For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser. event_2020_prague
| Login |    

ATLAS annual conference 2020
8-11 September 2020, Prague, Czech Republic

Tourism as a driver of regional development and collaboration

The deadline for submitting abstracts has been extended to April 30, 2020

Update March 11th 2020

We are aware that planning for future events, such as the ATLAS Annual Conference, is increasing uncertain and difficult as countries and governments work to contain the spread of coronavirus. At present, we are still planning to host our Annual Conference in Prague in September. We are working closely with the organisers of the conference in Prague and heeding advice from relevant government authorities to ensure that the event will be safe for all delegates.  We expect that abstract submission and acceptance timelines will change and be more fluid as the extent of the virus becomes clear and ask for your patience and support. We will regularly update the conference website as more information becomes available. We remain optimistic that the conference will go ahead in September and welcome suggestions of how we might find alternatives to support those who cannot attend in person. 



Tourism as a driver of regional development and collaboration

Tourism is still consistently viewed as being able to alleviate and rejuvenate regions that are facing economic and social difficulties. This includes the many rural and peripheral regions that have been, and remain, in decline. Tourism and its development are said to create regional synergy effects, generating economic, social and cultural benefits for destinations. The European Union, for example, has launched several programmes (including the European Regional development Fund and the European Social Fund) with the goal of stimulating growth and employment in peripheral areas. These programmes often support tourism development projects.

However, realizing these regional development impacts through tourism is often problematic because of the uneven distribution of impacts in space, among stakeholders, and between economic, ecological and socio-cultural domains. Moreover, the establishment of policy frameworks and a culture of collaboration between tourism and non-tourism actors is often required and, practically speaking, this is often easier said than done.
The aim of this conference is to better understand the role of tourism development practices in the development of regions, including rural, peripheral and urban areas.


Keynote speakers

Anya Niewierra

Anya Niewierra (1964, Kerkrade NL) is General Director of Visit South Limburgs (Stichting VVV Zuid-Limburg) since 1993. This Destination Management Organization is a foundation with only 35% governmental participation on a turnover of € 6.000.000. The organization is responsible for the marketing, product development, route management, market research, event organization and of course information supply over web, app and 35 information offices. Furthermore she holds various supervisory board roles with organizations related to tourism, culture or landscape development. Between 2010 and 2012 Anya was the first president of the EDEN Association. Since 2014 she is member of the board of Necstour. Anya Niewierra is also a business woman, as she is the owner of De Witte Lelie. This company runs a small 4-star hotel in South Limburg and rents holiday homes in South of France. In her free time Anya Niewierra writes thrillers, see More details on LinkedIn:


Carina Ren

Carina Ren is an ethnologist and Associate professor at Aalborg University, Denmark. Carina researches how tourism interferes with other fields of the social through cultural innovation and explores the different practices and processes through which tourism is developed, organized and valued. Geographically, her research is situated in the Nordic Arctic and Greenland and most often takes place in research collaborations with tourism organizations and industry, communities and students. She is the co-editor of book such as Tourism Encounters and Controversies. Ontological Politics of Tourism Development (2015), Co-Creating Tourism research (2017), Theories of Practice in Tourism (2018) and recently Collaborative Research Methods in the Arctic (2020).


Mike Robinson

Mike Robinson is full Professor of Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham, UK and Director of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage – a longstanding, unique partnership with the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site and Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust - Europe’s largest independent museum. He was previously Founder and Director of the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change. He remains Editor of the Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, the Channel View book series of Tourism and Cultural Change and the Routledge Series Heritage, Tourism and Communities. For 30 years Mike's work has focused upon the relations between heritage, tourism, culture and how these realms intersect. Publications relate to World Heritage and Tourism, Heritage and Popular Culture, the Concept of Tradition, and Emotion in Tourism. He is an advisor to the UNESCO World Heritage Programme in Sustainable Tourism and to the UK’s National Commission for UNESCO. He was a Government appointed member of the UK’s Expert Panel to determine the UK’s Tentative List for World Heritage. Mike has worked on heritage and tourism related projects in over 40 countries with UNESCO, European Commission, various State Agencies, NGOs and has long worked on researching, developing and evaluating Cultural Routes and itineraries including those of the Council of Europe.


