We are seeking to explore the social, cultural and political dimensions of tourism in the early 21st century by examining the current critical issues in tourism. The key questions are:

  • Is access to tourism equal to all?
  • What are the social factors affecting access to tourism?
  • How do factors such as our gender, age, disability, ethnic identity and social status affect our access to tourism?
  • How can tourism help empower women?
  • Who are those working in tourism and what key challenges are they facing in tourism employment?

We are very pleased to welcome you to the Tourism Students' Virtual Conference 2015 during which we seek to explore the social, cultural and political dimensions of tourism in the early 21st century. We will debate the current critical issues in tourism across four conference strands:

  • Inclusion, exclusion and unequal participation in tourism;
  • Life behind the scenes: the worker perspective of the tourism world;
  • To host or not to host: Conflict of values between residents and tourists;
  • Tourism de-marketing: When a destination is overcrowded. We hope you enjoy the sharing of ideas and exchanging of opinions.

Welcome to the Tourism Students' Virtual Conference 2014! Among this year's key questions are: How does an uncertain security environment and its attendant risks affect tourist behaviour? Who determines what an authentic experience is? How do factors such as our gender, ethnic identity and social status social affect our access to tourism? Can we tell the difference between fact and fantasy in holiday settings - and does it matter? Who participates in the extraordinary variety of niche forms of tourism? What are the key issues facing those working in the tourism sector?

Welcome to students from the Universities of Lincoln and Wolverhampton! We look forward to some days of stimulating debate in our 2013 Virtual Conference. We will cover a wide range of topics, with questions such as: Can tourists help to create world peace and promote development? Who determines what an authentic experience is? Can access to tourism be made fairer? How do tourists cope with the prospect of extreme weather generated by climate change? Can mega-events really change peoples lives for the better? How can we trust social media to give us good travel advice? Can we tell the difference between fact and fantasy in holiday settings and does it matter?

Welcome Wolverhampton and Lincoln tourism students, as well as other visitors! Our virtual conference is now well-established as a highlight of final year tourism studies, a forum for the discussion of ideas, of pushing boundaries, of critical questions - and hopefully, some solutions. This year, in line with our theme, we are inviting you to explore these key questions: What factors shape our desire to travel? How do an uncertain security environment and its attendant risks affect tourist behaviour? Can tourists help to create world peace? Who determines what an 'authentic' experience is? How do issues of class, race, age and gender affect access to tourism? Can access to tourism be made fairer? How do tourists 'read' artistic productions on holiday? This is bound to be an exciting conference - we urge you to explore all the conference stands to find out what you and your colleagues are saying about these issues.

Among the issues that delegates will be debating during this year's Virtual Conference are: the factors that shape our desire to travel; the risks of travelling in an uncertain security environment; the role that tourists can play in facilitating peace; what an 'authentic' tourist experience might be; how issues of class, race, gender, age and disability affect access to tourism; whether tourism can be made a fairer experience for all participants; and how tourists make sense of the environments in which they find themselves on their global travels. This is an exciting range of questions - we hope the conference will stimulate thought, discussion and ideas for further research!

This year's conference focuses very much on tourists - on their behaviour and on the way in which they access tourism. The first part of the unit examines such issues as losing control, taking risk and using space. The second part looks at the social and political factors that shape access to tourism.