Covid-19 has changed our world.  Whilst the pandemic emphasised the global economic significance of tourism, as well as its importance for health and wellbeing, the simultaneous impact on supply and demand illustrated the vulnerability of tourism.  Lockdowns kept people at home with millions of jobs furloughed and businesses in the tourism supply chain at risk.  It is anticipated that when tourism businesses reopen, the majority will be operating with social distancing measures and lower capacities – reducing working hours and productivity and threatening viability.  This is likely to be compounded by changes in tourist behaviour and travel decision-making due to concerns about ‘Covid-19 safe’ environments and a heightened awareness of risk more generally.

So, we may see a new era of cautious consumption and provision.  If so, will this shape a different tourism and how will this influence the post-COVID-19 tourism curricula?  Whilst technology has long been an important enabler for travel and tourism; the role of technology proved even more significant during the pandemic and allowed engagement in (virtual) travel and leisure activities. At the same time, businesses, government and education rapidly went virtual to keep operating, cramming years of change into a few months, and showing the possibilities of doing things differently. Yet, although that technical change and learning cannot be undone, there are concerns over the digital divide and how technology impacts on the delivery of tourism education, as well as tourism’s cultural exchange and social interaction.  As tourism educators and researchers what is our role?

  • How can we develop a more technology enabled hybrid approach to tourism education that creates a better student experience?
  • How far should the structure of tourism programmes in higher and further education be reconsidered in light of changes to consumption and provision?
  • How do we encourage critical thinking amongst graduates but also respond to government policy on higher education being linked to careers and training?
  • How do we encourage a collaborative and relevant approach between education and industry to help graduates prepare for and build professional networks for a post-COVID-19 tourism industry – in which work and tourism have become hybrid activities? How do approaches compare across countries?

Questions like these frame our 2021 conference on Hybrid and Virtual Experiences:  Opportunity or Threat for Tourism Education and Industry? and so we are seeking pedagogic, research and doctoral colloquium abstract submissions covering but not limited to:

  • Curriculum Development
  • The Learning Experience
  • Assessment Strategies
  • Collaboration with Industry, International Partners, Government Partners and/or Local Communities
  • Professional Development


The doctoral colloquium enables doctoral students to present at an established conference and get constructive feedback in a friendly, supportive (virtual) environment.  Doctoral students are invited to submit a 150-word poster abstract and during the conference, there will be a virtual poster session for doctoral students to present their work in a poster format in a 5-10 minute presentation.


Hybrid and Virtual Experiences:  Opportunity or Threat for Tourism Education and Industry? is a broad theme and we welcome delegates’ perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that teaching Tourism during the pandemic offers in all realms of Higher Education.  We encourage 150-word abstracts that cover any aspect related to the overall conference theme, for example:

Hybrid Teaching & Pedagogy

Future of the Tourism Industry

  • Accelerated use of technology in tourism education
  • Accessibility
  • Developing Communities of Practice
  • Digital pedagogy and capability
  • Employability development
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion
  • International collaboration
  • New paradigms for a new tourism: tourism for good
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Student experiences of hybrid teaching
  • The impacts of COVID-19
  • Transformative tourism education
  • Virtual tourism education
  • Wellbeing
  • Accelerated use of technology in the tourism industry
  • Accessibility
  • Climate change
  • Community building and regeneration
  • Domestic tourism v International tourism
  • Greater regulation in tourism
  • Health v wealth
  • Industry and destination resilience
  • (Re)Distribution of wealth
  • The impacts of COVID-19
  • Tourism supply chains
  • Transformative tourism
  • Virtual tourism
  • Wellbeing


We are delighted to announce our Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Ulrike Gretzel is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Public Relations, University of Southern California. Dr. Gretzel’s research spans the design and evaluation of intelligent systems, as well as the development and implications of artificial intelligence. Her work in tourism addresses ways in which tourists engage with each other and with tourism organizations through websites, mobile apps and social media, and has analyzed how tourism experiences are represented and marketed online. She studies social media marketing, influencer marketing and the emerging reputation economy. She has also researched smart tourism development, technology adoption and non-adoption in tourism organizations and the quest for digital detox experiences. Dr. Gretzel has published over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles. She is frequently acknowledged as one of the most cited authors in the fields of tourism and persuasion and is a fellow of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism.

Professor Becken will present a Keynote on The practice of virtual meetings and experiences – a necessary shift in response to Covid and the climate crisis. Susanne Becken is a Vice Chancellor Research Fellow at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom. She also holds a position as Professor of Sustainable Tourism at Griffith University in Australia and Principal Science Investment Advisor (Visitor) in the Department of Conservation, New Zealand. She is a member of the Air New Zealand Sustainability Advisory Panel,  a Fellow of the International Academy of the Study of Tourism and the 2019 UNWTO Ulysses Award winner.

PRE-CONFERENCE SYMPOSIUM: Wednesday 8th December (TBC)

We are seeking to develop a pre-Conference activity, aimed at tourism educators in the Further Education sector.  More details will follow in future Calls for Papers.


We appreciate that institutions are continuing to face disruption, with pressure on incomes and budgets. Therefore, we have decided that, following the positive experience of our 2020 virtual conference, this year’s conference will again be virtual.  As in 2020, we can offer the conference as a subscription benefit to ATHE members, with a total of TWO free places per ATHE member institution (for academics or research students).  (there will be a fee per participant for ATHE member institutions wishing to register more than 2 delegates). There will be a fee for non-members – who are, of course, encouraged to join as members (UK) or associates (outside UK).

Fee for Non-members & ATHE members registering more than 2 delegates:

  • £50 for 1 academic; £95 for 2 academics from the same institute
  • £25 for 1 research student; £45 for 2 research students from the same institute
  • £70 for a combined option of 1 Academic and 1 research student from the same institute

Conference Bursary for Lower Income Countries

We recognise that the pandemic has had a particularly severe impact on lower income countries.  We will therefore offer five free places to academics who could not otherwise afford to attend.  We do this on a trust basis and do not require you to provide proof, but a short statement (150 words maximum) must be provided by the 31st October 2021 explaining how Covid-19 has impacted either your country/destination or tourism education at your institution and why, therefore, you need a free place.  Places will be allocated on the case made by the applicant and the decision of the ATHE Executive Committee will be final.

Please send abstracts by email to by 1st October 2021