Local Implications of Globally Restricted Mobility: A study of Queenstown’s vulnerability to peak oil and climate change
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This thesis employs a case study approach to investigate local implications of globally restricted mobility by examining Queenstown’s vulnerability to peak oil and climate change. Qualitative research methods are the principal means of inquiry. The research findings suggest that Queenstown is particularly vulnerable to peak oil and climate change at a broad scale because of its dependence on tourism and heavy reliance on air transport. However, Queenstown has fortuitously built up resilience to peak oil and climate change through tourism industry diversity, comparative advantage and an increasing proportion of short-haul visitors. A selection of key Queenstown tourism stakeholders interviewed as part of the research demonstrated some grasp of peak oil and climate change issues but lacked in-depth understanding. They generally considered the issues as being beyond their control although several suggested ways that Queenstown could strengthen resilience to peak oil and climate change. In terms of solutions, this research identifies three potential strategies. The first involves investing in a low carbon local transport system to increase destination level resilience to peak oil and climate change and enhance the uniqueness of the Queenstown brand. The second involves Queenstown promoters targeting the high-end niche tourism market in order to create a more resilient visitor profile. And the third involves the creation of new and expansion of existing industries not tied to tourism – preferably industries that are not excessively oil dependent and carbon intensive. But in order to successfully tackle the problem, it is imperative to first raise awareness. The research recommends implementing a framework that ensures an inclusive community-wide open dialogue process as the most effective way to achieve this.