Associate Professor Karen Hughes

Tourism Discipline Leader

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


Associate Professor Karen Hughes 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.

Karen’s PhD studies focused on designing and evaluating the impact of support materials on families’ adoption of environmental behaviours following a visit to Mon Repos turtle rookery. She has also explored public responses to environmental campaigns, public perceptions of replica sites as conservation tools, and the potential use of technology in connecting with new visitor audiences. Her most recent work involves designing and evaluating the impact of values-based interpretation on visitors’ long-term environmental behaviour. Karen has supervised four PhD students, three Masters students and two honours students to completion in the areas of interpretation, experience design and environmental behaviour change. Associate Professor Hughes 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
  • Masters (Coursework), James Cook University
  • Bachelor (Honours) of Arts, James Cook University


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Featured Publications


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision