The 20th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research

Themes and topics

The 20th Nordic Symposium in Tourism and Hospitality Research



Main theme of the symposium: Well-being in Tourism and Recreation

Session topics


Theoretical and Methodological Progress in Social Media and Tourism Research 


Three partners to well-being in horse tourism: Horse, host and tourist  


Entrepreneurship in Tourism 


Born to be wild – a stance for fresh visions of wildlife activities studies 


Elements and features of Nordic wellbeing tourism 


Aesthetics and well-being


Sustainable tourism and well-being


Wilderness tourism: Promoting environmental and personal well-being 


Advancements in Tourism and Hospitality Human Resource Research 


Are we talking about the same place? Cultural encounters of local communities and tourism business 


Tourism work and well being of communities

 12.  Advancements in Festival Management Research – relation to well-being

1. Theoretical and Methodological Progress in Social Media and Tourism Research

Chairs: Szilvia Gyimóthy and Ana Maria Munar,

In the past few years, social media applications have revolutionized the way tourists and destinations can interact online. Peer-to-peer customer communities share audiovisual trip reposts of personal reviews on tourism firms and destinations, while marketers attempt to integrate new media in their communication activities. Academic research on this topic is still scarce, focusing mainly on exploratory impacts studies and descriptive accounts of online community behaviour. However, these writings do not question the appropriateness of traditional theoretical frameworks of tourism behaviour, market communication or organizational design in a social media universe; neither do they reflect upon the methodological potential of new media channels. In order to progress towards more comprehensive approaches on social media and tourism, we call for papers that address the following topics with a solid theoretical and/or methodological background:

• Market research and social media
• Tourism behaviour and social media
• Tourism branding, market communications and social media
• Organisational studies and social media
• Tourism power, conflict, politics and social media
• Tourism cultures and social media
• Web 2.0 and research methods in tourism
• Tourism narratives, genres and story-telling and social media
• Social media design and the tourism experience
2. Three partners to well-being in horse tourism: Horse, host and tourist

Chair: Gudrun Helgadottir,

Recreational activities involving horses are increasingly framed in terms of the emotional and physical well being that humans experience through outdoor recreation as well as through relations with horses. This relation between horse and rider is often referred to as harmonious and in training both parties mental and physical balance is important to bring about the desired benefits. Horsemanship is claimed as so many other recreational activities to offer respite from stress, physical exercise, emotional satisfaction and in addition a partnership between individuals of differing species.

As in any other partnership positive experience is contingent on the well being of the partners. In horse tourism there are three partners to the experience; the tourist, the host and the horse. The tourist seeking horse based experiences has certain expectations and needs that the host and horse must meet; the horse must be healthy, well treated and well trained to be suitable for the serial partnership that horse tourism entails and last but not least the host, that is the tourism business, entrepreneurs, staff and host community must be emotionally, economically and socially prepared to sustain a business of horse based tourism.
3. Entrepreneurship in Tourism

Chair: Antti Haahti,

Entrepreneurship deals with opportunity recognition, innovation and utilization of opportunities for value-adding processes, wealth creation, social advancement and enhancement of well-being of individuals, social entities and societies. As such it is viewed as dynamic and unpredictable behaviour. Joseph Schumpeter elaborated the phenomenon in the core of dynamic economics in his The Theory of Economic Development (1934). Since then academic discourses on entrepreneurship have emerged slowly, but recently as relevant agendas within many discipline. As a research field it is in becoming an academic discipline.

The issue of well-being opens new vistas for entrepreneurial behaviours. Enhancement of multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary views within social sciences have brought fore ideas of adapting entrepreneurship further from the economic core to address social innovations and problems. Well-being certainly offers an interesting challenge and opportunities for the studies of entrepreneurship in tourism and recreation. Hopefully such a challenge may precipitate both innovativeness and innovations in topics and contents of forthcoming papers.

We are happy to invite conference papers on all aspects of entrepreneurial behaviour that address customers, front line employees and experience stagers, be that individuals, networks or destinations, and any other aspects of entrepreneurship. Also enterprising, paths to entrepreneurship through self-employment, necessity entrepreneurship, enhancement of social innovations in well-being tourism, among others, are proposed.
4. Born to be wild – a stance for fresh visions of wildlife activities studies

Chairs: Vesa Markuksela and Raija Komppula,,

The inhabitants of western world are more and more seeking into activities where they can be in touch with nature, or being touched by it. Perhaps it is a sign from reminisce, or to the quest to be a contemporary noble savage – being wild. Not profoundly clasping to this pondering, we set our gaze to the statistics, which reveals us how popular nature-based wildlife activities, like hunting and fishing, are in the Scandinavia. For example, in the case of Finland, a nation of under 5,4 million citizens, almost 2 million people are considered as anglers. Wildlife activities have also brought forth a lucrative, multimillion, tourism industry. Everything boosts the importance of the study of wildlife activities.

