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Welcome to the International Competence Network of Tourism Research and Education (ICNT)!

The ICNT network was founded in 2006 by the West Coast University of Applied Sciences in Heide (Germany). From the very beginning, the aim of the network has been to increase the know-how in teaching and research in tourism management through close cooperation and exchange between selected international partner universities.
The ICNT is an association of international universities in the field of tourism, which commit themselves to a regular exchange about research and teaching. The cooperation of the members of the network is characterized by trust and openness. The intercultural exchange on current topics of tourism science and practice enriches the knowledge of all members and promotes their professionalism in teaching and research in tourism.
Activities of the network:

  • Annual conferences since 2007 (exception 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19)
  • Publications e. g. books as collected works in the publication series of the German Institute for Tourism Research or its predecessor IMT
  • International student exchanges
  • International teaching and research exchanges
  • Research Projects

The network constists of the following selected partner universities:

Anáhuac University (Mexico)

Short description
Universidad Anáhuac México focuses on a continuous training of Positive Action Leadership for professionals who aspire to occupy important positions within companies. The current offer of the university consists of 113 programs: 18 Doctoral degrees, 55 Master's degrees with more than 16,000 students in both undergraduate and graduate programs. With regard to tourism, four touristic bachelor degrees in the following focus areas are offered: one in tourism administration, one in international hotel management, one in restaurant management, one in gastronomy. Besides, two touristic master programs are provided, one in gastronomy business, and one in touristic destination management, and one Ph. D. program in international tourism (both of them in coordination with the UNWTO academy).

Core research competences

Alexander Oliver Scherer Leibold
E-Mail: ascherer(at)

Topic(s) of the conferences hosted so far:
2008 2nd ICNT conference: Culture Tourism
2014 8th ICNT conference: Tourism policies in your country

Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand)

Short description
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020, AUT is New Zealand’s youngest and second largest university. As the University for the Changing World, AUT primarily offers programs on four campuses with an applied focus, preparing students for work in the “real world”. AUT is consistently highly ranked; in the Top 100 universities globally, and number one in New Zealand for Global Research Impact and International Outlook. Its various programs are also highly ranked, with including Hospitality and Tourism in the Top 75 globally.
The School of Hospitality offers a wide range of programs in the areas of tourism, hospitality, culinary arts and event management, including pre-degree qualifications, Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees. The Bachelor of International Tourism Management (BITM) was awarded the TedQual certification by the United Nations World Tourism Organization in 2019 for the first time. All Bachelor degrees include the one-semester capstone course Work Integrated Learning, where students apply their learnings in a real-world situation with an industry partner during their final semester of study.

Core research competences

  • Tourism and Technology
  • Coastal and Marine Tourism
  • Hospitality Research
  • Tourism and Marketing
  • Event Tourism
  • Pacific Islands Tourism
  • Cultural Heritage Tourism
  • Indigenous Tourism
  • Tourism and Community Development
  • Social justice issues in tourism

Professor Michael Lück
E-Mail: mlueck(at)

Associate Professor Heike Schänzel
E-Mail: Heike.schaenzel(at)

Dr Claire Liu (Senior Lecturer)
E-Mail: Claire.liu(at)

Topic(s) of the conferences hosted so far:
2010 – 4th ICNT Conference: The Human Side of Tourism
2017 – 11th ICNT Conference: Ecotourism in the 21st Century

Haaga Helia (Finland)

Short Description
Haaga-Helia is the second biggest university of applied sciences in Finland with about 11,000 students and 650 staff members. Haaga-Helia is a business-oriented university with the focus on business, tourism and hospitality and sport management. Through education, research and development, future professionals are prepared for business life, especially for the service sector.

