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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 1 March 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


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.

Cultural Sensitivity in Arctic Tourism  

How might the notion of cultural sensitivity shape tourism encounters? The aim of my talk is to explore conceptual understandings of cultural sensitivity in relation to Arctic tourism where local and Indigenous livelihoods and environments are entangled with tourism growth, climate change, and colonial power relations. Cultural sensitivity is approached here as a subjective orientation towards otherness; that is, as an orientation that can be described in ethnocentric and ethnorelative terms. Building on article Cultural Sensitivity: Engaging Difference in Tourism (Viken, Höckert & Grimwood, 2021) my talk proposes a framework for approaching tourism services, products and encounters in ways that enhance recognition, respect and reciprocity towards otherness. Finally, the proposed relational approach calls for further reflection on entanglements between culture and nature in tourism processes.


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.


Gueast speakers

Meghann Ormond

Meghann Ormond is Associate Professor in Cultural Geography at Wageningen University & Research. Deeply invested in and concerned with how differently mobile people’s roots, rights and vulnerabilities are recognised and included in the places they visit and in which they live, her work focuses on how shifting visions and practices of citizenship and belonging impact transnational mobility, heritage, health and care relationships. She is co-founder of initiatives like Roots Guide and Migrantour Utrecht, she also co-coordinator of the CSPS Transformative Learning Hub at WUR, a member of the Wageningen Young Academy, and a co-developer and facilitator of the Centre for Unusual Collaboration’s (CUCo) interdisciplinary research training programme. She also teaches on and coordinates MSc- and PhD-level courses in the philosophy of social science and (transformative and participatory) qualitative research methods.

Migrantour Utrecht, part of a Migrantour network of 25+ cities and rural areas throughout Europe, is hosted by De Voorkamer. Migrantour Utrecht believes that sharing personal stories offers valuable perspective and creates meaningful bonds between people. This is why we set our feet on the streets to discover places through stories and together pave grassroots paths towards greater social inclusion.

For further information, visit:

You can also connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn or by emailing


David Chapman

Director General, WYSE Travel Confederation. For the past years as Director General of WYSE Travel Confederation, David has led the Amsterdam-based team in representing and advocating the youth, student and educational travel industry. During his tenure as Director General, WYSE Travel Confederation has expanded upon its legacy of producing essential market research and industry events, and supporting top-notch youth travel organisations worldwide. Prior to becoming Director General, David was an active board member of STAY WYSE and chairman of WYSE Travel Confederation. He brought a wealth of experience in both the youth travel and hospitality sectors, having served for six years as COO and Deputy Director of a London based non-profit social centre with student accommodation. He also worked at some ofthe best hotels in Europe including Grosvenor House, The Waldorf and the George V in Paris before becoming General Manager of several of the UK’s top country house hotels.

The World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation is the only global not-for-profit membership organisation that represents the youth, student and educational travel industry. Its mission is to contribute to the personal and professional growth of students and young people and positively impacts our global community byfostering international understanding, responsible travel and cultural exchange and education. WYSE Travel Confederation promotes and develops opportunities such trade, research, education and advocacy, for its worldwide community of member organisations who provide international travel experiences to more than 100 million youth a year.


Magnus Luiz Emmendoerfer

Professor at Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Brazil.Head of UNESCOChairCreative Economy & Public Policies (2022-26). Ph.D. in Human Sciences: Sociology and Politics (Organizational Studies), Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2009).

He is former President of the Brazilian Society forPublic Administration, 2018-2020 (SBAP) and member of Advisory board of Public Policies of the Foundation for Research of the State of Minas Gerais –FAPEMIGand ANEGEPE-National Association of Studies in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management(2018-2022). In the last 10 years, he coordinated and was a team member of 15interinstitutional research projects, funded by research agencies in Brazil. The topics focused on the publications are varied with emphasis on public policies, personnel management, tourism and entrepreneurship. He has also participated in national and international events as coordinator of working groups in Mexico, USA, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Canada, Norway, moreover national conferences. The scientific dissemination and the impact of these publications occur mainly in Iberoamerican countries.



Melanie Smith

Dr Melanie Kay Smith(PhD) is an Associate Professor, Researcher and Consultant whose work focuses on urban planning, cultural tourism, wellness tourism experiences and the relationship between tourism and wellbeing. She is Programme Leader for BSc and MSc Tourism Management at Budapest Metropolitan University in Hungary. She has lectured in the UK, Hungary, Estonia, Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as being an invited Keynote speaker in many countries worldwide. She was Chair of ATLAS (Association for Tourism and Leisure Education) for seven years and has undertaken consultancy work for UNWTO and ETC as well as regional and national projects on cultural and health tourism. She is the author or editor of several books as well as almost 100 journal articles and book chapters. Her most recent research focuses on wellness tourism, the impacts of ’overtourism’ in cultural cities and urban green spaces.


Greg Richards

Greg Richardsis Professor of Placemaking and Events at Breda University and Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Tilburg in The Netherlands. He has worked on projects for numerous national governments, national tourism organisationsand municipalities, and he has extensive experience in tourism and leisure research and education. His recent publications include the SAGE Handbook of New Urban Studies(with John Hannigan), Reinventing the Local in Tourism(with Paolo Russo),Small Cities with Big Dreams: Creative Placemaking and Branding Strategies(with Lian Duif)and Rethinking Cultural Tourism.

He has been involved in the development and evaluation of a number of major event-led cultural regeneration programmes, including the European Capitals of Culture and the Hieronymus Bosch 500 anniversary programme. He has completed several major research projects on the relationship between culture and tourism, includingreports for the OECD on the Impact of Culture on Tourism (2009) and Tourism and the Creative Economy (2014). He has also collaborated with the UNWTO on the report on Tourism and Culture Synergies (2108), and he is actively involved in the development of creative tourism initiatives in different parts of the world.



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 1 March 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 1 March 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
March 1st, 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.


Conference venues

You can find a map of the campus HERE





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.
  • Abstract submission form
    Submit this form to submit an abstract for the conference. 


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