Previous multidisciplinary studies on wildlife activities have produced profound knowledge on the statistical facts, cognitive motifs, redevelopment points of view and impacts of nature based tourism. Surprisingly, we do know fairly little about culturally and socially embedded wildlife tourism activities – as it is, as an enacted practice/s. This session wishes to pounder the diverse viewpoints of wildlife activities e.g.: as a social practice, a cultural experience, a management strategy, and a tourism experience. These standpoints may contribute to the line of wildlife tourism product development and thereby to enhance the well-being of both tourists and the tourism industry. This session also invites and encourages the use of manifold methods to study wildlife activities, especially the more recent ones allowing to crasp the inherently multi-sensorial features of activities.
5. Elements and features of Nordic wellbeing tourism

Chairs: Anja Tuohino and Raija Komppula,,

Wellness and wellbeing tourism have become important topics in tourism research and business, and the concepts have established their standing in tourism terminology. Wellness tourism is in many cases connected to 5-star hotels, luxury and pampering. However, the supply in the Nordic countries focuses more on services that enhance customers' own active role in their wellbeing. In addition, nature has a remarkable role in Nordic wellbeing. Even though the demand and supply of wellness and wellbeing tourism has increased, the customer perspective has been relatively rare in the research of wellness and wellbeing tourism. The aim of this session is to discuss the content, elements and features of Nordic wellbeing tourism. The topic can be approached from perspectives of different stakeholders, e.g. policy makers, customers and producers. We encourage new innovative cross-line approaches and welcome both theoretical and empirical papers.
6. Aesthetics and well-being

Chair: Thorvardur Arnason,

Aesthetic encounters are prominent in many different types of tourist activities. In some cases, e.g. in nature-based and heritage tourism, it could even be argued that aesthetic experiences are central to the very urge to travel. This raises the question of purpose and motivation: Are tourists drawn to locations of high aesthetic value, whether man-made or natural, for the consumption of views and experiences, or is this attraction an indication of some deeper underlying need? Furthermore, do tourists who manage to fulfill their aesthetic expectations during their travels experience this as simple gratification or could a greater healing process possibly be at stake? This session seeks to bring the aesthetic dimension of tourism into greater focus, as well as to explore the potential link between aesthetic engagement and human well-being. Papers are welcome on all aspects of aesthetics in tourism but should address the contributions - or lack of such - of the particular aesthetic experiences in question to the increased well-being of tourists, local stakeholders and/or the natural or cultural phenomena that give rise to these experiences.
7. Sustainable tourism and well-being

Chair: Adriana Budeanu,

Sustainable development is recognized worldwide as the desirable path ahead for the future development of tourism. Challenges raised by climate changes and resource scarcity are often answered by a plea for more austere types of tourism, practiced with a responsible consideration towards nature and local communities. How do these demands affect the concept of “well-being” in tourism? Are the concepts of “well-being” and “sustainability” exclusive or inclusive? Is sustainable well-being a viable concept for contemporary tourism? This session invites contributions that discuss aspects related to the concept of "well-being" in the context of sustainable tourism, from a supply and/or demand perspectives. Theoretical and experience-based contributions are encouraged.
8. Wilderness tourism: Promoting environmental and personal well-being

Chairs: Jarkko Saarinen and C. Michael Hall,

Wilderness environments attract millions of international and domestic tourists per year and wilderness areas are increasingly seen as sources for well-being in tourism and recreation. There is a diverse scale of tourist and recreation experiences and motivations that are linked to visits in 'the wild', such as solitude, feeling of remoteness, peace, challenges, escapism and being outside the modern organised society. Obviously, many of these experiences and motives conflict with the increasing visitor numbers and user groups in wilderness. The increasing use also poses a threat to biological and non-use values of the wilderness, for example, which can result in a diminishing wilderness character of an area. This session focuses on the uses and meanings of wilderness for tourism. The aim is to discuss empirically and/or theoretically the conflicting uses and sustainability of tourism in wilderness and overview the wilderness management challenges and their solutions in the contexts of the well-being of different tourism and recreation users groups, stakeholders and wilderness environments.(protected areas?)
9. Advancements in Tourism and Hospitality Human Resource Research

Chairs: Trude Furunes and Olga Gjerald,

A majority of the tourism and hospitality enterprises is heavily dependent upon manpower for providing services and experiences for their guests. Previous research has shown that these work outcomes are influenced by the competence and skills of the service workers. However, the issue is not as clear-cut as it appears at its surface, as the industry is also battling high turnover rates and is dependent on young, diverse, and often inexperienced workforce. The topic of human resource management is relevant to the overall theme of this conference in several ways, especially in the sense that tourism and hospitality sector is labour intensive and relies on the competence of both front-line and back-stage personnel.

The first symposium session on this topic in the Nordic context was arranged at The 16th Nordic Symposium in Helsingborg, and the number of papers has increased over the last years. The main focus is on how research can be applied to all phases of the human resource management processes, i.e. recruitment, selection, competence, motivation, work content, communication, schedules, environment and pay, leadership and turnover and exit. The intention behind the symposium is to broaden and build relationships between the researchers interested in this field.
10. Are we talking about the same place? Cultural encounters of local communities and tourism business

Chairs: Mikko Jokinen and Seija Tuulentie;,

Tourism in rural and remote communities is remarkable catalyst for social and cultural change. As stimulating local and regional economies and creating new jobs, tourism provides well-being and vitality for places that otherwise have poor development potentials. Tourism means also new way of using natural and human resources. Tourist destinations have their individual history and identity that is raw material for tourism business and marketing. Tourism industry manipulates those identities and creates new meanings for places and local peoples as well. As an event, tourism is always more or less artificial performance. It forms realities and practices that do not exist without tourism. The story to be told (and sold) of some place can either be identifiable for local people as part of their culture or considered as disconnected tourism product.