Conference themes

We invite papers focussing on (but not limited to) the following themes:

Governance, policy and planning

  • Institutional governance mechanisms for effective tourism-related policies
  • Tourism policies and planning for regional development
  • New public management and governance strategies
  • Resident’s perceptions and participation in regional tourism development
  • Infrastructure, transport and tourism

Networks and collaboration

  • Collaborative approaches to tourism development
  • Co-creation and innovation for tourism development
  • Tourism, ICT and regional development
  • Smart communities, innovation and tourism development
  • Entrepreneurship, networks and regional tourism development

Sustainable regional development

  • Enablers and barriers of tourism development in regions
  • Sustainable tourism as a driving force of job creation and economic growth
  • Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Tourism carbon footprints and impacts
  • Strategy development for sustainable tourism development

Culture and heritage

  • Cultural and heritage tourism in regional development
  • The role of creativity and the creative industries in regional development
  • Intangible cultural heritage as a driver for regional development
  • Developing heritage in the periphery
  • Sports, events and/or leisure as gateways to culture

Environment, regional development and tourism

  • The role of tourism in promoting nature in the periphery
  • Environmental conservation as a tool for development
  • Balancing ecological imperatives and tourism growth
  • Flora and fauna as more-than-representational or more-than-human in tourism development
  • Challenges with spaces of nature and tourism development 


Call for special tracks

The conference organizers invite proposals for organizing special tracks during the conference and encourage ATLAS Special Interest Groups and Chapters to plan meetings and workshops within or alongside the conference programme. Please contact before March 31th 2020 if you have any plans to organize a SIG meeting, a project meeting or a special track during this conference.



Special track 1


Special track 1

Scenario planning workshop on “Tourism as a driver of regional development and collaboration”

Track convenor
Albert Postma – Stenden University, Netherlands  (
Martin Groters – Stenden University, Netherlands

During a special track at the annual ATLAS conference in Prague the European Tourism Futures Institute @ NHL Stenden University ( will provide a scenario planning workshop on the theme of the conference. The aim of the session will be to bring together the expertise of various delegates on “tourism as a driver for regional development and collaboration” and to jointly develop four different scenarios of how tourism could impact upon regional development in 2030. Such scenarios could guide authorities to establish policy frameworks.

The session will start with a short introduction to strategic foresight & scenario planning and its relevance for policy and planning in tourism. Next, together we will map the force field for the next decade, identify driving forces of change and their range of plausible outcomes, highlight the key uncertainties, and finally develop a scenario framework. This will take about three hours. This is too short to develop fully fleshed out scenarios and their implications for the industry. So, based on the outcomes of the session this will be done afterwards by ETFI. Hopefully, this could lead to a joint publication with all participants.

The number of participants is limited to 15. Ideally, the group of participants is composed of representatives from knowledge institutions and the industry, with relevant expertise to contribute, and with an open mind.

This track is different than the other tracks. We do not expect you to present your research. The purpose is to work together and develop a scenario framework. Since we are looking for a motivated group of max 15 delegates we would like to know you motivation for your participation in this workshop. Please indicate this by using the abstract submission form at THE ABSTRACT SUBMISSION FORM

Participation is only possible for delegates of the ATLAS annual conference.
People who did submit their view and did register as a conference delegate will receive a pro forma a few weeks before the conference to do some preparatory thinking.



Special track 2


Special track 2

The learning potential of tourism? Exploring space, place and mobilities of tourism-as- education
ATLAS SIG Space, Place, and Mobilities in Tourism

Track convenors
Chiara Rabbiosi - University of Padova (
Alessia Mariotti - University of Bologna (
Technical coordinators: Antonio Paolo Russo and Fiammetta Brandajs - University Rovira i Virgili, Spain

This special track, organised under the aegis of the ‘Space, Place and Mobilities in Tourism’ SIG, invites contributions which present conceptual, methodological and empirical advances in research on tourism as a significant tool of education ‘on the move’, its conceptual and factual underpinnings, and its current or potential effects with specific reference to regional development. In fact, we consider that there is a desperate need to raise awareness among a large arena of actors (including tourists, professionals, institutions, etc.) on how their practices impact on global environmental, societal and political challenges.

