Visual turn in tourism, hospitality and leisure research

Submissions open 1st December 2023


The landscape of tourism, hospitality and leisure studies has historically been dominated by number- and word- based research, somewhat similar to the wider social sciences and humanities. This phenomenon rapidly changed over the past few decades and visual based research started to emerge supported by the methodological publications in the wider social sciences and humanities (Banks, 2001, 2007; Banks & Zeitlyn, 2015; Margolis & Pauwels, 2011; Margolis & Zunjarwad, 2018; Pink, 2021; Prosser & Loxley, 2008; Rose, 2022) along with the first such methodological book-length publication in tourism (Rakić and Chambers, 2012a) and a special issue in events (Pernecky and Rakić, 2019).

The visual nature of imagination, experience/consumption and representation of tourism, hospitality and leisure could not be studied without the consideration, as Banks (2007) noted in relation to studies of society, of the visual. Visuals play a fundamental role in tourism (Urry and Larsen, 2011), both historically - in as far as the central importance of representational art within the various stages of the Grand Tour (Rakić and Lester, 2012; Franklin, 2018) is concerned - and within contemporary tourism, hospitality and leisure’s artistic, creative and popular visual culture which lies at the very heart of these sectors (e.g., Volo and Irimiás, 2021; Cohen et al., 2022; Richards, 2011). Importantly, contemporary technological advances have allowed for further developments such as instant sharing of photographs and videos online, and with these both the visual practice and the position of the visuals for tourists, destinations, businesses and other stakeholders in these sectors has also changed. These changes pose novel practical and scholarly challenges and knowledge gaps that require further attention (e.g., Balomenou and Garrod, 2019; Volo and Irimiás, 2021; Egger, 2023).

Although a number of fascinating visual and creative research studies and methodological publications emerged within the early stages of popularisation of visual methodologies, it was only the subsequent proliferation and widespread establishment of these methods as legitimate tools of scholarly enquiry that brought the multidisciplinary fields of tourism, hospitality and leisure studies to their ‘visual turn’. In aiming to make its own modest contribution to this increasingly evident ‘visual turn’, this special issue provides a space for a collection of articles showcasing some of the major contemporary themes of visual tourism, hospitality and leisure studies and an exploration of the variety of qualitative (e.g. Conti and Lexhagen, 2020; Matteucci, 2013; Scarles, 2012), quantitative (e.g. Cohen et al. 2022; Ma, Kirilenko and Stepchenkova, 2020; Yu and Egger, 2020, 2021), mixed (Filieri, Yen and Yu, 2021) or indeed creative (e.g. see Barbosa, 2020; Ivanova, Buda and Burrai, 2021) methods these studies are increasingly relying on. While acknowledging both that visual research is overwhelmingly multimodal, in that the visual is more commonly included and analysed alongside textual and/or numerical data rather than on its own, and that visual data can be collected, introduced, created (Rakić and Chambers, 2012b) as well as analysed (e.g. see Rose, 2022) through a reliance on a multitude of different methods - some of which are also innovative, unique and/or creative - this special issue invites proposals for papers on methodological approaches and themes across the fields of tourism, hospitality and leisure which may include but are not limited to: 

  • Studies focusing on any thematic aspect of visual imagination, experience/consumption and/or representation of tourism, hospitality and leisure.
  • In-depth (offline or online) qualitative studies of visual cultures of tourism, hospitality or leisure through a reliance on methods such as visual ethnography or netnography.
  • Tourism, hospitality or leisure studies projects which focused on collecting and analysing visual or multimodal data sets from secondary sources and subsequently analysed these through either qualitative or quantitative methods (e.g. big data analytics) of analysis.
  • Tourism, hospitality or leisure studies projects which incorporate an inclusion of visual data as either digital file(s) or material object(s) for the purpose of elicitation.
  • Tourism, hospitality or leisure studies projects which relied on photo-voice.
  • Studies which rely on the visual aspect of project data to produce a creative research output such as an exhibition, a video, a multimedia webpage or a documentary.

Types of submissions

For this special issue, the guest editors will consider these submission types:

  • Full-length papers (both empirical and conceptual) - 6500 words including references
  • Research notes (both empirical and conceptual) - 3500 words including references
  • Cutting-edge short commentaries on contemporary topics and emerging topics (only conceptual) - 1500 words including 15 references.

Submissions information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Author guidelines must be strictly followed.

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to”.

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Submit your paperAuthor guidelines

Key deadlines

Deadline for submissions of abstract proposal: 07/11/2023 – please use the template provided and send to [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] indicating the following subject line: CBTH – Special issue Visual Turn in THL.

