Tourism, Wellbeing and Ecosystem Services: TObeWELL and the Instagram Effect: Cultural Tourism in the Digital Age, 20-22 October 2014, Torino, Italy

"TobeWell and the Instagram Effect": Cultural Tourism in the Digital Age

Organized by the COST Action IS1204 in conjunction with:

SiTI, Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation, Turin, Italy;

The Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, Israel;

The Center for Tourism, Pilgrimage & Recreation Research, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Haifa, Israel


Digitally driven globalized hyper-interconnectivity is having a profound effect on tourism, impacting upon the notions of travel, unending guest-host relationships and transforming previously accepted industry standards of authenticity, value, consumption, mobility and purpose. Much of this new technology is being applied to cultural tourism, a branch of special interest tourism revolving around cultural-based involvement in innovative and participatory client-focused travel that is used as a vehicle for generating physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Indeed, consumer-oriented information and communication technologies such as 24/7 social networking and the ubiquity of smart phones and other mobile online personal computing devices are integral to the contemporary tourism experience. Thus, for instance, well-being derived from visiting a given tourist destination is now a multi-functional shared emotion. In fact, the viral integration of instantaneous communication within the tourism industry has altered its very premise. Distant destinations, exotic cultures and wild environments are now familiarized objects, encountered both in and out-of-context and disseminated by and for an increasingly discerning public arena. This condition presents local service providers with a host of unprecedented infrastructure, environmental and organizational challenges. Prominent among them, the critical need to adjust branded tourism strategies so that they accommodate evolving, bottom-up shifts in client opinions, tastes and requirements.

The training school will examine how technology is affecting the tourism industry by exploring this phenomenon within the analytic framework of Tourism, Wellbeing and Ecosystem Services. The program focuses on the manner in which the pervasive digital realm is restructuring the interactions tourists are having with their hosts, each other and their peers back home and/or elsewhere. The overall intent of the workshop is to instruct participants in this discourse first by examining its theoretical dimensions and implications and then by encountering it first-hand though an interactive ICT-directed experiential outing. The training school participants—experienced and early stage researchers and doctoral students from assorted disciplines—will consider the complexities of this highly relevant topic from a number of standpoints. The program includes expert talks, “from-the-field” student presentations and a series of roundtable workshops. The theoretical discussions will be illustrated through examples borrowed from the local cultural tourism industry in which nascent technologies are modifying the relationship between guest/consumer and host/provider.

The training school is organized by SiTI, the Higher Institute on Territorial Systems for Innovation in Torino, Italy in conjunction with the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center and the Center for Tourism, Pilgrimage & Recreation Research in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa. The event is purposefully staged in Torino, a vibrant and sophisticated city known for its rich socio-cultural-commercial history. Hence, to supplement the lectures and classroom learning, the curriculum contains a experiential field-trip to a number of nearby tourism enterprises where training school participants can observe primary modes of digital cultural tourism in action.

Training School Applications should be submitted by:  September 10th, 2014 and forwarded by email to:

For more information please contact : Sara Levi Sacerdotti: , Joshua Schmidt:  or Noga-Collins Kreiner:


COST Action IS1204: Tourism, Wellbeing and Ecosystem Services (TObeWELL). The views expressed on this website are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of COST.