In line with the spirit of the SIG ‘Space, Place and Mobilities in Tourism’ we are particularly keen in welcoming papers focussing on the politics of tourism-as-education mobilities, its conceptual and factual underpinnings, and its current or potential effects, shaping the ways in which places become and adapt to being educational tourist destinations. It is thus a strongly inter-disciplinary session situated at the crossroads of tourism studies, cultural policy and education welcoming a variety of methodological as well as theoretical approaches.

In particular, we are interested in analyzing and questioning: the learning potential of tourist practices, in particular as they engage with cultural heritage and with geographical education ‘on the move’; the challenges that mobility poses to educational experiences that use tourism as a tool to discover, interact with, and co-create cultural heritage in specific places; the downscaling of a variety of programmes from the international to the local level, from the universal principles of charts and declarations to their implementation in places’ ordinary life; spatial ideologies underpinning policies, practices and representations of tourism-as-education.

We thus particularly invite papers that consider the entanglements of these levels through a mobility approach. We thus welcome high-quality abstracts on a variety of themes, including:

  • Schools’ and educational tourism and regional development
  • Critical engagements between mobility and geographical or heritage education
  • Non formal education methodologies ‘on the move’
  • Tourism-as-education and changes in consumption habits and/or working conditions in different times and spaces
  • The role of international charters and transnational programmes addressing tourism-as-education
  • The cultural politics and/or the political economy of tourism-as-education

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’ SIG.

All abstracts will be subject to double-blind review by the track convenors and members of the scientific committee of the ATLAS annual conference. Acceptance of a submission will be based on: theoretical and empirical significance; methodological soundness; relevance to the theme of the conference and logical clarity. The official language of the conference is English. Abstracts should be submitted via the ATLAS website using the ABSTRACT SUBMISSION FORM.



Special track 3


Special track 3

New frontiers in volunteer tourism research
ATLAS SIG Volunteer Tourism

Track convenors
Elisa Burrai, Leeds Beckett University, UK (
Davide Sterchele, Leeds Beckett University, UK (

Volunteer tourism has become a well-established field of academic enquiry. Several studies have analysed the role of volunteer tourism as a driver of personal development of volunteers, cross-cultural collaboration and understanding between hosts and guests, improved living conditions for local people and increased involvement of tourists in social movements and activism. On the other hand, in the past decade a more critical scholarship has also considered volunteer tourism as a form of neo-colonialism, since the interests and motivations of western tourists tend to outweigh the needs and desires of local residents. To date, the majority of studies have focused on the impacts of volunteer tourism, motivations of tourists, perceptions of residents, and characteristics of organisations. However, emerging areas and topics offer new opportunities to investigate volunteer tourism in relation to timely issues such as the role of social media, social and environmental sustainability, power relations, segmentation of the industry, contradictions and paradoxes.

Although much theoretical progress within the literature on volunteer tourism has been made, we advocate for additional innovative, critical, multi- and inter-disciplinary theoretical and methodological contributions to the field (Wearing and McGehee, 2013). We also acknowledge the importance of ‘going beyond’ the current volunteer tourism scholarship to create a wider-ranging and more inclusive research agenda (Smith and Holmes, 2009, p. 403). This involves exploring less obvious combinations between tourism and volunteering (Brennan, 2014; Holmes et al 2018; Jaeger & Olsen 2017; Stainton 2018), whose investigation enables the critical rethinking of volunteer tourism conceptualisations that have become mainstream and are currently taken for granted (Uriely et al 2003).

Therefore, in this session we aim to bring together a range of abstracts that examine volunteer tourism from a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives. 

