Special Tracks

ATLAS Annual Conference 2024
Leisure & Tourism 2030: Navigating the Future
Breda, Netherlands
June 25-28, 2024

Special Tracks

Special Track 1
Animals in the future of Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure
SIG Animals in Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure

Track Convenors

Lucia Tomassini and Akke Folmer

NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands


This Special Track organised under the aegis of the novel ATLAS SIG Animals in Tourism, Hospitality, and Leisure invites contributions presenting theoretical, methodological, and empirical advances in the research on the understanding and role of animals in tourism, hospitality, and leisure.


Humans have always been entangled in relations with animals. These relations have often been loaded with a power exercised by humans over animals. As such, the understanding of the sociological and political space of animals has largely revolved around places in which humans have physically and socially confined animals and their (im)mobilities – e. g. zoo, laboratories, veterinary clinics, homes, farms, breeding farms, parks, natural reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries. This understanding of animals is the product of – and contributes to – the moral disentanglement of humans from animals and it results in a commodified approach to the latter.


In the last decade, the severe loss of biodiversity, the growing debate on the Anthropocene epoch, the climate change crisis, as well as emerging critical approaches to borders, displacement, and othering are urging the rethinking of our co-existence with animals, and our understanding of the interactions and encounters with them. Consequently, in the context of tourism, hospitality, and leisure, this Special Track aims to generate further knowledge and debate by exploring, investigating, questioning the challenges, and discussing the opportunities embedded in the human-animal co-existence as well as its understanding, storification, and sensorial representation.


We welcome contributions prompting a critical thinking on Animals in the future of Tourism, Hospitality, and Leisure. Contributions should cover a variety of themes, among which:

  • Animal Justice
  • Animal Ethics
  • Animal Welfare
  • Wildlife Tourism
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Blue Tourism and marine mammals
  • Pets and animal companionship
  • Animal-based tourism experiences
  • Animals in food experiences and culinary traditions
  • Animals in festivals, events, and sport activities
  • More-than-human methodologies
  • Animal geography and Animal mobility
  • More-than-human spatial theories
  • Animals and Governance
  • Animals and Scenario Planning and strategic Foresight
  • Animal-based tourism services
  • Human and animals’ encounters
  • Media storification and visual representation of animals
  • Animals through Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality

Publication Opportunities
The organisers of this session will explore publication opportunities with high-impact journals and will make sure that the session will be followed up through active engagement of the participants in the dedicated SIG and its activities.

Special Track 2
Circular Economy and circular regenerative processes in the future of tourism and hospitality
SIG Circular Economy

Track Convenors
Lucia Tomassini and Elena Cavagnaro
NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands


This Special Track organised under the aegis of the ATLAS SIG Circular Economy and Circularity in the Space of Tourism and Hospitality invites contributions presenting theoretical, methodological, and empirical advances in the research on Circular Economy and circular regenerative processes in the future of tourism and hospitality.


In the last decade, the Circular Economy has been at the centre of renewed interest both within Europe and globally. Nevertheless, academics and professionals of the tourism and hospitality sector have remained only partially involved in the discussion and the implications of a Circular Economy in the tourism and hospitality sector are still largely unexplored and under-theorised.


The notion of Circular Economy is grounded in the ancient archetype of ‘circularity’. This archetype understands our ecosystem and its biological processes in terms of constantly renewing cyclic patterns—e. g. the cycle of the seasons and the carbon cycle of organic materials. Similarly, the idea of circularity has shaped the basis of many rituals and traditions as an ordering principle for a dynamic perduring equilibrium. Yet, the best-known contemporary theorisations and applications of Circular Economy have focused on the reuse of materials in product-oriented industries. Framing circularity as a means to contribute to sustainable development implies being able to simultaneously create value in the environmental, economic, and social dimension. While the latter is usually overlooked in studies and theorisations of Circular Economy, the creation of circular regenerative processes can generate new value in the social dimension by enriching it with a multiplicity of novel relations, connections, and networks among human and non-human stakeholders. This means also localising the tourism and hospitality economy and supply chain in the local space by creating ‘smaller’ loops prompting the active involvement of human (and non-human) stakeholders and re-designing new power-relationships, networks, and connections among them. This can happen because the ‘space’ of tourism and hospitality is not just a flat surface that people, capital, and products transit, but a multidimensional situation within which different types of relationships, networks and connections take place, together with different type of practices and behaviours.


We welcome contributions prompting a critical thinking on Circular Economy and Circularity in the Space of Tourism and Hospitality. Contributions should cover a variety of themes, among which:

  • Network Theory
  • Practice Theory
  • Behavioural informed interventions
  • Sociology of Space
  • Biodiversity regeneration
  • Collaborative Economy
  • Placemaking and circular regenerative processes
  • Posthuman approaches
  • Green and/or alternative mobility and logistic
  • Supply chain management

Publication Opportunities
The organisers of this session will explore publication opportunities with high-impact journals and will make sure that the session will be followed up through active engagement of the participants in the dedicated SIG and its activities.

Special Track 3
Touring, seeking, or simply going? Leisure and travel choices in a post-pandemic world

Track Convenors

Kiran Shinde – La Trobe University, Australia

Daniel H. Olsen – Brigham Young University, USA


There is little doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives forever: we now live in a post-pandemic world. But has the pandemic fundamentally changed people’s attitudes towards life and how that life should be lived? Work and leisure used to be separate spheres of everyday life in both a social and spatial sense, but those boundaries have blurred. The idea of “work” itself has been turned inwards to consume people’s personal lives, particularly in the aftermath of having to work-from-home during the pandemic. Will this new work-home relationship redefine how people now frame and consume leisure? Will the life-lessons from the pandemic translate into better travel choices that would be dramatically different from the unsustainable mass tourism that was on rise before everything stopped so abruptly?


In this session, the question is asked whether there will be fundamental shifts in society’s thinking about leisure and the ways in which leisure is performed. There is increasing evidence on a growing collective consciousness about health and environmental sustainability at both the individual and community scale. Will immersing in exotic cultures be a thing of past due to excessive demands for more hygienic and safer environments? Will such concerns precede the expectations people have in deriving happiness from travel? If so, where will people go? Will visiting familiar destinations be safer and more comforting, or will people seek to be more adventurous in ticking off their bucket-list items? Or will tourism begin to center more on visiting family and friends, with social relationships being the key motivating factor to travel? While a more sustainable reframing of leisure is in order, the bigger question is how that reframing will manifest in both traveler behavior and tourism destinations.