This session studies the cultural encounters of local communities and tourism. In many places, tourism has been operating for decades. Still, it has fairly short heritage and many entrepreneurs have noted that their profession has been regarded as serious livelihood only in recent years. Tourism is here to stay, but as a mean for reaching well-being it is essential that the business is considered as common property and part of local identity. Otherwise there is risk that tourism as whole is considered as exploitation of natural resources and local tradition by ‘outsiders’.
11. Tourism work and well being of communities

Chairs: Bente Heimtun and Mika Kylänen,,

Tourism is often discussed from the perspective of regional development. In particular, in remote areas tourism is approached as one of the rare growth industries. This emphasizes the value of tourism for regional
employment and economic prosperity. Another common found approach to tourism development is the customer's perspective particularly the tourist's experience. However, sustainable regional development should also cover overall extensive well being of host communities, without forgetting the valuable role of tourism workers who play a significant role in guiding, serving, caring and host(ess)ing tourists from all around the world.

This session welcomes abstracts that relate to the topic of tourism work and well being of communities. It tackles the conference theme question as follows: How modern tourism can enhance the well being of tourism employees, local residents and communities? Whereas tourism may offer work and living possibilities to hosting regions, it also puts the local communities, cultures and living conditions on the frame / on "stage" /on display. This may obviously operate as exotic contents for tourism production and consumption, but also raise challenging issues, even conflicts. Moreover, the seasonal character of tourism work often attracts (transnational) migrant workers. This draws the attention to the concepts of mobility, nomadism and areas of convergence between tourism and work. Finally, tourism work is marked by intersecting power relations based in gender, ethnicity and age, which needs to be further explored.

The session/track/working group invites abstracts that cover the following themes:

* Work life balance in tourism and hospitality business
* Tourism worker's well being
* Professional identity and skills of tourism workers
* Changing tourism work
* Tourism work practices
* Changing local communities
* Local cultures on stage
* Host guest relationships in the field of tourism, travel, recreation and hospitality
* Glocal logics of earning in tourism and hospitality business
* Travelling workers and working tourists
* Tourism work inequalities

The topics reported above are indicative and informative rather than exclusive. Other interesting work on issues relating to tourism work and well being of communities will be taken into consideration.
12. Advancements in Festival Management Research – relation to well-being

Szilvia Gyimothy,
Reidar J. Mykletun,
Tommy Andersson,

Recently there has been an accelerating growth in festivals or ”events” with respect to frequencies, purpose, content, form and popularity. Although in part a continuation of older traditional markets and fairs, the current festivals constitute a new wave within the experience economy, a new type of travel and leisure activity as well as a development within the flora of cultural expressions. To some extent they may be conceived of as a concentration or a “package” or commodifications of regional culture or activities for consumption within a short time frame and within limited physical distances. Under certain conditions, this new wave seems to contribute to sustainable development of places and their local identities, to branding of places and marketing of regions, development of tourism and bridging gaps between locals, and between locals and visitors. They may enhance self-esteem and pride among local inhabitants in relation to own area, and facilitate their (re)discovery and (re)learning processes related to cultural and tangible items. Festivals may contribute to economical growth and development through sales of experiences, services and goods. Festivals are also used as a strategic tool to promote goods and services as well as aid in attracting the focus of the public towards certain humanitarian and political issues. Festivals may in several respects relate to the border theme of the conference, for instance when food festival break borders by innovating the use of raw materials and the produce of new dishes, and when extreme sports athletes develop new ways of turning the force and law of gravity into playmates.

Within the Nordic context, his symposium is the forth to focus on how research can be applied to all aspects of festival management issues. The first Symposium on Advancements in Festival Management Research was held as a one day parallel session at the 16th Nordic Tourism and Hospitality Research Symposium in Helsingborg and attracted eight papers. At the end of the meeting the Scandinavian School of Tourism and Festival Management Research was organized as a network for further research in this area. This stream has been very popular among researchers within the tourism fields. The second symposium in Lillehammer contained 16 papers and most of these were channeled into a special issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism (vol. 9, no 2/3, 2010). The third symposium in Esbjerg contained six papers, and the forth in Akureyri attracted 7 papers.

The present symposium is supported by the Scandinavian School. The symposium is open to anyone who would submit their paper, and will contain a range of papers discussing various aspects of festival management issues, and in particular in relation to well-being. When matching invitations, similar symposia will be proposed for future Nordic conferences.

The intention behind the symposium is to broaden and build relationships between the researchers interested in this field. To assist in this process, participants first send their abstracts to the conference organisers marked with Festival Symposium and follow guidelines from the organisers.

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