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Student Prize


ATLAS prizes for Bachelor and Master theses


The Association for Tourism and Leisure Education and Research (ATLAS) has created the annual ATLAS Prize for Bachelor and Master thesis on leisure and tourism. We received 16 nominations, 8 Bachelor and 8 Master theses.

Nominations were made by Heads of Department / School from ATLAS Member institutions. In addition, theses produced by ATLAS student members were also considered.

Nominations were reviewed by the ATLAS Advisory Board and we now do have 4 prize winners! Due to the difficulty to choose only 2 winners, the ATLAS advisory board decided to select two more theses to be highly recommended.

What do the rewarded students win:

Reward for first prize   

  • Framed certificate (also in PDF)
  • Free participation in the ATLAS annual conference
  • Invitation to present the thesis during the ATLAS annual conference
  • Free ATLAS student membership for one year
  • Selection of ATLAS publications   

Reward for highly recommended / second prize

  • Certificate in PDF
  • Invitation to present the thesis during the ATLAS annual conference
  • Free ATLAS student membership for one year

The prize winners will be honored during the ATLAS annual conference in September 2021, which will be held ONLINE.

ATLAS prizes for Master thesis on leisure and tourism

The Jury has decided to award the ATLAS 2021 Master first prize to:

Jana-Samira Werl
Breda University of Applied Sciences thesis, the Netherlands
Exploring the Paradoxes of Privacy and Big Data Analysis in Tourism Destination Management. A case study: Austria.

In this thesis Jana-Samira explored the utility of Big Data analysis in Tourism Destination Management while identifying the arising paradoxes regarding privacy. It seeked to derive practical policy implications that balance the needs of a digital tourism economy on one hand and the rights to privacy and data protection on the other. The thesis first concludes that the potential of Big Data analysis for Tourism Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) in Austria is high but vastly underutilized except for digital marketing and communication.

Secondly, this study found three inherent paradoxes of privacy and Big Data: a paradox of supply and demand, the transparence paradox and a paradox of power and competition. Based on these findings, this research suggests nine recommendations for DMOs. The jury found this a thesis of outstanding quality, focusing on an important, topical and timely subject, thoroughly researched using a robust methodology, with very convincing and well-argued conclusions of great potential practical application by DMOs. In sum, the jury found the thesis a critical, analytical and intelligent piece of work.”

The jury highly commended (second prize):

Kristina Hansen
Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands
Quietscapes: Towards a sonic sensibility of place.

In this thesis project, Kristina questions what a sonic sensibility brings to our understanding of contemporary life in a remote Wadden island. In particular, her sonic sensibility traces what tuning into the meanings of quietness adds to understanding islanders’ relations with their home. This thesis is part of the sensory turn within social sciences and atmospheric turn within tourism studies. This research contributes to current thinking on the role of quietness and sensory based experiences, constructions and negotiations of place. Next to this, this thesis advances the call to geographers to take part in place-making and the reimagination of place through a sonic art approach.

The jury found this a highly original and rigorously-executed thesis, focusing on an under-researched, yet vital theme – the role played by a vital human sense in the tourism experience - with useful findings of great significance for many destinations. They found it a beautifully written thesis which deals with an unusual subject in a very creative way. A carefully crafted and thoughtful literature review was combined with fascinating fieldwork.

ATLAS prizes for Bachelor thesis on leisure and tourism

The Jury has decided to award the ATLAS 2021 Bachelor first prize to:

Eleonora Rossi
Dalarna University, Sweden
Chained to Trafficking. A Study on Sex Trafficking in Chain-affiliated Hotels in Sweden.

In this thesis Eleonara investigated the vulnerabilities of the hotel industry and chain-affiliated hotels that sex traffickers exploit to force women into prostitution. Through semi-structured interviews with employees of chain-affiliated hotels, the study identified 14 vulnerabilities. Some vulnerabilities are external to the industry, but affect it directly. Other vulnerabilities are internal to the hotel industry, but not associable to any specific chain-affiliated hotel. Lastly, there are vulnerabilities that are strictly related and associable to single hotels.