Core research competences
Haaga-Helia’s strategic core competencies correspond to the needs of business life. Haaga-Helia has a strong profile as an expert in tourism and hospitality, entrepreneurship, sales and services. Haaga-Helia’s core competence areas guide university’s research and development activities.
Tourism and hospitality research and development activities are carried out on two campuses: Porvoo and Haaga. Research and development interests are responsible tourism, experience economy and travel intermediation. Porvoo campus is also known from its research in higher education development and pedagogy.

Jarmo Ritalahti
E-Mail: Jarmo.Ritalahti(at)

Eva Holmberg
E-Mail: Eva.Holmberg(at)

Topic(s) of the conferences hosted so far:
2013 – 7th ICNT Conference: Value Creation in Contemporary Destinations

NHL Stenden University (Netherlands)

Short description
NHL Stenden University is a university of applied sciences with its main campus in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands. The University has various campuses in the Netherlands and abroad: in Indonesia (Bali), Thailand (Bangkok), Qatar (Doha), and South-Africa (Port Alfred). The university offers over 150 programs at 14 academies. The university accommodates for 24,000 students and 2,000 staff. Education is based on the design thinking philosophy (design-based education) and co-creation between students, researchers and the working field in multi-disciplinary teams. Expertise is developed by means of applied research conducted by a few research institutions and 44 professors and their research groups (professorships). This research is focused on three key areas: Vital Regions, Smart Sustainable Industries and Service Economy. The educational program on tourism is provided by the Academy of Leisure and Tourism and offered in English. The Academy offers a Bachelor program in Tourism management of 4 years (full time) and a double degree Masters program in International Leisure, Tourism and Events Management (full time).
Further information

Core research competences
Tourism research is conducted by the European Tourism Futures Institute ( at the Academy of Leisure and Tourism, and the research group Tourism Futures and Scenario Planning (Scenario Planning | NHL Stenden), headed by professor dr. Albert Postma, for regional, national and international clients. The main areas of research are the future of tourism, strategic foresight & scenario planning, destination governance, resilience of destinations, adaptive capacity building of destinations, tourism-community relations (in particular overtourism and visitor pressure) and studies in and for the international Wadden Sea region. ETFI initiated the open access Journal of Tourism Futures as a platform to exchange knowledge and expertise in the future of tourism.

Dr. Albert Postma
E-Mail: albert.postma(at)

Topic(s) of the conferences hosted so far:
2019 – 13th ICNT Conference: The future of community engagement in tourism, Addressing the (im-)balance between tourism growth and local community involvement.

North West University (South Africa)

Short Description
The North-West University (NWU) comprises of three campuses situated in Potchefstroom, Mahikeng and Vanderbijlpark. The NWU is committed to functioning as a unitary, integrated, multi-campus university that enables equity, redress and globally competitive teaching and research across all three of our campuses. NWU core activities, teaching-learning and research, are intertwined with community engagement and innovation in their eight faculties, most of which serve both distance and contact students. The NWU offers more than just an education but offers people a place in the world. Academically, students benefit from great choice and flexibility, enabling them to fulfill their potential and start preparing for their careers. Through collaboration with other universities and institutions internationally, NWU is part of the global higher education community. The internationalization activities include student and staff exchange and cooperation in academic, research, cultural and sports matters.
The School of Tourism Management forms part of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the North-West University. The qualifications in this School are focused on preparing students for a dynamic tourism industry where one can apply ideas, skills and abilities. Competent and enthusiastic staff are ready to assist each student on their route in becoming a tourism expert. Several qualification opportunities are available due to the variety of occupational opportunities offered by the growing tourism industry in South Africa.

Core research competences
NWU research focuses on the following aspects:

  • Economic impact: Willingness to pay, behavioral economics, ticket purchasing behavior, competitiveness.
  • Social impact: community participation, effect on residents, poverty alleviation, politics in tourism etc.
  • Environmental impact: marine tourism, consumptive and non-consumptive behavior, ecotourism etc.
  • Tourism Marketing: profiling, branding, marketing efficiency etc.
  • Tourism Management: Competitiveness, service delivery etc.

