A Southern Cross University PhD candidate wants to speak to young people from Byron Bay about their experiences growing up in a tourist town.
Antonia Canosa is researching how younger generations living in Byron Bay are impacted by tourism development.
Ms Canosa has been talking to a wide range of young people in Byron Shire including a group involved in an initiative of the Byron Youth Services.
‘These young people have been enthusiastically creating an animation of life in Byron Bay which will provide some invaluable insights for this research and which will be showcased at the Suffolk Park Community Hall on 5 December at 7pm,’ she said.
The movies are themed around issues the youths have identified as relating to their community, such as a lack of transport, environmental conservation and the need to educate tourists who come to Byron to respect the community and environment.
Ms Canosa is continuing to interview young people in the area and is seeking volunteers aged 10 to 24 for her research. To take part email her on [email protected]
She said tourism had been a major catalyst for the town’s economic growth and development since the 1980s with more than a million tourists now flocking to the seaside mecca every year, bolstering the local economy.
‘Interestingly, there has been limited research into the impact tourism has had on Byron Bay, specifically focused on locals’ perceptions of tourism,’ she said. ‘Furthermore, there has not been much research focused on young people’s perceptions, and the problems and opportunities they face in such a community.
‘This project is important as it explores some of the issues that young residents may have growing up in a tourist destination.
‘Byron Shire has changed significantly since the 1980s, including a declining youth population, with 10 per cent of the population aged 15 to 24, compared to the Australian average of 13.3 per cent according to the ABS 2011 Census”.
‘The Byron Shire Council Youth Strategy and Action Plan (2011) has confirmed a decline in the youth population and identified a number of significant issues and challenges faced by youth in Byron Shire, including: high unemployment rates, homelessness and juvenile crime associated with alcohol and substance use.’