The jury found this thesis very well written and structured dealing with an important and for tourism studies unusual topic. The thesis contains very strong sections on methodology, on research ethics given the sensitive topic and on research limitations. Results are well presented, although based on a limited number of respondents. The thesis deals with a topic of social importance with results that could lead to practical actions for industry.

The jury highly commended (second prize):

Sofia Rastelli
Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands
The Hero, the Adventurer and the Advocate volunteers. A visual analysis of volunteer tourists’ identities on Instagram.

In this thesis Sofia studies photographic practices related to volunteer tourism on Instagram. Findings show that volunteers perform the identities of the hero, the adventurer and the advocate, portraying different approaches on how to live the volunteer experience and interact with the local ‘other’. Again, the jury found this a very well written thesis about an interesting and topical subject. The thesis has a strong theoretical underpinning based on a sound literature review and lots of insightful comments and examples of critical thinking. It makes use of an innovative methodology but with some ethical issues implicit in it. However, related societal implications are not really addressed in the thesis.



ATLAS and students

  • Become a member of an established academic and research network.
  • Correspond with well-known lecturers, tutors and researchers in Tourism.
  • Attend events and conferences.
  • Take part in social activities with lecturers, tutors and researchers and other students.


For whom

The ATLAS student package is meant for students with a special interest in tourism and leisure. These could be PhD students, masters students but also graduate students, who would like to get involved with the tourism/leisure research field ….


Costs and benefits

The cost of Student Membership is ONLY 50 EUROS per year. For this you will receive the following benefits:

  • Links to all institutions where ERASMUS or other exchanges are possible with details of the programmes and courses.
  • An e-network and discussion forum with other students.
  • Access to other students' information (e.g. research interests, thesis topics).
  • Access to academic experts who can give advice about dissertation research or publications.
  • A special research seminar during the annual conference.
  • Access to Special Interest Groups.
  • A regular Winter University.
  • Best student paper award.
  • Discounts on ATLAS publications.


Erasmus exchange possibilties

Links to all institutions where ERASMUS or other exchanges are possible with details of the programmes and courses.


Information lists and social media

Students will be connected to the other members of ATLAS through the regular ATLAS information list. Via this list announcements of the members are sent to each other. The announcements are about upcoming events, publications, research proposals, etc. Sometimes also some discussion is taking place about issues within tourism and leisure research and education.

Furthermore students will be connected to the special student information list on which the students can raise topics of interest to their fellow students.

On top of that ATLAS makes use of different social media like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and of course students can join the communication platforms.


Student events and event calendar

ATLAS organises a Winter University once a year. The ATLAS Winter University is an intensive program which has been operating since 1989, and has been held in ten different EU Member States. The basic aim of the program is to examine the consequences of European integration for leisure and tourism consumption and production. This course is a 10 days events for students and is being visited by students from different nationalities and guarantees lifelong friendships. A certificate is being issued to students who took part in the WU. The involved teachers are working at institutions which are also members of ATLAS.

Furthermore prior to the ATLAS annual conferences a students colloquium is being organised every year. This event is normally visited by PhD students who can discuss the progress of their research with fellow PhD students and a panel of well known scientists.

At the ATLAS event calendar (link) a new category has been created for events especially for students. Not only students conferences and colloquiums are included, but also summer-, winter schools, courses and other events especially for students.

ATLAS students will gain a discount when participating at ATLAS events.


Advisory board

ATLAS students will get unique access to academic experts who can give advice about dissertation research or publications. These experts will join the ATLAS student discussion list. Through the list you can, besides asking your fellow students for advice, also consult them.

A group of academic experts will be created for the advisory board.


Information useful for students

ATLAS will offer the students a range of information in the field of tourism and leisure research:

  • Research interests
  • Thesis topics
  • Overview of journals
  • Overview of publishers
  • How to submit an abstract
  • How to present at conferences
  • How to write a paper
  • How to find a job

Access to this database is only possible by using you login details.


ATLAS Special Interest Groups (SIGs)

Students can also join the ATLAS SIGs. For an overview look at


Best student paper award

Before the annual conference students will be asked to submit an article to the Scientific Committee, who will chose the best students paper. The prize will be free access to the students colloquium and a certificate.




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