The topics for exploration for this session include (but are not limited to):

  • Realigning leisure expectations
  • Outer limitations versus inner constraints
  • Renewed perceptions of hospitality and Host-Guest relations
  • Rejuvenation and wellness tourism
  • Spiritual seeking in sacred places

The organisers of this session will explore publication opportunities with high-impact journals and will make sure that the session will be followed up through active engagement of the participants.

Special Track 4
Leisure and Love

Track Convenors

Moji Shahvali – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Tila Pronk – Tilburg University, The Netherlands


Maintaining love in relationships is increasingly challenging in today’s busy, individualistic, and fast-paced lifestyle. Frequent, meaningful, and intentionally designed leisure experiences can help nurture and maintain relationships; relationships including romantic partnership, friendship, or relationships within families. New friendships or partnerships can be initiated and formed during leisure time. While this all might sound intuitive, there is limited understanding and data as how certain types of leisure and tourism experiences can contribute to relationships. Existing theories in social psychology and relationship research often focus on solving relationship issues and conflicts rather than exploring avenues for mutual flourishing. This session aims to hold a space for researchers and studies interested in studying the mechanisms through which certain shared leisure experiences can benefit relationships. These psychological mechanisms may include humor, playfulness, healthy communication, active listening, shared emotions, self-expansion, biological and behavioral synchrony and many other possible explanations for which we lack empirical support. At this time, both qualitative and quantitative research is needed to fully understand the relationship between leisure and love.

Special Track 5
Leisure communities – leisure for communities

Track Convenors:
Esther Peperkamp – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Licia Calvi – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands


Leisure as a freely chosen activity in which the company of others is sought for sheer enjoyment or for relishing a shared interest has always been regarded as a prime context for developing social relationships. The past decades have seen an ever-growing concern for the contribution of leisure and tourism to society, in particular in the form of community development.


Numerous examples of studies of leisure practices and places can be found, such as (urban) gardening, handicraft groups, sports, community meeting centres, that are said to help build and strengthen local communities. On an individual level, local ties may assure social support and create a sense of belonging. On a community level, a vibrant local community may assure quality of life and quality of place. Some leisure practices are even specifically designed to contribute to local communities. How to reach and assess such outcomes is a challenging field of study.


The intertwinement of online and offline leisurely interactions presents another avenue for exploration. For some time, digitalization and increased mobility seemed to have rendered communities obsolete. On the other hand, digitalization may also result in new forms of community (communities of practice, communities of interest, virtual communities) that may or may not link to local communities and networks.


In this special track we welcome contributions that prompt critical thinking on the impact of leisure on communities. Contributions can cover a variety of themes, among which:

  • Conceptual work proposing models but also vocabularies and terminology to address the role of leisure in creating communities in contemporary society.
  • Empirical research on leisure practices, either online or offline, that have social impact or are designed to have social impact.
  • Papers that discuss methodologies for assessing the impact of leisure and leisure related activities on local communities. Papers on quantitative, qualitative, mixed and participatory approaches are welcomed.
  • Reflective papers on the positionality of the researcher or leisure scholar working in/with communities.

Publication Opportunities

The organisers of this session will explore publication opportunities with high-impact journals and will make sure that the session will be followed up through active engagement of the participants.

Special Track 6
The Strategic Role of Events in light of the Sustainable Development Agenda

Track Convenors
Marisa de Brito – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Ilja Simons – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands


This special track is pleased to invite submissions for the theoretical, methodological, and empirical advances in research on the strategic role of events in light of the sustainably development agenda.


Ascribing a strategic role to events, implies that they have a part to play in long term strategies and visions. This requires a thorough understanding of the different types of value that events can generate, how these types of value interrelate, and who is affected and impacted by them. With the sustainable development agenda as a framework, we aim to bring together multidisciplinary perspectives on the role of events for navigating the future.


In the past decades, the strategic role of events has been documented in literature with regards to community development (Ziakas, 2016), placemaking (De Brito & Richards, 2017; Simons, 2017; Richards & Palmer, 2010), urban regeneration (Smith, 2012,) and tourism (Getz, 2008) to mention just a few. Moreover, the effects of events and event strategies have been discussed and questioned with regards to, for example, marginalisation (e.g. Hassanli, Walters & Friedmann, 2020) and human rights (e.g. Dowse, Powell & Weed, 2018).


This special track seeks to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of strategic event practices and their impacts on diverse communities. Submissions are encouraged to address a range of sub-topics, including but not limited to:

  • The role of events in navigating the future
  • The role of events in sustainable development
  • The role of events for placemaking
  • The role of events for sustainable places and communities
  • The role of events for sustainable consumption and production
  • The role of events in climate action
  • The role of events in combatting poverty
  • The role of events in mitigating marginalisation
  • The role of events for community development
  • The role of events in social inclusion
  • The role of events in achieving gender equality
  • The role of events in cultural understanding
  • The role of events in relation to human rights
  • The role of events in peace and justice
  • Educating professionals for the strategic role of events
  • Research methodologies for studying the strategic role of events

Publication Opportunities
The organizers of this special track will explore publication opportunities with high-impact journals.


De Brito, MP. and Richards, GW. (2017). Events and placemaking. International Journal of Event and Festival Management, 8(1).
Dowse, S., Powell, S., & Weed, M. (2020). Mega-sporting events and children’s rights and interests–towards a better future. In Human Rights and Events, Leisure and Sport (pp. 97-108). Routledge.
Getz, D. (2008) Event tourism: Definition, evolution, and research. Tourism Management, 29(3): 403.
Hassanli, N., Walters, T., & Friedmann, R. (2020). Can cultural festivals function as counterspaces for migrants and refugees? The case of the New Beginnings Festival in Sydney. Leisure Studies, 39(2), 165-180.
Richards, G. and R. Palmer (2010), Eventful Cities, Routledge.
Simons, I.P.P. (2017). The practices of the eventful city: the case of incubate festival. Event Management, 21(5), 593-608.
Smith, A. (2012), Events and Urban Regeneration: The Strategic Use of Events to Revitalise Cities.
Ziakas, V. (2016) Fostering the social utility of events: an integrative framework for the strategic use of events in community development, Current Issues in Tourism, 19:11, 1136-1157.

Special track 7
The future of volunteer tourism
ATLAS SIG Volunteer Tourism

Track convenors
Elisa Burrai – Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom
Davide Sterchele – Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom


We live in a time of social, geopolitical, ecological, economic and technological changes and challenges. These transformations expose global societies to transitionary times characterised by instability and vulnerability. In line with the theme of the ATLAS conference, we call for theoretical and methodological contributions on the future of volunteer tourism in such changing landscapes.


