Business Tourism


ATLAS Special Interest Group
Business Tourism

The Coordinator of this SIG is:

Rob Davidson

MICE Knowledge

United Kinddom

The ATLAS SIG Business Tourism has been active since 2004. Our members are academics who are teaching and researching subjects such as conference management, venue and destination management, business events, or business tourism destination marketing. We also count among our members a number of business tourism practitioners with a professional interest in research in this domain. The Business Tourism SIG acts as a useful forum for the sharing of information and best practice in teaching and researching these subjects. Much of this sharing takes place during our annual Business Tourism Conference which throughout the years since the inception of our SIG has become the most important international annual academic forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge in this field. The conference takes place each year in a university represented by one or more of our members, and all members are free to propose their facility as a venue for forthcoming conferences. We welcome business tourism industry professionals to participate in this event as speakers or observers, and one day or half-day of the conference is usually hosted by a major conference venue in the city in which the host university is located. Presentations from the conference may be offered for publication in specialist journals such as the Journal of Convention and Event Tourism. In the past, conference papers have also been published in special editions of the ATLAS Advances in Business Tourism Research series.


If you want to contact the SIG coordinator, please fill in the form HERE

If you want to join this SIG, please fill in the form HERE


Annual review of activities 2021

The SIG Business Tourism focuses its activities mainly around the annual conferences. We planned for a conference to be held in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands in May 2020. Due to the pandemic situation, no on-site conference could be organized, instead we set up plans for a fully virtual conference and the planning team consisted of a student team from NHL Stenden and two colleagues, Amber Herrewijn and Ilse Hooiveld. The hosting university did an amazing job and set up a studio on the Campus in Leeuwarden and the SIG coordinator Monika Birkle joined from another studio in Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences in Porvoo, Finland. The conference was arranged on a professional platform and broadcasted from a fully equipped studio, giving the conference delegates a memorable and enjoyable on-line conference experience.


The pandemic situation has disrupted the meeting industry with virtual and hybrid formats, the “New Normal” of business tourism was the key theme for the conference held in January 2021. Both keynotes, by BernadettePapp – Researcher at European Tourism Futures Institute: Agility, resilience and the ability to bounce forward and by Dr. Stefan Hartman – Head of Department at European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI), NHL Stenden University: Doing business in a dynamic world (focus: business resilience) and dealing with change with attention for COVID-19 touched upon future challenges that also universities must pay attention to. At the virtual conference 8 papers were presented and the conference attracted around 40 participants. The student team from Leeuwarden organized refreshing games and quizzes, and we could even take part in a bingo game, where the idea was to spot flaws and mistakes at online meetings and conferences.


This conference and learning experience led to discussions about what and how we teach tourism and event students and what are the skills and competences needed. How to futureproof our educational offering? These reflections were developed and shared and led to an initiative of a special interest group Tourism and Event Education, which will be launched at the annual conference in September 2021.

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