Hence, we invite submissions that may address, but are not be limited to, the following areas:

  • Tourist encounters bounded in volunteer tourism experiences;
  • The political ethics of volunteer tourism;
  • Stakeholders’ perceptions of volunteer tourism;
  • Links between volunteer tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Leisure-work boundaries within volunteer tourism;
  • Links between event volunteering and tourism volunteering;
  • Ethics and morality in volunteer tourism;
  • Link between responsibility and volunteering in events and tourism;
  • The role and practices of the third sector in destinations;
  • Ambiguities and paradoxes of volunteer tourism;
  • New conceptual frameworks and methodologies for the study of volunteer tourism;
  • Reflexivity and positionality in volunteer tourism research.

Abstracts of between 350-500 words (with title no longer than 12 words) should be submitted to ATLAS before March 15th 2020. All abstracts will be subject to double-blind review by members of the scientific committee. Acceptance of a submission will be based on: theoretical and empirical significance; methodological soundness and logical clarity. The official language of the conference is English. Authors should indicate that they are submitting to the Volunteer Tourism Special Track on the ABSTRACT SUBMISSION FORM. Accepted abstracts will be allocated a slot within the conference track, and presenters must register for the ATLAS conference.


Brennan, C. (2014). Reexamining a" working holiday": An autoethnography, Turizam: međunarodni znanstveno-stručni časopis, 62(3), pp.277-292.

Holmes, K., Nichols, G. and Ralston, R. (2018). It's a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience and Opportunity—Deal with it! Volunteer Perceptions of the Management of the Volunteer Experience at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Event Management, 22(3), pp.389-403.

Jæger, K. and Olsen, K. (2017). On commodification: volunteer experiences in festivals, Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 15(5), pp.407-421.

Stainton, H. (2018). TEFL tourism: The tourist who teaches, Tourism Geographies, 20(1), pp.127-143.

Uriely, N., Reichel, A. and Ron, A. (2003). Volunteering in tourism: Additional thinking. Tourism Recreation Research, 28(3), pp.57-62.

Wearing, S. and McGehee, N.G. (2013). Volunteer tourism: A review. Tourism management, 38, pp.120-130.e.



Special track 4


Special track 4

Visual methods in tourism research

Track Convenors

Nika Balomenou - University of Hertfordshire, UK (
Brian Garrod – Swansea University, UK (

Tourism and photography have been intimately linked almost since the camera was first invented. Tourism researchers have been slow, however, to make use of photographs and other visuals (such as videos, postcards, paintings, etc) as data. One of the main reasons for this is that social scientists have tended to view visuals as tainted media: artefacts that are fundamentally flawed as a source of reliable or valid data.
Over the last 30 years, however, visuals have gradually become more accepted as valid objects of enquiry. Scholars are gradually establishing a legitimacy in understanding photographs and videos as something more than transient memories of holiday experiences. They are also developing methods of analysis that are capable of reliably unlocking the knowledge that visuals hold. As such, there is now a much greater acceptance of using visuals as data. What remains is for that potential to be more fully exploited.
We would like to invite colleagues whose interests lie within the area of visual methods in tourism, to submit papers that fall within the following categories:

  • Visuals as data: conceptual and empirical issues
  • Visual data and ethics in tourism research
  • Visuals as catalysts of socio-political change
  • Visuals and Sense of place
  • Visuals in researching tourism experiences
  • Methodological implications of using visuals

Abstracts of between 350-500 words (with title no longer than 12 words) should be submitted to ATLAS before March 15th 2020. All abstracts will be subject to double-blind review by members of the scientific committee. Acceptance of a submission will be based on: theoretical and empirical significance; methodological soundness and logical clarity. The official language of the conference is English. Authors should indicate that they are submitting to the Volunteer Tourism Special Track at the ABSTRACT SUBMISSION FORM. Accepted abstracts will be allocated a slot within the conference track, and presenters must register for the ATLAS conference.



Abstract submission

All abstracts will be subject to double-blind review by members of the scientific committee. Acceptance of a submission will be based on: theoretical and empirical significance; methodological soundness; relevance to the theme of the conference and logical clarity. The official language of the conference is English.

Abstracts should be submitted to ATLAS by using this form before April 30th 2020.