Prof. Peet van der Merwe
E-Mail: Peet.vandermerwe(at)

Topic(s) of the conferences hosted so far:
2008 – 3rd ICNT Conference: Tourism Impacts
2018 – 12th ICNT Conference: Addressing tourist’s needs and trends in the next ten years

Sheffield Hallam University (England)

Short Description

Sheffield Hallam University is one of the UK’s largest and most diverse universities: a community of more than 30,000 students, 4,000 staff and more than 280,000 alumni around the globe.  

Our mission is simple: we transform lives.
We provide people from all backgrounds with the opportunity to acquire the skills, knowledge and experience to succeed at whatever they choose to do.    
As one of the UK’s largest and most progressive universities, our teaching, research and partnerships are characterised by a focus on real world impact - addressing the health, economic and social challenges facing society today.
We are ambitious for our university, our students, our colleagues, our partners, our city and our region. Our vision is to be the world's leading applied university; showing what a university genuinely focused on transforming lives can achieve.

The Department of Service Sector Management (SSM) has three subject groups:

  • Tourism and Hospitality
  • Events
  • Food and Nutrition

We have more than 2,000 students, including a large percentage of international students. We pride ourselves on the applied nature of our courses and the focus we have on employability. We deliver our undergraduate provision here in the UK but also overseas, e.g. Hong Kong. Recent developments in our undergraduate portfolio include:

  • Degree apprenticeships
  • Global mobility opportunities
  • Integration of language options for students
  • Student societies

Our undergraduate hospitality and tourism provision was recently awarded five years accreditation from EPAS - one of only three universities in the world to achieve this.

There are 12 postgraduate courses operating with intakes in September and January encompassing over 300 students.

Our facilities management portfolio engages with part time in-work students, including offering an MBA in conjunction with the Department of Management.

We have an active doctoral community - with over 25 doctoral students supervised in the department - alongside an active research and scholarly community focusing on REF outputs, case study development, books, conference papers, industry reports and consultancy etc.

Core research competences
The department's knowledge creation and exchange comprises a wide range of topics and applied research projects, using a variety of methodological designs. Many of these research interests relate to four interdisciplinary themes:

  • Responsible production and consumption
  • Leadership & socially just organisations
  • Digital transformation
  • Sustainable supply chain management

Dr. Alisha Ali
E-Mail: Alisha.Ali(at)

Topic(s) of the Conferences hosted so far:
2015 – 9th ICNT Conference: Embracing the Past, Visioning the Future: Hospitality and Tourism 2020+

Thompson Rivers University (Canada)

Short description
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is a public teaching and research university offering undergraduate and graduate degrees and vocational training. Its main campus is in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada and its name comes from the two rivers which converge in Kamloops, the North Thompson and the South Thompson. There are 25,748 students from 70 countries enrolled in 140 on-campus programs and approximately 60 online/distance courses at TRU.
The Faculty of Adventure Studies, Culinary Arts and Tourism Management have over 25 full-time, and over 100 part-time, faculty members. This team brings a diverse set of knowledge, experience and skill to create and deliver educational experiences that combine theory and practice that build confidence in students and impart the skills sought by employers in resort/hotel management, sport event management, event/conventions management and tourism management.

Core research competences
Research is one of Thompson Rivers University's five strategic priorities, and the Research Office is committed to helping distinguish TRU as among the province's research leaders.
As a member of the Research Universities' Council of British Columbia, TRU is bringing teaching, scholarly activities and research, creative practice and innovation together to deliver research-informed learning to students regionally, nationally and internationally.
TRU’s research excellence is supported through a commitment to research infrastructure, research facilities, internal research funding, research chairs, knowledge mobilization resources, and student research.
Graduates will be able to focus on the following core research competencies:

  • Contextualize tourism within global systems
  • Interpret/evaluate tourism as a phenomenon
  • Develop professional skills for industry
  • Embrace ethical practices and sustainable values
  • Conduct research
  • Develop communication skills
  • Advance critical thinking and problem solving
  • Support leadership development and teamwork

Dr. John S. Hull, Associate Professor, Department of Tourism Management
E-Mail: jhull(at)

Topic(s) of the conferences hosted so far:
2012 – 6th ICNT conference: Mountains and Lakes

University of South Eastern Norway (Norway)

Short description
University of South-Eastern Norway is the fourth largest university in Norway, with about 18,000 students and 1,600 staff spread over eight campuses. The university is recognized for its industry- and business involvement and close collaboration with local communities. This is also reflected in the educational programs and research competencies at the School of Business: Bachelor, Master, and PhD level programs offer high standard education in areas relevant for diverse jobs in branches such as technology, trade, and tourism. The School of Business offers a bachelor program in International Tourism and Sustainable Development in Campus Bø.
Core research competences
Tourism research is carried out by researchers from all campuses. Focus of research are in the following areas:

  • Destination development
  • Tourism marketing
  • Innovation
  • Sustainable tourism

Within these areas, the School of Business has ongoing in cooperation with tourism companies, destinations, and municipalities.

Jan Velvin
E-Mail: jan.velvin(at)
Marit Gundersen Engeset
E-Mail: marit.engeset(at)

Topic(s) of the conferences hosted so far:
2022 – 14th ICNT Conference: Tourism in a Changing World
2011 – 5th ICNT Conference: The development of all-year-round-tourism-destinations. International marketing and sales of destinations and tourism products

West Coast University of Applied Sciences (Germany)

Short description
The Westcoast University of Applied Sciences in Heide, Germany, currently counts 2,000 enrolled students and 180 200 staff. The academic program consists of nine Bachelor degree courses and eight Master courses. There is both a Bachelor and Master degree program in International Tourism Management.
Students can specialize in the following areas:

  • Digitalization and Tourism
  • Tourism and sustainability
  • City and regional development
  • Destination management
  • Tour operator
  • Hospitality management

Core research competences
The West Coast University of Applied Sciences is home for the, in 2020 founded, German Institute for Tourism Research. The German Institute for Tourism Research emerged from the Institute for Management and Tourism (IMT), which since its founding in 2006 - measured by the number of employees - has developed into the largest In-Institute in tourism at a German university.
The main objectives are:

  • Conduct innovative studies and projects with practical usability
  • Knowledge transfer between the University and the economy
  • Embedding research into student programs
  • Generating output for the scientific community
  • Supporting junior scientists
  • Promoting advanced training and qualification in tourism

Dipl. Kffr. Anne Köchling MTM
E-Mail: koechling(at)

Topic(s) of the conferences hosted so far:
2007 1st ICNT conference: National Parks and Tourism
2016 10th ICNT conference: Inter- and transdisciplinary Tourism Research – a global approach

Every member fulfils the following criteria:

I) Country oriented criteria:

  • Partner universities are based in countries which are and will be major tourism destinations and drivers now and in the future.
  • Partner universities are spread around the world - only one partner university per country can be selected and the number of members is generally limited.

II) University oriented criteria:

  • Existence of a touristic course of studies and a research unit in the field of tourism
  • Two nominated contact persons who are in charge of the coordination of the activities within the network
  • Participation in the annual conferences (financing of the cost for travel) of at least one contact person and preferably willingness to host conferences at the home university
  • Participation in research projects and publications
  • Willingness to cooperate in student and staff exchanges

Director German Institute for Tourism Research and founder ICNT I West Coast University of Applied Sciences  
Prof. Dr. Bernd Eisenstein
Tel.: +49 481 / 8555 545
E-Mail: eisenstein(at)

Coordinator ICNT I West Coast University of Applied Sciences
Dipl.-Kffr. Anne Köchling MTM
Tel.: +49 481 / 8555 556
E-Mail: koechling(at)

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