To this end, we particularly welcome contributions that shed light on how volunteer tourism intersects with such changes and how these changes influence new reconsiderations of philanthropy, moral economies, and ethical consumerism within the specific context of volunteer tourism.


More specifically, this special track aims at exploring the future of volunteer tourism in relation to the following areas:

  • Changing conceptualisations and praxis of philanthropy, morality and ethics;
  • Sustainable Development Goals and volunteer tourism;
  • Climate change and volunteer tourism;
  • Artificial intelligence and volunteer tourism;
  • Migration and volunteer tourism;
  • Regulatory practices of the volunteer tourism industry;
  • Volunteer tourism, social movements, and activism;
  • Volunteer tourism, anthropocentrism and posthumanism;
  • Decolonisation of volunteer tourism theory and practice;
  • Changing methodologies to examine volunteer tourism.

We invite submissions that may address, but are not be limited to, the above-mentioned areas.

Special Track 8
SIG AI and Tourism

Track Convenors

Miju Choi – Leeds Beckett University, UK
Puspita A. Permatasari-Grochowina – Breda University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands
Tomas Mainil – Breda University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands


The proliferation of digital technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), has profoundly impacted society (Knani, Echchakoui, & Ladhari, 2022). This societal evolution is influencing professional developments across various sectors. A pivotal industry undergoing such transformation is tourism, where the integration of these technologies facilitates transformative developments in tourism supply chains (Parsons, Choi, Thomas, Glyptou, & Walsh, 2023). These technologies act as intermediaries, bridging the gap between demand (tourists/visitors) and supply (industrial practices, professional stakeholders) in the tourism sector. Central to this discussion is the role of technology in enabling direct and indirect interactions between tourist destinations and stakeholders (Li, Yin, Qiu, & Bai, 2021). These interactions can be positive, enriching the tourist experience, or negative, posing ethical challenges, and others may occur as neutral digital background processes unbeknownst to tourists. Other advantages of AI and IoT integrations can be envisioned in the roles of preserving and documenting cultural heritage, facilitating knowledge dissemination and its alignment in creating sustainable experiential cultural tourism (Chen, Ma, Liu, & Yuan, 2021; Permatasari, 2022). Furthermore, there is a noticeable absence of comprehensive, interdisciplinary academic exploration into these technologies’ full potential, ethical implications, and transformative power in the tourism industry and education. Therefore, there is an urgent requirement to engage in a discussion on ‘AI and Tourism’ among scholars in the field of tourism, both from a methodological (i.e. data science analytics – Provost & Fawcett, 2013) as well as from a content-driven perspective (dynamics in the tourism industry).


This session aims to consolidate diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives exploring the intersection of ‘AI and Tourism’. We invite researchers to submit abstracts addressing, but not limited to, the following themes:

  • The orchestration and influence of technology in the interaction between tourists and the tourism sector: challenges and manifestations.
  • The impacts of AI systems within the tourism sector, such as recommender systems used by online platforms (e.g., that capture user preferences and behaviour.
  • The role of advanced AI chatbots in enhancing tourist satisfaction levels in service delivery.
  • Tourist interactions with AI throughout their customer journey and the ethical considerations of AI and blockchain technology in back-end reservation processes within the tourism industry.
  • The roles of AI and IoT for enriching user experience in cultural tourism, especially in Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums (GLAM) context.
  • Strategies for sustainable and conscious implementation of these technologies amidst disruptive AI applications.
  • The impact of the interaction between tourism employees and these technologies on workplace dynamics and uncertainty.
  • The potential and limitations of big data and machine learning technologies in shaping human-computer interactions within the tourism system.
  • The impact of AI-driven tourism on local communities
    Mental health issues associated with the use of AI.
  • AI-driven prediction and decision-making in tourism
    Ethical considerations in using AI for tourism education.
  • Data privacy and the ethical use of AI.
  • Others…

Discussion Focus
The session will critically examine the impacts on both tourists and the tourism sector, identifying common interaction touchpoints. A critical and academic framework is essential to debate the challenges, possibilities, pitfalls, and opportunities presented by these digital-led interactions and developments.



Chen, H., Ma, Y., Liu, X., & Yuan, Y. (2021). Research on the Application of” AR/VR+” Traditional Cultural Education Based on Artificial Intelligence. In 2021 2nd International Conference on Information Science and Education (ICISE-IE) (pp. 1673-1676). IEEE.
Knani, M., Echchakoui, S., & Ladhari, R. (2022). Artificial intelligence in tourism and hospitality: Bibliometric analysis and research agenda. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 107, 103317.
Li, M., Yin, D., Qiu, H., & Bai, B. (2021). A systematic review of AI technology-based service encounters: Implications for hospitality and tourism operations. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 95, 102930.
Permatasari, P. A. (2022). iWareBatik : digital information system for enhancing Batik learning in the framework of heritage preservation and sustainable tourism. Doctoral Thesis. Università della Svizzera italiana. Switzerland.
Provost, F., & Fawcett, T. (2013). Data science for business: [what you need to know about data mining and data-analytic thinking]. Sebastopol, Calif., O’Reilly.

Special Track 9
Navigating the future of intangible cultural heritage in an evolving world
ATLAS SIG Cultural Tourism

Track Convenors
Greg Richards – Breda University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands, Netherlands
Maria del Pilar Leal – CETT Barcelona, Spain
Jordi Arcos-Pumarola- CETT Barcelona, Spain


After twenty years of UNESCO adoption of the “Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage” in 2003 and its efforts to recognize the importance of intangible cultural heritage leading currently to the inscription of 730 elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, helping to raise awareness and support for the diverse forms of cultural expression around the world. In this context, the cultural tourism sector has touristified those elements in many countries, regions, and cities around the world. As Richards (2021) has noted, one of the most significant changes in the field of cultural tourism has been the shift from tangible to intangible cultural heritage (ICH) as a target for tourism experiences. As the world continues to change after the pandemic, with the disruption of Artificial Intelligence and in a context of climate urgency, and wars, the preservation, interpretation, and sustainable management of intangible cultural heritage become crucial. However, despite UNWTO (2017) recognized tourism as a catalyst of sustainable development, cultural diversity, and the preservation of heritage, many elements with or without recognition by UNESCO are still endangered.


