Research topics

Be a part of our research team!


The Masters by Research program within tourism studies is undertaken in collaboration with researchers at ETOUR.

The Masters by Research program gives you the unique opportunity to strengthen your knowledge of tourism as you get to plan and conduct a research project together with a senior researcher and potentially external partners. The full-time program is lasting two years and largely consists of your research work within your research group. At the same time, you are enrolled in courses with other Masters level programs. Together with your application you must submit a personal letter stating your interest in the programme and present your thoughts in relation to a preferable research topic.

Apply by April 15 2020
Contact: Head of Programme Sandra Wall-Reinius,


Research topics at ETOUR


Tourism and nature conservation

Supervisor: Lusine Margaryan

Since the establishment of the very first national parks tourism has been tightly involved with nature conservation. Tourism continues to play in important role in conservation and preservation of ecosystems and wildlife species as well as supporting livelihoods living in proximity to protected areas across the world. At the same time, tourism is highly dependent on high quality landscapes and biodiversity, using them both extractively (hunting, fishing) and non-extractively (wildlife watching). This relationship, though mutually dependent is not always sustainable and needs continuous research and management inputs. Together with the supervisor, the master student will develop a research that will explore the relationships between tourism and nature conservation and may be linked to the global efforts in the frames Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.


Accessible and Inclusive Nature-Based Tourism

Supervisor: Associate Professor Sandra Wall-Reinius

The student will be included in a project about accessible nature based tourism and outdoor recreation in Sweden. The aim of the study is to outline key aspects for improving the concept of accessible tourism strategies amongst outdoor recreation companies and public organizations. The project assembles experiences from disabled persons and various experts on accessibility. Of special interest is the aim to identify promising and cutting-edge practices among private and public stakeholders seeking to provide products and facilities for disabled tourists.


Nature-based tourism behavior and climate change

Supervisor: Associate Professor Maria Lexhagen

Research on behavioural aspects of tourism is highly topical in light of climate change. In particular, there is a lack of understanding of how and with what effects consumer attitudes, motivations, perceptions and intentions can change. This study will focus on the consumer perspective on tourism products and businesses within nature-based tourism where the tourism product per se may already have a strong link to sustainability in the minds of consumers. Methodologies include both surveys, interviews, case studies and netnography. For this topic the student may be a part of Mistra Sport & Outdoors but may also work independently.


Sustainable sports and outdoor recreation 

Supervisors: Associate Professors Sandra Wall-Reinius, Robert Pettersson and Maria Lexhagen or Professors Dimitri Ioannides and Peter Fredman depending on topic

The master student can choose to be a part of Mistra Sport & Outdoors, which is a research and collaboration program to create knowledge and solutions for increased sustainability in sports and outdoor recreation. The program includes several themes at different universities. At Mid Sweden University and ETOUR, the master student can be part of one, or several, of the themes focusing on (i) sustainable use of land and water in the Jämtland Mountains (ii) sustainable events, and (iii) environmental behavior, policy and future change.


Travel and tourism and the effects from the Corona crisis

Supervisor: Associate Professor Maria Lexhagen

The Corona crisis has had an enormous effect on peoples’ travel and tourism behavior and on businesses and organisations within the travel and tourism sector globally. Research in tourism consumer behavior on risks, specifically mentions health related risks as well as financial risks, psychological risks and social risks as factors that influence attitudes and decisions about travel and tourism. Furthermore, travel and tourism businesses are part of a complex and interlinked system of businesses and organisations that together form the tourism product. As such, they are subject to direct and indirect negative effects of a number of crises such as the Corona crisis. This topic will study the effects and changes in tourism consumer behavior as well as the effect and changes related to the tourism product from a business and organizational view.


Creativity and innovation behavior of lifestyle entrepreneurs in tourism

Supervisor: Professor Matthias Fuchs

The research is expected to study motivations and sources of creativity behind adaptive strategies (innovation behavior) of lifestyle entrepreneurs in selected Swedish tourism sectors. Key aspects of creativity are analyzed through qualitative methods, like entrepreneurs’ intentions and expected effects/ outcomes as well as consequences of the creative process and its outcomes for the society as a whole. The research is expected to consider Corvid-19 recovery strategies, as well.


