Cluster 5: Leisure, Recreation and Tourism

NECTAR Cluster 5 is a scientific platform that seeks to bring together researchers from several disciplines related to leisure, recreation and tourism. The field of leisure, recreation and tourism is vast and comprises of a wide range of place-based and mobility-related, individual and collective leisure activities. Furthermore, it also contains related service industries that involve public sector, non-profit and commercial organizations. Leisure time is taken to encompass such activities as recreation, entertainment, arts and sports, digital hospitality systems, games, visiting parks, eco-tours, etc. In this context, tourism is seen primarily as a leisure activity involving travel away from a person’s usual place of residence; it also encompasses mobile activities such as visiting friends and relatives, business travel and day-tripping. Providing an international platform for knowledge sharing, debate and dissemination of research findings, the aim of NECTAR Cluster 5 is to be an inclusive community of scientists with an interest in mobility-related leisure behaviour, whilst also facilitating the discussion of new research areas and techniques in our contemporaneous leisure society.

Cluster 5 Co-Chairs: 

João Romão is Associate Professor in tourism sustainable development, information management  for tourism and tourism policy and planning at Yasuda Women’s University (Hiroshima, Japan). With an extensive experience as a consultant, researcher, and instructor in tourism, urban studies, and regional science, his research interests also cover aspects related to transports, wellness tourism, cultural heritage, innovation and creative economies. As an economist specialized in tourism (with a PhD. obtained in 2012), he often applies spatial econometric methods in the analysis of the spatial dimension of different economic questions, in particular related to tourism. With almost 60 publications and research experience in several countries from Europe and Asia, João has an extensive international network of research collaborations and integrates the editorial board of several academic publications. He is a founding member of this cluster.

Photo Peter Nijkamp

Peter Nijkamp is emeritus professor in regional and urban economics and in economic geography at the VU University, Amsterdam. His main research interests cover spatial mobility, regional and urban modelling, multicriteria analysis, transport systems analysis, mathematical systems modelling, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, tourism, environmental and resource management, smart city design, and sustainable development. In all these fields he has published many books and numerous articles. He is member of editorial/advisory boards of several 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 one of the founding members of NECTAR. He is past president of the European Regional Science Association and of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI). He is also fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW), 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 visiting professor at various foreign universities. Website:

Luca Zamparini  is Associate Professor of Economics and currently chairing the courses of Economics of Tourism at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Salento (Italy) and of Economics of Sport at the Faculty of Law of the same university. He has taught Economics of Transport and Logistics for the Master in Law and Economics of Transport and Logistics organized by the University of Bologna. His main fields of expertise are transport economics and tourism economics. In transport economics he has put 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. In tourism economics he has researched the seasonality of tourism demand and sustainable tourism, specifically in terms of sustainable mobility at tourism destination and among tourism destinations. Lastly, he is interested in the relationships between transport and tourism development. He has edited various volumes, 7 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.

Janika Raun is a tourism geography researcher at the University of Tartu, Estonia. She holds a PhD in human geography and regional planning (2020) from the University of Tartu. Her PhD thesis focused on the use of mobile positioning data for tourism destination studies and statistics. She did her postdoctoral studies at the University of Helsinki under a collaboration project between the Digital Geography Lab and Ruralia Institute, which focused on the spatial and temporal use patterns of second homes based on electricity consumption data analysis. She is an active member of the Mobility Lab at the University of Tartu, which is an interdisciplinary research group that studies human mobility and its associations with society and the environment using mobile (big) data. Her research interests focus on analyzing human (tourist) mobility using various big data sources such as mobile phone data, GPS, and electricity data. She is also teaching courses on human geography and tourism geography at the University of Tartu.
More information about her publications and projects:

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