Hi everyone! I’m Jeroen Nawijn, a Senior Lecturer at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences. At NHTV, I coordinate the professional bachelor thesis of the International Tourism & Travel Industry study program (ITTI). For that specific program I also coach students, supervise bachelor theses and lecture on research methods and psychology/consumer behavior. For the BTO program I am a member of the Program Committee, I supervise thesis students and I lecture for the Tourism; Principles and Practice course and the Consumer Behavior and Marketing Management course. Next to my coordination and teaching, I do a lot of research related to tourist experiences. My research involves mostly quantitative research and I generally focus on tourists or visitors. Thus, I do a lot of visitor studies and online panel studies. I was asked to write a bit about what I research exactly. So here it goes.

I started my PhD late 2007 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. I did my PhD next to my job at NHTV. The main question I addressed in my PhD was whether individuals become happier through vacationing, and if so, for how much and for how long. In the Netherlands there are two ways of doing a PhD. You either write a monograph, or you bundle a number of articles together and add an Introduction and Discussion section, once you have a sufficient number of articles that jointly address a specific topic. I did the latter and so my PhD thesis eventually contained 5 articles and 2 book chapters. The advantage of this approach is that you already have publications out before you finish your PhD. After I finished my PhD in May 2012, I continued to conduct research in the field of tourism and happiness, but I also shifted my focus a bit. I’ll get back to that later.

First I want to mention that I have been involved in research on sustainable tourism since 2004 – before I started my PhD. My master’s program at Tilburg University was focused on sustainable tourism and I managed to join NHTV’s Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Transport (CSTT) in 2004. I am still a member of CSTT and heavily involved in all sorts of CSTT projects related to sustainable tourism. At times, we have been able to combine my research interest of tourists’ happiness with sustainable tourism issues. We also often serve as a thesis commissioner for BTO students.

Since 2012, I have become interested in studying visitor reactions to “dark tourism” sites. I’m not exactly sure why, but I believe that at some point I got a bit fed up reading about all the potentially positive benefits of positive emotions. It seemed as if negative emotions were simply seen as leftovers from evolution. I do not agree with that view and I see negative emotions as an integral part of certain tourist experiences. I also believe that under certain circumstances negative emotions have positive benefits. In 2012 I conducted research together with an ITTI thesis student at the Concentration Camp Memorial Neuengamme (Germany). Part of that study was an analysis on the intensity of visitors’ emotional response during the visit. This study has been published in an academic tourism journal. Following this study, we started a project on dark tourism/leisure experiences, partly funded via the Centre of Expertise: leisure, tourism & hospitality. This project has become a success in terms of how many thesis students have been involved in fieldwork. We managed to work with 6 enthusiastic thesis students, who gathered data in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany at various memorials. We are currently working on publications related to that project.

I hope this blog post has provided you with some insight into my research activities and that it inspires you to start your own!

[See the full list of all my research output HERE]

NawijnWritten by: Jeroen Nawijn