When researching the intersection of intangible cultural heritage and tourism in the future, it’s important to consider questions that address various aspects of this complex relationship such as among others, What are the long-term impacts of tourism on intangible cultural heritage in a post-pandemic world?, How can tourism be managed to ensure the sustainable preservation of intangible cultural heritage?, How does community participation contribute to the authenticity and sustainability of tourism experiences?, How can cultural tourism avoid or mitigate issues of cultural appropriation and commodification of intangible cultural heritage?, How can tourism destinations effectively manage crises, such as natural disasters or global pandemics, to protect intangible cultural heritage? or What strategies can be implemented to ensure the resilience of cultural tourism in the face of unexpected challenges?


In this regard, this session organised by the PIMUS+ project and the ATLAS Cultural Tourism Group will focus on the future of the relationship between tourism and intangible cultural heritage, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead of sustainable tourism management. Therefore, this special track aims to bring together scholars, practitioners, and researchers to present and debate papers on issues including:

  • Sustainable tourism practices for the preservation of intangible cultural heritage.
  • Digital technologies and their impact on the presentation and accessibility of ICH in tourism.
  • Community engagement and empowerment in cultural tourism initiatives.
    Ethics, cultural sensitivity, and the prevention of cultural appropriation in tourism.
  • The role of storytelling and interpretation in enhancing cultural tourism experiences.
  • Policy frameworks and governance structures for the effective management of ICH-related tourism.
  • Crisis management and resilience in cultural tourism destinations.
  • Educational initiatives for raising awareness about the significance of intangible cultural heritage among tourists.
  • Inclusive tourism practices that consider diverse audiences and ensure accessibility for all.
  • Global collaboration and networking to address shared challenges in the preservation of ICH through tourism.
  • Specific fields of ICH and tourism, such as Literary tourism and Storytelling, Music tourism, Film tourism, Design tourism, Food tourism.
  • The use of ICH in museums.
  • Future cultural heritage: forms, processes and meanings.

Publishing opportunities
The submitted communications may publish their complete paper in the Tourism and Heritage Journal, University of Barcelona. For more information about the Journal:


Richards, G. (2021) Rethinking Cultural Tourism. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
UNWTO (2017), “Discussion paper on the occasion of the international year of sustainable tourism for development”, available at: (accessed 6 December 2023).

Special Track 10
Digital Cultural Tourism


Track Convenors
Jessika Weber Sabil – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Lénia Marques – Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Digital transformation in cultural tourism is reshaping lives, travel, and cultural consumption. Beyond providing unprecedented access to heritage sites, it transforms business models, fostering collaboration among stakeholders through innovative digital platforms. This evolution redefines our relationship with cultural heritage, creating a vibrant tapestry of enhanced access, immersive experiences, and collaborative engagement. The paradigm shift goes beyond accessibility, heralding a revolution in how we perceive and contribute to cultural narratives in the digital age. Possibilities and challenges created with the digital transformation are myriad.


With this special track on Digital Cultural Tourism, we are pleased to invite original research papers, case studies, and review articles. Contributions can include theoretical, methodological, and empirical advances that explore the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in technology-supported cultural heritage. The aim of this special track is to showcase cutting-edge research and align efforts in digitizing cultural heritage for preservation purposes and relevance to today’s societies.


The conference track welcomes submissions on the following topics, but are not limited to:

  • How intangible, tangible and digital cultural heritage influence the travel behaviour
  • Digital storytelling and social media platforms to share and promote cultural experiences
  • Digital (destination) marketing for cultural tourism, including its relationship to cities and/or placemaking
  • Experience design with immersive (AR/VR/XR/MR) and other disruptive technologies (AI, robotics, chatbots, big data)
  • Enhancing online/ virtual/ augmented/phygital /hybrid museum experience, exhibitions, collections and cultural sites
  • 3D modelling, photogrammetry and digitisation of cultural assets for preservation, accessibility, interpretation and remote visits
  • Protecting cultural heritage sites in times of environmental challenges and sustainability issues using digital technologies
  • Serious and entertainment games, gamification, mobile and creative applications
  • Applications and best practices of blockchain, NFTs, Web3, and the Metaverse
  • Virtual agents/ virtual humans in cultural heritage sites and GLAM
  • Platformisation, implications and strategies for cultural tourism actors
  • Relationships between digital, creativity and entrepreneurship in tourism
  • Macro and micro economic implications of forms of digitization in cultural tourism
  • New digital business models for cultural tourism

Publication Opportunities
The organisers of this session will explore publication opportunities with high-impact journals and will make sure that the session will be followed up through active engagement of the participants.

Special Track 11
Tourism mobilities and the challenge of climate change, at a crossroads
ATLAS SIG Climate Change and Tourism
ATLAS SIG Space Place Mobilities in tourism

Track Convenors
Ioanna Farsari – Dalarna University, Sweden
Wilbert den Hoed – Rovira i Virgili University, Spain
Antonio Paolo Russo – Rovira i Virgili University, Spain


This special track, organised in collaboration by two Special Interest Groups in ATLAS, ‘Space, Place and Mobilities in Tourism’ and ‘Climate Change and Tourism’, invites contributions which present conceptual, methodological and empirical advances in the relation between tourism mobility systems and the climate crisis.


This special track departs from the obvious relation of tourism and mobilities. Current transport systems and travel behaviour exacerbate climate change with impacts in all spheres of life. Despite this disturbing reality, “the tourism sector has not been able to agree on a credible mitigation strategy” (Peeters et al., 2019: 174; Scott et al., 2016). Tourism, as a sector, is particularly vulnerable to (climate) crises as travel to a destination may become obstructed, more difficult, or more expensive. Together with the tourism sector’s negative effects on climate change itself and on destinations’ adaptive capacities, this exposes tourism-related mobilities’ bidirectional relationship with climate change (Hopkins, 2021).


In response to this intricate relationship, tourism researchers underline the role of slow tourism and proximity tourism as alternatives to reduce international and high-emission mobility needs. Proximity tourism understood as travelling near home (Jeuring & Diaz-Soria, 2017) has been emphasising travel to local destinations, short distances, low-carbon modes of transportation and capital investment in local communities (Hollenhorst, Houge-Mackenzie, & Ostergren, 2014; Rantala, Salmela, Valtonen, & Höckert, 2020). However, mobilities and proximity tourism can be understood not only as physical spatial movement but as virtual and imaginative travel as well (Sheller & Urry, 2006). Slow and proximity tourism may be seen as too far off tourism’s usual imaginary of visiting the exotic, non-routine and adventurous, while contradicting the tourism market’s express production and consumption models (Díaz-Soria & Llurdés-Coit, 2013; Fullagar et al., 2012; Izcara Conde & Cañada Mullor, 2020).


Can such forms of travel though form solutions to reduce travel generated emissions? And how are tourists, the industry and destinations embracing them? Mobilities paradigm is also questioning dichotomic understandings e.g. of people and places as distinct (Sheller and Urry 2016) and invites for a lens of place attachment and its role in climate change or climate friendly tourism. Proximity tourism is not just a new form of tourism but also a way for scholars to shift understandings around mobility, localness, farness and closeness (Rantala et al., 2020) and thus transform the dominant ways that tourism is understood and practised (Salmela, Nevala, Nousiainen, & Rantala, 2021) and invite for an understanding of global climate crisis and degrowth (Cattaneo et al., 2022). Indeed a number of scholars point to the direction that climate change cannot be achieved without degrowing tourism (Loehr & Becken, 2021; Prideaux & Pabel, 2020). The mobilities paradigm also underlines the role of materiality, not least of moving objects or immobile infrastructure (Sheller & Urry 2006). We welcome questions also there around materiality in mobility infrastructure and their dialogue with climate change. And vice verse, how the materiality of climate change (e.g. heat discomfort) is influencing tourism mobilities and the choice e.g. of transport models, or cooler destinations, or tourism in proximate environments?


Not least, climate change has also highlighted global inequalities, with developing countries and deprived societal groups emerging as more vulnerable and experiencing greater impacts. At the same time, mobility green transitions are criticised as exacerbating injustice in the ways that such developments are controlled and promoted by market-based mechanisms or in the role of low carbon or offsetting policies (Sheller, 2021). Traditional forms of transport planning favour car and air travel and the experiences of western societies, nevertheless climate justice is asking for a decolonisation of research the integration of understandings from multiple groups from the less privileged parts of the world (Sheller 2021, 2021). At the destination-level, mitigation efforts have not been able to substantially change the contribution of tourism-related travel to global emissions (e.g. Rico et al., 2019, on the ecological footprint of different travel modalities to Barcelona).


This special track sees the crossroads of tourism mobilities and climate change as a multidisciplinary undertaking, because of the complexities around the actors involved – the tourism sector, individual destinations, transport operators, political entities – and the multiple academic disciplines to study this topic. It would thus like to explore questions around the policies and the politics that surround tourism and travel behaviour changes, and the interactions between climate change, climate crises and tourism-related mobilities, learning from degrowth theory and critical work on the socio-ecological costs of tourism (Fletcher et al., 2019), particularly those tourism-related mobilities, and seeks for theoretical and methodological developments on tourism-related mobilities that do not harm the climate, that shed light on the requirements for systemic (inter)sectoral change, and that contribute to the understanding of potential relocations of tourist activity, the promotion of sustainable means of transport for tourist uses, and/or the reduction of the pressure on the (natural) environment. In methodological terms, this track seeks for advances and innovative approaches to study the changing spatialities and temporalities of tourism mobilities’ climate impacts, the vehicles, bodies and mobilities involved, their interrelations with geographical and political contexts, and the individual and collective motivations of undertaking tourism-related mobilities. At the same time is looking for inter- trans- and post- disciplinary epistemologies and methodologies to research the intersection of the mobilities paradigm and climate change.


We are especially keen on welcoming contributions tackling topics among the following:

  • The contribution of tourism mobilities to climate change
  • Planning transitions: the degrowth and replanning of travel infrastructure
  • Travel behaviour and adaptations to climate change
  • Climate and mobility justice
  • The adaptation of tourism infrastructures to climate change
  • Political, societal or industrial initiatives promoting climate-neutral tourism mobilities and destinations
  • The governance of climate-neutral tourism mobilities and destinations
  • Epistemological approaches to tourism motivations, e.g. in terms of wellbeing, social value, environmental impacts, etc.

Publishing Opportunities

The organisers of this session will actively seek for publication opportunities with high-impact journals or book publishers. They will also make sure that the session will be followed up through active engagement of the participants in the ‘Space Place Mobilities’ and ‘Climate change and tourism’ SIGs.


Key references
Diaz-Soria, I. & Llurdés-Coit, J.C. (2013). Reflexiones sobre el turismo de proximidad como una estrategia para el desarrollo local [Reflections on proximity tourism as a strategy for local development]. Cuadernos de Turismo, 32, 65–88.
Fletcher, R., Murray Mas, I., Blanco-Romero. A. & Blázquez-Salom, M. (2019). Tourism and degrowth: an emerging agenda for research and praxis, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27:12, 1745-1763, DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2019.1679822.
Fullagar, S., Markwell, K., & Wilson, E. (eds.). (2012). Slow tourism: Experiences and mobilities (Vol. 54). Bristol: Channel View Publications.
Hopkins. D. (2021). Crises and tourism mobilities, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 29:9, 1423-1435, DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2021.1905969.
Ioannides, D. & Gyimóthy, S. (2020). The COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity for escaping the unsustainable global tourism path, Tourism Geographies, 22:3, 624-632, DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2020.1763445.
Izcara Conde, C. & Cañada Mullor, E. (2020). Slow tourism, una oportunitat per a la transformació del turisme? [Slow tourism, an opportunity for tourism transformation?]. Tourism and Heritage Journal, 2: 110-122.
Peeters, P., Higham, J., Cohen, S., Eijgelaar, E. & Gössling, S. (2019). Desirable tourism transport futures, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27:2, 173-188, DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2018.1477785.
Rico, A., Martínez-Blanco, J., Montlleó, M., Rodríguez, G., Tavares, N., Arias Sans, A., & Oliver-Solà, J. (2019). Carbon footprint of tourism in Barcelona, Tourism Management, 70: 491-504,
Scott, D., Hall, C.M. & Gössling, S. (2016). A report on the Paris Climate Change Agreement and its implications for tourism: why we will always have Paris, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 24:7, 933-948, DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2016.1187623.
Cattaneo, C., Kallis, G., Demaria, F., Zografos, C., Sekulova, F., D’Alisa, G., . . . Conde, M. (2022). A degrowth approach to urban mobility options: just, desirable and practical options. Local Environment, 1-28. doi:10.1080/13549839.2022.2025769.
Hollenhorst, S. J., Houge-Mackenzie, S., & Ostergren, D. M. (2014). The Trouble with Tourism. Tourism Recreation Research, 39(3), 305-319. doi:10.1080/02508281.2014.11087003.
Jeuring, J., & Diaz-Soria, I. (2017). Introduction: proximity and intraregional aspects of tourism. Tourism Geographies, 19(1), 4-8. doi:10.1080/14616688.2016.1233290.
Loehr, J., & Becken, S. (2021). Leverage points to address climate change risk in destinations. Tourism Geographies, 1-23. doi:10.1080/14616688.2021.2009017.
Prideaux, B., & Pabel, A. (2020). Degrowth as a strategy for adjusting to the adverse impacts of climate change in a nature-based destination. In Degrowth and tourism (pp. 116-131): Routledge.
Rantala, O., Salmela, T., Valtonen, A., & Höckert, E. (2020). Envisioning Tourism and Proximity after the Anthropocene. Sustainability, 12(10). doi:10.3390/su12103948.
Salmela, T., Nevala, H., Nousiainen, M., & Rantala, O. (2021). Proximity tourism: A thematic literature review. Matkailututkimus, 17(1), 46-63.
Sheller, M. (2021). Reconstructing tourism in the Caribbean: connecting pandemic recovery, climate resilience and sustainable tourism through mobility justice. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 29(9), 1436-1449. doi:10.1080/09669582.2020.1791141.
Sheller, M., & Urry, J. (2006). The New Mobilities Paradigm.

