Cluster 5: Leisure, Recreation and Tourism

The NECTAR Cluster 5 is thought to bring together leading researchers from a number of disciplines related to leisure and tourism. The field of leisure, recreation and tourism is a large one, containing a wide range of individual and collective human activities. Furthermore, it can be seen as service industries that involve public sector, non-profit and commercial organizations. Leisure is taken to encompass such activities as recreation, involvement in the art and sports (as spectator or participant), hobbies, games, visiting parks, etc. Tourism is seen primarily as a leisure activity involving travel away from a person’s normal place of residence, but also encompassing such activities as visiting friends and relatives, business travel and day-tripping. Providing an international platform for debate and dissemination of research findings, the aim in NECTAR Cluster 5 is to be inclusive rather than exclusive, whilst also facilitating the discussion of new research areas and techniques.

This first meeting is held in Lugano (Switzerland) 29th September – 1st October 2016.

Cluster 5 Co-Chairs: 

eric-vaz0Eric Vaz is Associate Professor at the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Ryerson University. He holds a PhD in Information Management, speciality in Geographic Information Systems from the New University of Lisbon. He is Editor of Elsevier’s Habitat International, and Vice-President of the Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics (CIEO) in Portugal. With over seventy scholarly contributions in his field he has developed the Laboratory for Geocomputation and acquired over the last three years more than 2 million dollars in research funding. Presently, he is completing a monograph for Springer dealing with the regional challenges in Southern Europe. He specializes in the integration of complex systems and spatial analysis methods applied for regional decision making processes, Geographic Information Systems and regional science. Website:

Photo Peter NijkampPeter Nijkamp is professor in regional and urban economics and in economic geography at the VU University, Amsterdam. His main research interests cover quantitative plan evaluati­on, regional and urban modelling, multicriteria analysis, transport systems analysis, mathe­matical systems modelling, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, environmental and resource management, and sustainable development. In all these fields he has publis­hed many books and numerous articles. He is member of editorial/advisory boards of more than 30 journals. He has been visiting professor in many universities all over the world. According to the RePec list he belongs to the top-20 of well-known economists world-wide. He is past president of the European Regional Science Association and of the Regional Science Association International. He is also fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, and past vice-president of this organization. He has acted regularly as advisor to (inter)national bodies and (local and national) governments. In 1996, he was awarded the most prestigious scientific prize in the Netherlands, the Spinoza award. At present, he is honorary university professor. Website:

Photo Luca ZampariniLuca Zamparini is Associate Professor of Economics and currently chairing the courses of Economics at the Faculty of Law of the University of Salento (Italy), Department of Juridical Sciences. He has taught Economics of Transport and Logistics for the Master in Law and Economics of Transport and Logistics organised by the University of Bologna. His main field of expertise is transport economics with an emphasis on the qualitative attributes (i.e. time and reliability) of transport services and on transport security, from both the theoretical and empirical viewpoint. He has edited various volumes, 2 special issues and has published several articles or chapters for international journal or books. The most frequent methodologies that were used in his publications are multicriteria analysis, meta-analysis, and time series econometrics.  He has been chairperson, speaker and discussant at various European and international conferences. He is also co-editor of the Series on “Comparative Perspectives on Transportation Security for  Edward Elgar. Website:

joao-romaoJoão Romão is researcher at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Management and Economics (University of Algarve, Portugal) and guest lecturer at the Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration of Hokkaido University (Japan), with research interests and consultancy experience in tourism, urban planning, regional development and spatial econometrics. João holds a PhD in Tourism (University of Algarve) and a MSc. in Economics (University of Lisbon). He is a founding member of the Regional Science Academy (since 2015). Website:


Cluster activities: 

  • “Tourism and Transport: exploration of interdependencies” NECTAR Cluster launch workshop, 29th September – 01st October 2016, Lugano, Switzerland
  • Cluster 5 Thematic Session “Smart urban transports for tourists and residents” NECTAR international conference, May 31-June 2 2017, Madrid.
  • Smart Transport for Sustainable Tourism, NECTAR Cluster 5 international workshop University of Salento, Italy May 24-25, 2018.
  • The future of leisure: Tourism, mobility and transportation, Cluster 5 Special session at the 12th World Congress of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI), Goa, India, May 29 to June 1, 2018
  • International Conference on “Sustainable Tourism in the Digital World” 24-26 September 2019 in Visby, Sweden
  • Cluster 5: Cluster Thematic session “Tourism in Open and Happy Cities”, 14th NECTAR international conference, June 5-7, 2019, University of Helsinki
  • Clusters 5-6 Special Session for WRSA-PRSCO of RSAI 2020 on “Regional Science and Tourism”, Waikiki, Hawaii USA, March 18-21, 2020
  • NECTAR Cluster 5 workshop on “Transport policies and strategies in sustainable tourism” as as part of the International Conference “Policies and Strategies in Sustainable Tourism”, Berlin, June 18th-19th 2020
  • Cluster 5 Special Session on on “ICT, Transport and Tourism” at the RSAI congress,  Marrakech, Morocco from June 2 to 5, 2020
  • NECTAR Special Session in North American Meetings of the Regional Science Association International RSAI 2020, San Diego, CA, 11-14 November 2020
  • Cluster 5 International Workshop on “Smart Transport for Sustainable Tourism” at the University of Évora, Portugal, 12-14 September 2022