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

ATLAS Special Interest Group
Visual Tourism Research



Contact details

The contact persons for this research group are:



Nika Balomenou

  University of Hertfordshire
  United Kingdom

Garrod Brian
  University of Wales, Aberystwyth
  United Kingdom





Proposal for ATLAS SIG Entitled ‘Visual Tourism Research’

Aims and Objectives

Tourism and photography have been linked since the emergence of the first cameras. Counter-intuitively, however, the use of photographs and other visuals as data in tourism research has not been as frequent or widespread might be expected, primarily due to the negative influence of traditional modes of social science research, proponents of which have tended to brand visuals as tainted media. Over the last 30 years, however, photography and other visual media have slowly but surely become accepted as valid objects of enquiry in the tourism subject area. Visuals are thus establishing a legitimacy as more than transient memories of holiday experiences. A range of visual research methods have also now been developed that can be applied to tourism issues, including photo elicitation, participatory photography and visual semiotics. 

This SIG aims to bring together colleagues who advocate and/or are willing to explore the potential of visuals as data in tourism research. It also aims to bring together a broad range of scholars who are part of an interdisciplinary reconsideration of a ubiquitous phenomenon that connects places, people, images and interpretations on a global scale. 

Annual Work Plan

Special Track in ATLAS Conference

AGM in ATLAS Conference

Quarterly SIG online meetings

Call for Creation of SIG at the Conference in September and Call for papers on current research, along the lines of the conference track we had proposed for this year. 

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
  • Visual data and ethics in tourism research
  • Visual sociology
  • Visual anthropology
  • Visual culture
  • Image management
  • Visuals as proof
  • Visuals as catalysts of socio-political change
  • Sense of place
  • Visuals in researching experiences
  • Methodological implications


Association for Tourism and Leisure Education
Copyright © 1997 - 2023  | All rights reserved |  Revised: 03/07/2023  [366]