Since obtaining his PhD in tourism geography from the University of Exeter in 1998, Neil has worked at the University of Hertfordshire (UK), the University of Queensland and the University of Otago which he joined in 2004. In 2009 he was promoted to Associate Professor, and in 2014 he took on the part time position of Associate Dean (postgraduate) in the Otago Business School. He served as the Head of Department of Tourism at the University of Otago between 2015 and 2020.
Neil’s research encompasses a variety of interests that utilise tourism and leisure experiences as a cross-disciplinary lens through which to view behaviour; with a particular emphasis on children and families, identity formation, risk, gender, animals (particularly, but not exclusively, dogs) and animal rights, zoos, freedom, and sex and the sexual. As such, his research is firmly situated within a social science/humanities framework but at the same time clearly links into the applied reality of tourism and leisure as both social phenomena, areas of academic research, and global industries.