AIEST Conference Award: Langebraun, Pozzan, Gibbert, De Ascaniis


Institutional Communication Service

11 September 2023

The AIEST PhD award was presented for the research project "Using context for theorising in qualitative tourism research - An empirical review and research agenda", which saw the collaboration between the Institute of Marketing and Communication Management and the Institute of Digital Technologies for Communication at USI.

The collaboration between Professor Michael Gibbert, Dr. Silvia De Ascaniis, Nele Langebraun (PhD student) and Alessandra Pozzan (student-assistant of Professor Gibbert and second-year student of the Master in International Tourism) started during the last academic year, and aims to combine Professor Gibbert's and PhD student Langebraun's knowledge of qualitative methodology with Dr. de Ascaniis' and student Alessandra Pozzan's knowledge of the tourism sector. The first objective of this collaboration was to study how context is used in qualitative research in the field of tourism. The first results of the study were summarised in the article 'Using context for theorising in qualitative tourism research - An empirical review and research agenda'.

The study ties in with Nele's doctoral research, which explores the role of time and context in qualitative research in management and organisational studies. Professor Gibbert, in addition to teaching Marketing and Critical Consumer Behaviour at the Institute of Marketing and Communication Management (IMCA), is a well-known researcher in the field of qualitative research methods.

Dr De Ascaniis is a lecturer-researcher at the Institute of Digital Technologies for Communication (ITDxC), and coordinator of the USI UNESCO Chair in ICTs to develop and promote sustainable tourism at World Heritage Sites. Student Alessandra Pozzan acted as a liaison between the two institutes, of which the study mentioned represents an initial collaboration.

The study was first shared at a research talk organised by ITDxC. It was then decided to present it at the conference of the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism (AIEST), founded in 1951 and one of the most renowned and long-standing institutions in the field of tourism. This year, Nele officially became a junior member of the association. Every year, AIEST organises a conference attended by researchers from all over the world, with USI lecturer, Professor Christian Laesser, as Secretary General. The aim of the conference is to share its research with a view to improving the tourism sector by analysing trends and developments closely related to the sector or having a broader scope, such as the topic of sustainability. This year, the 72nd edition took place in Madrid from 27 to 30 August. Presentations at the conference compete for three types of awards: the 'Best Contribution Award' (the best paper in general), the 'Peter Keller Award' (i.e. the award for the presentation that best combines theory and practice), and finally the 'PhD award' (i.e. the award for the best presentation by a PhD student). Voting is democratic, as all researchers present at the conference can express their opinion on each presentation.

The USI quartet's paper was a candidate for the PhD award and came second. This is an impressive accolade, for the institution promoting it, because it indicates that the research project has attracted interest among other researchers in the field, and because it validates the value of the collaboration between the two USI institutes. Finally, it confers further prestige on USI, since the other prize-winning researchers come from renowned universities such as the University of St. Gallen and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland .