in the media (https://tinyurl.com/ycnuh2kb) and Traveltalk magazine.

In her next phase of research, Elaine will continue to build her expertise in gender studies, solo consumers, and Asian tourism but at the same time, she is seeking to expand her research portfolio into other areas. She is currently working on a number of exciting projects with collaborators from Australia, Taiwan, Macao, and the United Kingdom. Some of these projects include gender representation and needs in business events, solo dining experience in a Chinese context, and tourism aesthetics and mindful tourist experience.

At Griffith University, Elaine teaches a wide range of courses, including People and Places, Tourism Impact Assessment, Cruise Industry Management, and Tourism and Hotel Economic Analysis. She has a great passion for teaching and always look for innovative approaches, such as flipped classroom, active and reflective learning, and experiential learning (e.g. field trip), to enhance her students’ learning experience. She has consistently obtained outstanding evaluation and commendation for her teaching performance. She also enjoys working with postgraduate students. She has completed an honour supervision where her student studied the meta-stereotype amongst Asian academics in the Australian tourism academy. She is currently co-supervising a PhD student who explores the wellbeing of child labour in tourism in developing countries, and a graduate diploma student who investigates women empowerment in the Saudi Arabian tourism industry. Elaine has been invited to deliver a number of mentoring workshops and talks for PhD students and sessional tutors. One of the most recent workshops was the “No-Supervisors-Allowed Secret Session: Dialogues with recent PhD Graduates” at the 2018 CAUTHE Conference.

Elaine is actively engaged in a variety of service activities. She serves as an editorial board member in two academic journals – Tourism Management Perspectives and Annals of Leisure Research, and an ad hoc reviewer for a number of journals, including Annals of Tourism Research, Current Issues in Tourism, Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Journal of Vacation Marketing, Tourism Review, Hospitality & Society, and Anatolia. Elaine also has experience organising a conference where she served as the managing editor at the 12th Asia Pacific Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (APacCHRIE) Conference. She is currently a member of CAUTHE and Tourism Travel and Research Association (TTRA).

Because of her passion for gender issues, Elaine is also a volunteered administrator at Women Academics in Tourism (WAiT), which is a social media group created by her PhD supervisor, Dr. Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore in 2014 to raise awareness of gender equality in the academia and to facilitate gender-related discussion. As an early career researcher, her advocacy for gender equality and expertise in tourism gender research have been recognised by the international tourism academe as she was invited to speak on a panel on “Women, Children and Sustainable Futures” at the 2017 TTRA Asia Pacific Chapter Conference. She was also a co-facilitator of the “Beauty and the Abuse” workshop at the 2017 Critical Tourism Studies Conference. The aim of the workshop was to start a dialogue on sexual harassment in academia.

Elaine earned an undergraduate degree in Geography from National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan, where she also received the Outstanding Academic Performance Award. She received a master’s degree in International Hospitality Management and was awarded a “Very Honourable Pass with Congratulations from the Jury” from the University of Toulouse 2 Le Mirail, France. Her master’s thesis, “Eat to Live or Live to Eat? A Cross-cultural ZMET investigation on Food and Eating Perception of Malaysian Chinese and Taiwanese” used an innovative visual-based method to elicit the subconscious meanings of food and eating in two Chinese societies. Her master’s research was published in three journals and presented at several international conferences where she won a Best Paper Award. When she was travelling to a conference to present the research, she was drugged and subsequently robbed in a hostel. That incident motivated her to do a PhD on the risk experience of solo female travellers.

In her free time, Elaine enjoys practicing aerial yoga where she can see the world from a different perspective hanging upside down. As a solo travel researcher, Elaine enjoys the serendipity of wandering alone in unfamiliar places. She also likes diving and seeing the beautiful underwater world.

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