Sixth International Conference on Tourism & Leisure Studies

Online Conference
Organized by: Common Ground Research Networks

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About This Event


Reimagining the Scholarly Conference

To support the range of options, and flexibility needed in our current climate, we will offer a blended conference experience. You do not need to commit either to a place-based or virtual presentation at the time of submission. You can present both ways, or change your mode of the presentation if your preferences change. The choice to participate virtually could also be a moral decision – for the planet, for security, or when the financial burden of travel is too great. We aim to foster spaces that align with principles of social justice and community development.

We also want to be ready for the possibility of place-based postponement due to COVID-19. If we are forced to postpone, the online engagement will still go ahead, and your registration will allow you to join the conference in person in a later year.

This way we build for our Research Network Members flexible, and at the same time resilient, spaces for communication, engagement, and participation.

Themes and Special Focus

Founded in 2015, the Tourism & Leisure Studies Research Network is brought together to explore the economic, cultural and organizational aspects of tourism and leisure. We seek to build an epistemic community where we can make linkages across disciplinary, geographic, and cultural boundaries. As a Research Network, we are defined by our scope and concerns and motivated to build strategies for action framed by our shared themes and tensions.

The Sixth International Conference on Tourism & Leisure Studies calls for research addressing the following annual themes and special focus:

2021 Special Focus - The Shape of Recovery: Futures of Responsible Travel and Leisure





Scope & Concerns

The Tourism & Leisure Studies Research Network explores two key phenomena of contemporary times, each of which is currently undergoing striking processes of transformation.

Leisure is a domain of relative freedom and pleasure positioned in contrast to the necessities and duties of paid or domestic work. All human societies have modulated work with leisure, moments of dutiful exertion with moments of recreational pleasure. Today, the nature and place of leisure activities are undergoing transformations influenced by changing social norms, economic realities, and mediating technologies. What is the nature of these socio-historical changes? How can the study of leisure, as a bounded domain of investigation and as grounded site for the exploration of more general social phenomena, provide a unique insight into the nature of these socio-historical changes?

Whereas leisure is a universal in all societies, tourism is a principally modern phenomenon. Tourism is the social practice of travel, primarily for the purposes of leisure. Although affluent minorities undertook limited tourism before modern times, mass tourism is a phenomenon that began in the mid-nineteenth century with the affordable railway ticket. Today, more than one billion tourists travel each year, and their spending represents a significant and growing sector in the world economy. This is also a time of dramatic change in modes and markets for tourism. This affects questions of economics, management, and employment in the burgeoning tourism and leisure industries. Critical social and ethical issues accompany this transformation, including questions of sustainability, cultural interaction, local impacts, and variable access to opportunities to tour. 

Themes & Tensions

Theme 1: Methods, Models, and Practices

How to connect conceptual foundations of tourism and leisure to the social and natural sciences and back?

Living Tensions:

  • Subjects of History – Legacies of Hospitality, Tourism, and Leisure Practices
  • Considering Scale and Frame – International, National, and Regional Tourism
  • Diversity of Meanings – Navigating Cultural Sustainability and Heritage Development
  • Visions of Progress – Management, Planning and Policy Interventions
  • Participant and Observer – Integrative Approaches to Inquiry, Method, and Practice
  • Theoretical Contributions – From Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure Fields to the Social and Natural Sciences

Theme 2: Participation, Access, Impacts

How do the practices of tourism and leisure reveal consequential impacts of everyday life?

Living Tensions:

  • Whose Leisure? – Inequalities in access to leisure time and facilities
  • Who Counts? – Stakeholders in the tourism ecosystem
  • In Search of the New – Emerging Markets, Community Impacts
  • Lived Realties – Changing Patterns and Cultures of Consumption
  • The Business of Travel and Tourism -- Human resources and talent management, global employability
  • Volunteerism – leisure / work, opportunity / exploitation
  • Recognizing Common Spaces – Ecological Footprints, Biospheres, and Eco-Spheres

Theme 3: Communicating Experience

What are the forces that shape the communication of experiences in time and space?

Living Tensions:

  • Beyond Place-Based – Virtual Tourism, Online Experience, Digital Culture
  • Visual Vectors – Media, Technology and Visitor Experience
  • Leisure Spaces – Social Media, Online Interaction
  • More Than Images –Journalism and Writing
  • Framing Authenticity – Location, Service, Product Identity, and Branding
  • Collective Experience – Festivals, Art and Creative Gatherings
  • Cultures of Care – Considering Hospitality in Context

Theme 4: Future Practices

In what ways must we consider new approaches, concepts, frameworks, to promote new research, models, and practices?

Living Tensions:

  • Long Term Planning– Contesting “Financial Years” and “Instant Gratification”
  • Ethical Busines Models – Social Economies, Platform Cooperatives, Land Ownership
  • Managing Change – Crisis management, risk and disaster management, business continuity
  • Evaluation and Measurement – Education and Training for the Tourism and Leisure Industries
  • Fostering Diverse communities – Culturally sensitive, Gender equity, ability access
  • Environmental Tourism – Rural, Remote, Agrotourism, Eco-Tourism
  • Demographically Defined Tourism – Children, Youth, Family, Retirement, Disability, Gender, LGBT Tourism


  • Start Date:
    Sat, 27 Mar 2021
  • End Date:
    Sun, 28 Mar 2021
  • Proposal/Abstract/Paper Deadline:
    Tue, 27 Apr 2021


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