I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Tourism at the University of Westminster, specialising on sustainable development and the anthropology of tourism. Prior to that, I was a visiting lecturer at the University of Brighton, where I taught mainly on the Master programmes of Tourism & International Development and Tourism & Social Anthropology. I have a PhD and MSc in Tourism and International Development and a PGCert in Research Methods with a focus on Community Psychology from the University of Brighton as well as a PGCert in Higher Education from the University of Westminster. I have been a visiting lecturer at a variety of institutions, including the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, the Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral in Ecuador, al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Kazakhstan, HES-SO Valais Switzerland, MCI Innsbruck, University of Malta and the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. I have further been involved in capacity building for an international doctorate on Sustainable Tourism by the UNWTO Themis Foundation, taking place at the Universidad de Anáhuac, Mexico City.
I am part of the Austrian Society for South-East Asian Studies (SEAS), where I initiated and acted as project lead for the first SEAS summer university taking place in Thailand and Cambodia, and editorial board member of the Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies (ASEAS), where I act as managing editor for special issues within the areas of tourism, mobilities and international development.
At the University of Westminster I am further part of the academic misconduct panel as well as the Research Committee in the role of the Early Career Researcher representative.
I lead and lecture on both postgraduate and undergraduate tourism modules, including, amongst others, Sustainable Tourism in the Developing World, Tourism and Society, Dissertation UG and PG, Research Methods UG and PG, Tourism Planning, Understanding Tourism, Study Skills and Destination Development.
I particularly focus at the intersection between tourism, development studies and social anthropology and draw very much on case studies from the developing world.
I supervise students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, with my current PhD student Anishka Narula investigating Social Entrepreneurship in Thailand.
My main research areas are sustainable tourism for development, community-based tourism, community empowerment, tourism & power, social inequalities, tourism & social anthropology and tourism encounters. Until now, my geographical research focus has mainly been on the region of South-East Asia, particularly Thailand and Indonesia, and more recently London, small islands (e.g. Galápagos, Fiji) and Latin America. I am specifically interested in the ways marginalised groups use tourism for empowerment, as well as the multi-faceted power dynamics that shape tourism and specifically the tourism encounter in both developed and developing world.
I am lead editor for the forthcoming book by Routledge "Tourism and Development in Southeast Asia" together with Alexander Trupp and Huong Bui (released in April 2020) and editor on the forthcoming "Handbook of Niche Tourism", together with Marina Novelli, Joseph Cheer, Adam Jones and Claudio Milano.
My PhD research, which I completed in 2015, focused on community empowerment in community-based tourism in rural Bali, investigating power dynamics between the actors involved in CBT to identify possibilities for residents’ empowerment. Departing from a symbolic interactionist perspective, it shed light on the intangible dimensions of empowerment to lead to more beneficial community development through tourism.