Special Track 12
Creative Placemaking

Track Convenors
Licia Calvi – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Marisa de Brito – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Rana Habib – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

This Special Track invites contributions presenting theoretical, methodological, and empirical advances in the research on Creative Placemaking.


It relates to the conference theme on ‘Placemaking and Destination Branding’ – focusing on the use of artistic and creative practices to make places attractive to visitors, while catering to the residents’ sense of place. In order to achieve this, the notion of Creative Placemaking emphasises the making of a place through cooperation beyond policymakers and placemakers, between residents and stakeholders, among which artists and the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) play a significant role.


Art is used to design interventions where creativity becomes the means to develop places. These interventions might take different forms: they can create an environment that invites, facilitates or entices residents and passersby to meet and interact (Guinard & Molina, 2018). Or they can convert an otherwise dull, empty or grey neighbourhood into a vibrant and colorful one that tourists are curious to visit (De Brito et al., in press). They can revitalise inner cities sustainably, or they can rejuvenalise heritage. Regardless of this form, their purpose remains the same across the bord: to promote the local identity (Zebracki et al., 2010), to create awareness about topics that are felt as important locally, to contribute to the quality of life of the people inhabiting these places, to improve the perception of a place, to foster social development. In one word, to impact.


Social impact in particular is what is expected these interventions to have: namely, it is expected that they will resonate beyond the immediate, one-off, experience at individual level into the wider community (Galloway, 2009).


We welcome contributions covering methodological, theoretical and empirical aspects related to creative placemaking. Contributions should cover a variety of themes, among which:

  • Actions needed to involve such a diverse stakeholder pool
  • Tools, methods and criteria to assess the impact of creative placemaking initiatives
  • Which placemaking practices are most appropriate to achieve which goals
  • Critical reflections on the value of the notion of ‘(community) participation’
  • Which impacts are of relevance in creative placemaking
  • What core values are promoted by creative placemaking and how
  • The role of the arts in creative placemaking
  • The role of urban design in creative placemaking
  • The role of technology in creative placemaking
  • Frameworks to address the quality assessment and monitoring of creative placemaking practices
  • The notion of transformation in creative placemaking
  • The role of heritage in creative placemaking
  • Creative placemaking and involved stakeholders
  • The role of creative placemaking in future city development
  • The role of Leisure and Tourism in creative placemaking
  • The role of creative placemaking in navigating the future

Publication Opportunities

The organisers of this special track will explore publication opportunities with high-impact journals.

Special Track 13
Tourism and Leisure narratives within the Inclusive City

Track Convenors
Rana Habib – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Ko Koens – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Marisa de Brito – Breda University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands


This special track is pleased to invite submissions that contribute to advancing the theoretical, methodological, and empirical discourse on accommodating tourism mobilities within the Inclusive city. This session aims to explore multifaceted dimensions of inclusivity in urban development and tourism planning, and the everyday life of citizens.


In theory, inclusive cities embrace diversity, allowing for a mosaic of diverse ideas and perspectives, that can help address historical socio-spatial inequities. The inclusive city paradigm breaks down social and physical barriers, ensuring all voices are heard, regardless of background, and all spaces are connected and accessible for all citizens. Such cities are said to be able to inspire innovation, drive economic growth, and cultivate a shared sense of belonging, with the ultimate aim to transforms urban landscapes into vibrant hubs of collective progress and understanding. The concept of inclusive cities may be difficult to achieve in practice and is not immune to criticism of its adjacency to neoliberal urban governance patterns.


Critical scholars have pointed to limitations with regards to inclusive urban (tourism) design, because of uneven power dynamics, neoliberal framings of development, reticent to engage with inequities of postcolonialism, and often a lack of transversal and systemic thinking (Horgan & Baum, 2022; Koens & Milano, 2023). At the destination level, this can in several ways leading lead to tensions between top-down and bottom-up approaches to inclusion.


In addition, while engagement of local stakeholders is an attractive idea, it often can raise expectations that can be hard to meet. It often proves difficult to identify which stakeholders to include, and participants may be left disillusioned when expectations are not met, leading to participation fatigue (Gerritsma & Stompff, 2023). The inclusive destinations that can provide multiple benefits for visitors and local communities alike remains an illusive concept.


This special track seeks to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of inclusive city practices and their impact on diverse communities. Submissions are encouraged to address a range of sub-topics, including but not limited to:

  • accessibility and universal design
  • developing inclusive 15 min cities
  • role of leisure and tourism in making a city inclusive
  • creative and/or regenerative placemaking and social inclusion
  • gender equity in the use of space, belonging
  • systemic perspectives on inclusive development of tourism and leisure
  • questions of inclusion and exclusion in new urban tourism and tourism of the everyday live
  • challenges to bottom-up development and community engagement
  • innovative inclusive citizen participation methods in urban development
  • the use of living labs for inclusive (tourism) development
  • affordable housing and equitable development
  • de-privatization of urban attraction points, heritage assets
  • depolitisation by means of inclusive practices, insurgent tactics
  • participation fatigue, managing expectations and limitations of inclusion
  • environmental justice, sustainability and the perspective of nature
  • the inclusive city of the future, and the role of technology
  • governance and policy frameworks for inclusive urban planning

We welcome contributions that offer theoretical insights, empirical research and case studies. This may be best practice, innovative strategies and practical solutions for creating inclusive cities. We also welcome papers that critically engage with the paradigm of inclusive cities, and those that offer learning experiences from cases where it proved difficult to achieve inclusivity.


By engaging with these sub-topics, presenters will have the opportunity to contribute to a rich and diverse conversation on the critical components of inclusive city development.


Publication Opportunities

The organizers of this special track will explore publication opportunities with high-impact – peer-reviewed journals.