Abstracts should have between 350-500 words. The title should be no more than 12 words. Authors should also indicate which conference topic their proposed paper relates to.



Important dates

Abstract submission : March 15th, 2020
April 30th, 2020
Notification of acceptance : April 15th, 2020
May 15th, 2020
Extended abstract submission : May 15th, 2020
June 15th, 2020
Conference : September 8-11th, 2020
Full paper submission : November 15th, 2020


Publication details

All abstracts (max 500 words) and extended abstract/working papers (max 2000 words) will be published in the abstract book. This abstract book (with ISBN) will be sent to all registered participants before the conference, in PDF format.

Submission date for the extended abstracts / working papers (max 2000 words) is June 15th 2020 and should be submitted to ATLAS in MS WORD by e-mail attachment to

Delegates are welcome to submit their full papers AFTER the conference.

  • The Scientific Committee are considering different ways to publish the papers in a book or a journal, but there are no concrete plans yet.
  • Submitted papers will be considered for publication in the ATLAS Tourism and Leisure Review - The ATLAS Review gives ATLAS members and participants of the ATLAS conference and meeting participants a platform to publish the papers they have presented. The editing will be carried out by an editorial board / field editors.
  • Authors are also free to explore other possibilities for publishing their papers.



Scientific committee

  • Willem Coetzee – University of Otago, New Zealand
  • René van der Duim – Wageningen University, Netherlands
  • Tara Duncan – Dalarna University, Sweden
  • Ana Goytia Prat – University of Deusto, Spain
  • Kevin Hannam – City University of Macau, China
  • Camelia M. Gheorghe - Romanian-American University, Romania
  • Marek Jetmar – The College of Regional Development and Banking Institute – AMBIS, Czech Republic
  • Florin Nechita – Romania Transylvania University, Romania
  • Jiří Ježek – The College of Regional Development and Banking Institute – AMBIS, Czech Republic
  • Alžbeta Kiralova – The College of Regional Development and Banking Institute – AMBIS, Czech Republic
  • Todor Markovic – University of Novi Sad, Serbia.
  • Carina Ren – Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Greg Richards – Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands
  • Antonio Paolo Russo – University Rovira i Virgili, Spain
  • Milan J. Půček – The College of Regional Development and Banking Institute – AMBIS, Czech Republic
  • Anna Vaňová – Matej Bel University, Slovakia


Conference packages

Packages: ATLAS members Non-Members
  • Conference Materials
  • Welcome reception
  • Coffee breaks
  • Lunches
  • Conference dinner
€ 315
€ 410
Doctoral students
Conference only
  • Conference Materials
  • Welcome reception
  • Coffee breaks
  • Lunches
€ 185
€ 235

Conference dinner for students
or accompanying persons

€ 80
€ 80
Accompanying persons
full caterings
  • Welcome reception
  • Lunches
  • Conference dinner
€ 165
€ 165



Cancellation policy

If written cancellation is received before August 24th 2020, a refund of all meeting fees will be made, minus an administration fee of € 50. No refund will be possible after August 24th 2020, but substitute delegates can be nominated.


Conference venue

Lindnerova 575/1
180 00 Praha 8 - Libeň



Recommended accommodation:

Hotel Čechie Praha 4*

Wellness Hotel Step 4*

Hotel Duo 4*

All hotels are situated close to the metro or tram station.



Impression of Prague:

Please note: The currency in the Czech Republic is the Czech crown (česká koruna). There are ATMs at the airport. It is not possible to pay by Euros everywhere just in the big shopping centers. Usually, you will get the change in the Czech crowns (1 Euro = cca 25 CZK but it is changing every day).

Please find instructions on how to arrive at the recommended hotels from the Airport and the Main trainstation HERE.



  • Contact
    Please contact: e-mail
  • Registration
    Submit this form to register for the conference.
  • Abstract submission form
    Submit this form to submit an abstract for the conference.


Association for Tourism and Leisure Education
Copyright © 1997 - 2020  | All rights reserved |  Revised: 03/17/2020  [333]