Entrepreneurial networks in tourism

Supervisor: Professor Matthias Fuchs

The research is expected to study the networking behavior of entrepreneurs in the Swedish small-sized tourism sectors, thus, contributes to the network-based theory of entrepreneurship. First, context and focus of social interactions are studied through qualitative research methods. Second, network characteristics are identified through standard-software for social network analysis to inform about the robustness of entrepreneurial networks and the types of social relationships (e.g. formal/ informal, strong/ weak, direct/ indirect, temporal/ spatial).


Destination development – studies of changes in destination management and marketing

Supervisor: Associate Professor Maria Lexhagen

In this study, the master student will investigate central issues in stakeholder organization, including networks of collaboration, brand building, innovation and development in a complex network of interdependencies, opportunities and challenges connected to digitalization and competitiveness as well as scarcity of resources and competencies.


Popular culture tourism – studies of fans and destinations

Supervisor: Associate Professor Maria Lexhagen

Research on Popular culture tourism includes studies of fans and destinations associated with film, literature, music and other popular culture phenomena. This study area is linked to questions concerning the links between emerging and established fan cultures and their travel motives and behaviour, the impacts and challenges on destinations based on sudden or short term demand, destination and brand development based on new tourist segments, and issues of mediation of digital media in information and communication aspects of tourist’s needs and wants.


Tourism’s labour geographies

Supervisor: Dr. Kristina Zampoukos

Together with the supervisor(s) the student will develop a research topic within the field of tourism labour geographies. Possible topics include (but are not limited to); the labour and life of workers in the platform-based, collaborative service economy; sexual and racist harassment in the tourism workplace; the politics and networks of tourism labour migration; gendered geographies of tourism work; divisions of labour and the knowledgeable tourism worker.


Artificial Environments in Tourism

Supervisor: Associate Professor Sandra Wall-Reinius

Due to globalization, mass consumption, technological advances and innovations, we witness a development of indoor environments, which artificially reproduce climate and topography, such as climate controlled indoor skiing and aquatic centers. These artificial environments can falsify time and space, and therefore offer activities year round. Possibly, these environments could replace visits to ‘real’ locations. Together with the supervisor, the master student will develop a research topic that explores challenges and opportunities related to the development of artificial environments in contemporary travel and tourism.


Tourism and the Cultural and Creative Industries

Supervisor: Associate Professor Daniel Laven

This research area is designed to support and extend the City of Östersund’s membership in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). Östersund joined the UCCN in 2010 as a City of Gastronomy, and membership in the network has raised a number of opportunities and challenges in terms of sustainable local food systems, tourism development, and regional attractiveness. Together with the supervisor(s), the student will formulate a research question, and design and carry out an applied research project that helps advance Östersund as a member of the UCCN as a City of Gastronomy.


Tourism and Peacebuilding in Contested Spaces

Supervisor: Associate Professor Daniel Laven

This research area examines tourism’s ability to contribute to peacebuilding in regions affected by cross-cultural conflict. In recent years, ETOUR scientists have been conducting studies in the Middle East and the Western Balkans that examine how hostels can curate spaces for transformative dialogue in contested areas. Together with the supervisor(s), the student will formulate a research question, and design and carry out an applied research project that helps advance our understanding about the role of tourism in peacebuilding efforts.


Ethical leadership in tourism

Supervisor: Professor Matthias Fuchs

By building on theories of complex adaptive systems and ethical leadership, the research focuses on leadership practices in tourism, thus, analyzing and recognizing transformative leadership styles, ethical value-frames and behavioral and organizational outcomes (e.g. eudemonic tourism experiences, transformed stakeholder relationships, institutions, etc.). As the social purpose [telos] of leadership, the research is expected to consider and strengthen Corvid-19 recovery strategies, as well.


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