Special Track 14
Designing and measuring leisure and tourism experiences


Track convenors
Marcel Bastiaansen – Breda University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands

Ondrej Mitas – Breda University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands


While a focus on experiences is a unifying characteristic across all leisure related fields (Bastiaansen 2019; Duerden, 2021), experience research generally remains siloed across the leisure and tourism disciplines (Duerden et al., 2015). Research is needed to build consensus regarding the conceptualization, operationalization and measurement of experiences in order to further develop experience research within leisure and tourism. The dual objective and subjective nature of experiences (Duerden et al., 2015) complicates this measurement. Holistically, measuring experiences requires qualitative and quantitative data gathered using a diverse array of approaches (Bastiaansen et al., 2019). This special track aims to provide opportunities for experience researchers to share different approaches and for practitioners to identify ways to measure the experiences they provide more effectively. In addition, the special track will allow experience designers to share design tools and principles that allow for the designing of and for extraordinary experiences.


We welcome contributions that represent multiple perspectives and approaches related to conceptualizing, operationalizing and measuring experiences. Themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Experience design
  • Experience measurement
  • Experience impact
  • Extraordinary experiences
  • Emotions and experiences
  • Designing for Transformative experiences
  • Designing for meaningful experiences

Special Track 15
Skills Development and Workforce Education in the 21st Century

Track Convenors
Rose De Vrieze-McBean – Breda University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands
Lobke Elbers – Breda University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands


The tourism, leisure, and hospitality industries have been undergoing rapid transformations. The past decade in particular has had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as more recent financial crises. Additionally, the sector is being propelled by technological advancements, shifting consumer demands, and triggering the need for establishing sustainable practices. Neunen and Scarles (2021) discuss the impact of the propagation of interactive digital platforms and solutions within tourism practice through various lenses, ranging from user-generated content and related interactive digital platforms to the advent of gamification. Rooted within these are immersive mixed-reality media (such as virtual reality [VR] and augmented reality [AR]). Furthermore, changes in tourist behaviour have developed alongside these digital advances. They also examine the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in tourism, postulating the methodological prospective that digital technology offers for tourism studies (Carlisle, Ivanov and Dijkmans, 2023).


Consequently, the advancement of digital technology compounded by new business models have transformed the modes of service delivery, and the increasing demands from consumers have created a major shift in the necessary skills of contemporary tourism workforce. Hence, there is an urgency to start upskilling and reskilling in digital, social, and green skills, for young professionals, in tourism education.


Besides, socio-cultural skills gaps have also emerged and are set to increase, despite the demand for digital skills. According to the Next Tourism Generation Alliance (NTG, 2022), social and cultural skills will continue to play a significant role on the tourism landscape. Equality, diversity, and inclusivity are increasingly on the rise within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Another branch of the SDGs relates to the Green agenda. Green skills are closely related to sustainability as they incorporate the awareness, capabilities, and attitudes required to address environmental challenges and promote sustainable practices across various industries and sectors (Rustam et al., 2020).


Strengthened by digitalisation, socio-cultural changes in consumer behaviour especially with regard to adopting environmental practices, the skills necessary to fill the changing dynamics of tourism jobs have diversified. Consequently, many professionals in the tourism industry seem to have a gap in the necessary skills – digital, socio-cultural, and green – to keep abreast of these transformations (Cedefop, 2020). These skills gaps may obstruct the sector’s capacity to demonstratively leverage technology to enhance customer experience and operate efficiently.


This special track aims to explore the various dimensions of skills development, skills gaps in tourism, student and workforce education, and effective reskilling and upskilling strategies that can equip tourism professionals for the demands of the 21st century. We invite scholars, industry professionals, and policymakers to submit their research papers, case studies, and practical insights to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of skills gaps in tourism and the effective strategies to reskill and upskill professionals for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.


Possible Areas of Exploration

  • Identifying skills gap in tourism: challenges in the 21st century
  • Sustainable employment: how to achieve living and working conditions that support employees in engaging and remaining in work throughout an extended working life. …that promote lifelong learning
  • Trends, challenges, and implications of skills gap deficiencies in contemporary tourism research
  • Human capital investment in the tourism industry: promoting social inclusion and inequality reduction
  • Recognising Micro-credentials and Badging in the changing job market
  • Human capital, social inclusion, and equality: meeting the SDGs of the 21st century
  • 21st century workforce preparedness: addressing education and training provisions
  • Upskilling for sustainable tourism: enhancing environmental and social awareness
  • Technologies and trends shaping work in the tourism and hospitality industries
  • Collaborative approaches to skills development in tourism and stimulating industry-academia partnerships
  • Soft-skills development in tourism for enhancing customer service
  • Lifelong learning and continuous professional development in tourism
  • Evaluation and assessment of reskilling and upskilling programs in tourism

Theoretical perspectives

  1. Theoretical frameworks for understanding skills gaps in the tourism industry: Exploring existing theories and models from fields such as human resource management, education, and organizational behavior to provide a theoretical foundation for understanding skills gaps in tourism.
  2. The role of skills development in enhancing tourism competitiveness: Analyzing theories that highlight the relationship between skills development, innovation, and competitiveness in the tourism industry.
  3. Socio-cultural perspectives on skills gaps in tourism: Examining the social and cultural factors that contribute to skills gaps in the tourism workforce, such as gender dynamics, migration, and cultural values.

Methodological perspectives

  1. Assessing skills gaps in the tourism industry: Exploring different approaches and methodologies for identifying and measuring skills levels and gaps, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, or data analytics.
  2. Comparative analysis of skills development programs: Conducting comparative studies to evaluate the effectiveness of different skills development programs and initiatives in the tourism industry across different regions or countries.
  3. Longitudinal studies on skills gaps: Conducting longitudinal research to track and analyze the changes in skills gaps over time, considering factors such as technological advancements, policy interventions, and industry shifts.
  4. Mixed-methods research on skills development: Employing a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods to gain a holistic understanding of skills development in the tourism industry, including exploring individual and organizational perspectives.

Conceptualising future skills for the tourism industry

  1. Identifying emerging skills for the future of tourism: Exploring the anticipated skills needed in the future tourism industry, considering factors such as technological advancements, sustainability, and changing consumer demands.
  2. Future-oriented skills development strategies: Investigating innovative approaches to skills development that can anticipate and address future skills gaps in the tourism industry, such as anticipatory training, scenario planning, or agile skill development frameworks.


Carlisle, S., Ivanov, S. and Dijkmans, C. (2023), “The digital skills divide: evidence from the European tourism industry”, Journal of Tourism Futures, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 240-266.