Notification of abstract acceptance: 22/11/2023

Opening of the submission platform: 01/12/2023

Closing of the submission platform: 05/04/2024

Review process

Each paper submitted for publication consideration is subjected to the standard review of Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality. Based on the recommendations of the reviewers, the guest editors along with the Editor-in-chief will decide whether particular submissions will be accepted, revised or rejected. All papers need to strictly adhere to the specific guidelines of the journal Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality.

Please note that accepted articles will benefit from Emerald EarlyCite.

EarlyCite is the author proofed, typeset version of record, fully citable by DOI. At the beginning the EarlyCite article sits outside of a journal issue and is paginated in isolation. The EarlyCite article will later be collated into the special issue envisioned, according to the journals’ publication schedule, for spring/summer 2025.


Balomenou, N., & Garrod, B. (2019). Photographs in tourism research: Prejudice, power, performance and participant generated images. Tourism Management, 70, 201–217.

Banks, M. (2001) Visual Methods in Social Research, London: Sage.

Banks, M. (2007) Using Visual Data in Qualitative Research, London: Sage.

Banks, M. and Zeitlyn, D. (2015) Visual Methods in Social Research, London: Sage.

Barbosa, N. (dir.) Creative Tourism in Portugal [a 38 min documentary]. Available on Youtube [Accessed 19 August 2023].

Cohen, S., Liu, H., Hanna, P., Hopkins, D., Higham, J., & Gössling, S. (2022). The rich kids of Instagram: Luxury travel, transport modes, and desire. Journal of Travel Research, 61(7), 1479-1494.

Conti, E., & Lexhagen, M. (2020). Instagramming nature based tourism experiences: A netnographic study of online photography and value creation. Tourism Management Perspectives, 34, 100650.

Egger, R. (2023). Characterizing traveling Instagrammers: an exploration of socio-psychological concepts, travel typologies and posting motives. Consumer Behavior in Tourism and Hospitality, 18(3), 269-292.

Filieri, R., Yen, D. A. and Yu, Q (2021) #ILoveLondon: An exploration of the declaration of love towards a destination on Instagram. Tourism Management, 85, 104291.

Franklin, A. (2018) "Art Tourism: A New Field for Tourist Studies", Tourist Studies, 18 (4) pp. 399-416.

Ivanova, M., Buda, D.-M. and Burrai, E. (2021) Creative and Disruptive Methodologies in Tourism Studies, Tourism Geographies, 23(1-2).

Ma, S., Kirilenko, A., & Stepchenkova, S. (2020). Special interest tourism is not so special after all: Big data evidence from the 2017 Great American Solar Eclipse. Tourism Management, 77, 104021.

Margolis, E. and Pauwels, L. (Eds.), (2011) The SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods, London: Sage.

Margolis, E. and Zunjarwad, R. (2018) ‘Visual Research’ in Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, London: Sage, 600-626.

Matteucci, X. (2013). Photo elicitation: Exploring tourist experiences with researcher found images. Tourism Management, 35, 190–197.

Pernecky, T. and Rakić, T. (2019) Visual Methods in Event Studies, Event Management, 23 (2).

Pink, S. (2021) Doing Visual Ethnography (4th ed). London: Sage.

Prosser, J. and Loxley, A. (2008) "ESRC National Centre for Research Methods Review Paper: Introducing Visual Methods", [Accessed 19 August 2023].

Rakić, T. and Chambers, D. (2012b) ‘Introducing Visual Methods to Tourism Studies’ in Rakić, T. and Chambers, D. (Eds.), An Introduction to Visual Research Methods in Tourism, London: Routledge.

Rakić, T. and Chambers, D. (Eds.), (2012a) An Introduction to Visual Research Methods in Tourism, London: Routledge.

Rakić, T. and Lester, J. A. (Eds.), (2013) Travel, Tourism and Art, London: Ashgate/Routledge.

Richards, G. (2011) Creativity and Tourism: the state of the art. Annals of Tourism Research, 38 (4), 1225-1253.

Rose, G. (2022) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials (5th ed). London: Sage.

Scarles, C. (2012). The photographed other: The interplays of agency in tourist photography in Cusco, Peru. Annals of Tourism Research, 39(2), 928–950.

Urry, J., & Larsen, J. (2011). Vision and photography. In J. Urry, & J. Larsen (Eds.), The Tourist Gaze 3.0 (pp. 155–188). London: SAGE.

Volo, S., & Irimiás, A. (2021). Instagram: Visual methods in tourism research. Annals of Tourism Research, 91, 103098.

Yu, C. E., Xie, S. Y., & Wen, J. (2020). Coloring the destination: The role of color psychology on Instagram. Tourism Management, 80, 104110.

Yu, J., & Egger, R. (2021). Color and engagement in touristic Instagram pictures: A machine learning approach. Annals of Tourism Research, 89, 103204.