Phil Pearce

Like many of us, I was totally shocked to hear of Phil’s sudden death. All of us send our condolences to Hera and to his extended family! I also guess all of us have our stories of Phil. From a personal perspective Phil and I had a shared history. After all these years I can now reveal that Phil got the post for which I was interviewed in London, that he told me prior to writing a book that he had “lived with me” (without my knowing) as he considered his theory of the travel career ladder, and that I had the joy of taking him on a delightful car ride via the scenic route to Hobbiton, and as I write these words several other such occasions come to mind.

I think that many of us saw the Trinet message sent by a number of his former Chinese doctoral students – a worthy tribute to the man and indicating that he was not only a towering academic contributor to our field of study, but some-one who remained approachable, loving the company of his students and colleagues and so willing to give of his time.

Phil not only contributed to tourism journals, but would on occasions write for psychology journals. I first got to know of Phil through his book “The Social Psychology of Tourist Behaviour” first published in 1982, and then again in 2013. Using the classic theories derived from different schools of psychology, Phil deftly placed them into the field of tourism. In 1988, in “The Ulysses Factor: Evaluating Visitors in Tourist Settings” (again republished in 2012), Phil set out some of the initial research that led to his concept of the Travel Career Ladder. Now one can find youtube videos on the topic! Among his other books one can include “Tourism Community Relations” written with his first wife, Gianna Moscardo, and colleague Glenn Ross.

While many of us associate Phil with his use of the Tourism Career Ladder, what is notable was his willingness to amend the notion over time, reducing in part its dependency on Abraham Maslow’s original concept to bring it closer into the mainstream of existing tourism literature with its nods to the earlier work of Stanley Plog among others. Phil was not content to let a good idea just lie – he wished to evolve it and respond to challenges.

His death robs Hera and his family of a father, husband and staunch supporter, and it robs us of the contributions he undoubtedly would have made in the future. It leaves us bereft of his friendship and sense of sharing – whether it was a guest lecture on humour in tourism, showing games to our students, or sharing stories of travel and companionship. As I write these words – I realise how much I have left out. The First Tourism Professor in Australia, a Fullbright Scholar at Harvard University, a visiting professor at so many universities. For me, as for many of us, he was quite simply, our friend.

Prof. Chris Ryan
Professor in Tourism - University of Waikato Management School