Cedefop, (2020).

Faruk Seyitoğlu, Carlos Costa, Mariana Martins & Ana Maria Malta (2023) The future of tourism and hospitality labour: challenges, requirements, trends, skills and the impact of technology, Current Issues in Tourism, DOI: 10.1080/13683500.2023.2286291

Felten, E. W., Raj, M., & Seamans, R. (2019). The occupational impact of artificial intelligence: Labor, skills, and polarization. NYU Stern School of Business.

Rustam, A., Ying Wang., Hashim Zameer. (2020). Environmental awareness, firm sustainability exposure and green consumption behaviours. ScienceDirect. Elsevier.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (n.d.).
UNWTO (2015). [Retrieved November 27, 2023].

Van Nuenen, T., & Scarles, C. (2021). Advancements in technology and digital media in tourism. Tourist Studies, 21(1), 119-132.

Special Track 16 – Learning about the Future by Looking at our Pasts: Heritage Tourism and Education by 2030
ATLAS SIG Heritage Tourism and Education


Track Convenors
Chin-Ee Ong – Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM), China
Sharif Shams Imon – Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM), China

This special track is concerned with the role(s) of heritage education in our near future and what heritage educators and heritage tourism can do to help reduce poverty, social stratification and climate injustice.


We are interested in conceptualisations and case studies that respond to the following questions: What can our diverse pasts inform us about what our collective future hold? Can heritage tourism education inform and guide the world towards more socially and environmentally just practices and actions?


More specifically, we are interested in the following and more:


  • Production and consumption of heritage, tourism and heritage tourism knowledge
  • Social justice, neo-liberalism, power-knowledge, politics of representation in heritage education content
  • ‘Buzzwords’ and heritage tourism education: sustainability, resilience, pro-poor, community-based…
  • Quality assurance and control, effective communication, pedagogic techniques, technologies and paradigms in academic and professional heritage tourism education
  • Heritage tourism programmes in degree granting institutions
  • Site manager training for UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Tour(ist) guide and heritage interpreter training
  • The role of heritage education in tourism communities

Publication Opportunities
The organisers of this session will explore publication opportunities with high-impact journals and will make sure that the session will be followed up through active engagement of the participants in the dedicated SIG and its activities.

Special Track 17
SIG Dark Tourism


Track Convenor
Konstantina Zerva – University of Girona, Spain


In the broader tourism industry, dark tourism plays a significant and evolving role, reflecting a growing interest in exploring historical, cultural, and human aspects often associated with darker and more somber narratives. Its connection with current debates and preoccupations such as responsible tourism, artificial intelligence, and tourism behavior provides a greater opportunity for academic discussion.

As part of this Special Track on Dark Tourism, we are pleased to resume the debate on the definition, influences, and evolution of this tourism typology as a human need and desire within the tourism industry. Contributions can include theoretical, methodological, and empirical advances that explore the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in dark tourism.

The conference track welcomes submissions on the following topics, but are not limited to:

  • Community perspectives and involvement in dark sites
  • The role of dark tourism within the context of recent crises and disaster
  • Therapeutic aspects of dark tourism in terms of healing, reconciliation, and personal reflection for visitors
  • The impact of dark tourism in shaping collective cultural memory
  • Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and dark tourism

Special Track 18
SIG Systems Thinking in Tourism

Track Convenors

Kyriaki Glyptou – Leeds Beckett University, UK
Rodolfo Baggio – Bocconi University, Italy


The contemporary reality of economy, society and the ecosystem are permeated by unprecedented levels of complexity and uncertainty. Navigating these challenges requires innovative transitions towards a perceptual, operational and managerial mindset that considers dynamic system element interconnectedness and emphasises system adaptability, resilience and collaboration. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development only emphasises the necessity for holistic system approaches through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the associated performance indicators (Glyptou, 2022).


In conceptualising tourism as an open system, its complex nature is best studied through the interpretive lens of in between and across system relationships (context and connections), perspectives (stakeholder interests), and boundaries (scope and scale) that drive change management and decision making through feedback loops (Baggio, 2008; Hall, Prayag & Amore, 2017). Systems Thinking allows for the recognition of dynamic patterns that dictate a tourism system behaviour and supports adaptive strategies that foster its resilience and long-term sustainability (Meadows, 2008). Applying systems thinking in tourism management, decision making, and policy allows the simultaneous consideration of the multi-faceted and multi-dimensional aspects of tourism along the multiple stakeholders’ interests (Moscardo, 2021). More importantly it extends to the anticipation of both intended and unintended implications of decisions, and the recognition of the long-term impacts of short-term actions.


This Special Track aims to host theoretical and methodological advancements, and policy, managerial and operational applications of systems thinking in tourism.


We invite researchers to submit abstracts addressing, but not limited to, the following themes:

  • Conceptualisation of the Tourism System along the SDGs and 2030 Agenda
  • Tourism System Feedback Loops and Boundaries
  • Tourism Decision Making under uncertainty
  • Tourism Destination Governance
  • Tourism Policy Support in times of adversity
  • Dynamic Tourism System Behaviour
  • The complexity of tourism system
  • Methodological advancements in complex tourism system thinking
  • Methodological advancements in impact assessment along the SDGs
  • Modelling and Simulations for Assessing Impacts
  • Tourism System Resilience
  • Tourism System Change Management
  • Tourism System Adaptation & Transformation Capacity
  • System Thinking application in other disciplines (e.g. Leisure)

Discussion Focus
The session aims to bring together academic and institutional perspectives on the conceptualisation and operationalisation of systems thinking in tourism, and to explore its application in key themes of concern like climate change, knowledge transfer, inequality and poverty alleviation.


Publication Opportunities
The organisers will explore publication opportunities with high-impact journals and will make sure that the session will be followed up through active engagement of the participants in the dedicated SIG and its activities.



Baggio, R. (2008). Symptoms of complexity in a tourism system. Tourism Analysis, 13(1), 1-20.

Glyptou, K. (2022). Operationalising tourism sustainability at the destination level: a systems thinking approach along the SDGs. Tourism Planning & Development, 1-27.

Hall, C. M., Prayag, G., & Amore, A. (2017). Tourism and resilience: Individual, organisational and destination perspectives (Vol. 5). Channel View Publications.

Meadows, D. H. (2008). Thinking in systems: A primer. Chelsea Green Publishing.

Moscardo, G. (2021). Using systems thinking to improve tourism and hospitality research quality and relevance: a critical review and conceptual analysis. Tourism and Hospitality, 2(1), 153-172.

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