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Bridging Cultures through Travel:
From theory to practice
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
14-15 June 2023

Conference by CultSense Project
ATLAS SIG Cultural Tourism


The deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 February 2023



Please find here the conference text also in Portuguese and in Spanish:



How can travel encourage cultural sensitivity? In a post-pandemic world, travel and tourism have been regaining popularity. With this regained popularity comes a renewed pressure on local hosts and sites because of increasing visiting numbers. Can cultural sensitivity be a tool to mitigate tensions between hosts and visitors? For the last two years, the CultSense project (CultSense – Sensitizing Young Travellers for Local cultures, has focused on addressing this question. In this conference, a joint venture of CultSense and the ATLAS Special Interest Group on Cultural Tourism,  we will further explore ways to bridge cultures via travel. Can cultural sensitivity be a competence that (tourism) education can work with? How can travel impact students and visitors’ knowledge and skills? In which ways can touristic experiences function as a means to bridge cultures? We are also interested in exploring how (local) cultural and artistic expressions contribute to, and benefit from culturally sensitive practices. We invite participants to submit their abstract in one of four streams:

  1. Educational Experiences
  2. Academic Research
  3. Cases
  4. Posters


Keynote speakers

Emily Höckert

Dr Emily Höckert is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lapland, Finland. Her research cultivates relational ways of being, imagining, knowing, and acting in tourism settings. She approaches the questions of cultural sensitivity and hospitality at the crossroads of hermeneutic phenomenology and postcolonial philosophy, asking, for instance, how different kinds of hosts and guests welcome and take care of each other. Between 2019-2021, Emily worked as part of ARCTISEN project team that explored the questions of cultural sensitivity in Arctic tourism settings and developed toolkits and online courses for enhancing sensitive orientation to otherness. She is also a member of “Intra-living in the Anthropocene” and “Sustainable Naturecultures and Multispecies Future” research communities that both examine the interaction between northern areas, people and the environment.


Wil Munsters

Wil Munsters is emeritus professor of Tourism and Culture at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. He has published a monograph on cultural tourism as well as tourism studies focusing on built heritage, museums, events, gastronomy, hospitality, cultural destinations, market development, sustainability, and research models. He has also co-edited books on cultural tourism research methodology and on anthropology as a driver for tourism research. As a member of ATLAS (Association for Tourism and Leisure Education and Research), he was involved in the international Cultural Tourism Research Project from 1994 to 2022.

Tourism as a Binding Agent between Cultures: Intercultural Pitfalls and Educational Challenges

The role that tourism can play in bridging gaps between cultures has to be considered in the broader perspective of the discussion on the benefits and the disadvantages of tourism for culture. What may be good for tourism is not necessarily good for culture and vice versa. An illustrative case of the negative impact of cultural tourism is provided by the abuse of animals at exotic destinations to satisfy the needs of a special type of Western travellers, who are driven by cultural omnivorousness and the desire to distinguish themselves from the mass. In order to avoid the pitfall of Western ethnocentrism ending up in accusations of indigenous barbarism stimulated by the experience hunger of foreign visitors, this controversial form of animal tourism needs to be reflected on from an intercultural point of view, which helps to understand that non-Western local communities have different attitudes towards animals and their wellbeing. In addition, one should realize that the same kind of tourism also exists in Western cultural communities. So cultural relativism would be appropriate. Sustainable solutions for the pitfalls of intercultural tourism must be sought in raising of tourist’s awareness by means of information, education and communication. To achieve this goal, it is essential that tourism and hospitality professionals possess the required intercultural competence, i.e. the knowledge, skills and attitude that enable them to act as qualified mediators between guests and hosts from different cultural backgrounds. How this challenge is being faced at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences can be demonstrated by the contributions of the research centre Global Minds @ Work to the development of young professionals’ global competence through innovative applied research and education.


Conference themes

We invite the submission of papers, cases and posters, which can relate to the following sub-themes including (but not limited to):

1.    Cultural sensitivity and travelling

  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Intangible cultural experiences
  • Social media for cultural sensitivity
  • Mobile Cultures  
  • Empathy and emotions in travel
  • Multiple Belongings
  • Tourism encounters and emotions
  • Popular cultural expressions (music, festivals, dance, etc.)
  • Tangible and intangible heritage
  • Mindful tourism

2.    Student experiences and (intercultural) tourism education

  • Intercultural education and communication
  • Bridging cultures through education
  • Enabling change makers and ambassadors for change
  • Erasmus / international exchanges

3.    Bridging cultures

  • Art and gastronomy as a bridge for cultures
  • Cultural Institutions and bridging cultures
  • Spirituality for Bridging (religious) cultures
  • Diversity and Inclusivity
  • (Destination) Marketing, Place Branding as a bridge between cultures


Abstract submission

The deadline for submitting abstracts is 15 February 2023

The main language of the conference will be English, but to encourage linguistic diversity we will also be welcoming panels in other languages. If you want to organize a panel in language other than English, please do get in touch with us at Within the conference, we will host student panels as well as a video competition. Details will be made available on the CultSense website soon!

Abstracts (200-250 words) should be submitted until the 15 February 2023. Abstract submission will be open from October 2022.

You can submit the following types of presentation:

  1. Educational Experiences
  2. Academic Research
  3. Cases
  4. Posters


Please note that we are exploring the possibility of a special issue and a book with reputed publishers.



Important dates

Abstract submission : February 15th, 2023
Notification of acceptance : March 15th, 2023
Conference : June 14-15th, 2023
Full paper submission : August 15th, 2023


Organising committee

  • Lénia Marques
  • Siri Driessen
  • Greg Richards
  • Maria del Pilar Leal Londoño
  • Fernanda Rodríguez




Conference packages

Packages: ATLAS members Non-Members
  • Coffee breaks on Wednesday and Thursday
  • Lunches on Wednesday and Thursday
€ 120
€ 160

Optional Dinner on Wednesday 14 June

€ 50
€ 50


Cancellation policy

If written cancellation is received before June 1st 2023, a refund of all meeting fees will be made, minus an administration fee of € 50. No refund will be possible after June 1st 2023, but substitute delegates can be nominated.



Hotels in Rotterdam

The conference will be in the Woudestein Campus of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, which is accessible by bike, tram and metro. The hotels below are from different ranges and prices. Other areas with good public transport options are the district of Delfshaven in Rotterdam, or Schiedam. We recommend booking as soon as you can.

Citizen M

Ibis Hotel City Centre Rotterdam

Bilderberg Parkhotel

Novotel Rotterdam Brainpark
Next to the University campus, a bit further from the centre

Hotel New York
For a stay in the former office building of the historic Holland America Lines

Hotel Savoy Rotterdam

Hotel Breitner

Easy Hotel Rotterdam Center



  • Contact
    Please contact:
  • Registration
    Submit this form to register for the conference.REGISTRATION WILL BE OPEN IN FEBRUARY 2023.
  • Abstract submission form
    Submit this form to submit an abstract for the conference. 


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