Dr. Will Price joined the Department of Geography in 2018, bringing his expertise in tourism and human geography to Ball State University. We asked Dr. Price a few questions and to get to know him a little better!
How are you enjoying being a faculty member here at Ball State?
Ever since I first arrived on campus in August 2018, Ball State has been a great place to work. The faculty in the Geography department genuinely like each other, and enjoy spending time together at and outside of the office. Our students are curious to learn more about the world and bring many interesting insights to the classroom, which is all you can ask for as a teacher.
What prompted your interest in Geography?
Geography is a long way from where I started in university, intending to be a Mechanical Engineer. I tried many different majors as an undergrad; I suppose you could say I was interested in everything but nothing particularly. Things finally clicked when I took my first geography class as a senior, a regional study of Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific. I loved that geography was such an integrative discipline, where I could consider the interactions of history, economics, culture, physical geography, etc. in place.
Why did you decide to specialize in tourism, particularly industrial tourism?
I grew up taking long road trips every summer with my parents and the occasional trip “across the pond” to Wales to see extended family. Travel was always at the top of my list of favorite things to do and when I discovered that tourism geography existed, it was a revelation. There were many reasons I ended up with a specialization in industrial tourism, but perhaps foremost is that industrial heritage is something shared by many of the places that I am most connected with: Oklahoma, Wales, Australia, and now Indiana. All are places that were shaped by industry, felt the consequences of its decline, and are now looking for ways to remember and potentially capitalize on this heritage.
Knowing that these can change over time, what have been your favorite travel destinations so far?
Ever since my first geography class, I have been passionate about Australia and New Zealand. I have been fortunate to visit both multiple times, and plan to do so again as soon as the pandemic allows. Outside of Oceania, Iceland, Spain, Costa Rica, Trinidad & Tobago, Newfoundland, and Alaska have been highlights.
Any places you haven’t traveled to that you’d like to visit?
That is a long list! I especially want to see more of the Pacific (Fiji, Tahiti, etc.), Chile, Japan, and South Africa – and yes, I am aware that is about as geographically dispersed as you can get!
What do you think post-pandemic tourism will be like?
Currently, there are the twin but contrasting forces of great pent-up demand for travel (everyone wants to escape their houses and towns!) and also a nervousness about getting back out into the world after a year of social distancing. I think it will take a while for cruise ships, amusement parks, and other aspects of mass tourism to rebound, but national parks, ecotourism destinations, beaches, and other areas where people see themselves being able to escape the crowds are going to flourish. We are already seeing the latter situation happen in many countries with domestic tourists.
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