Research is a joint effort. You never do things alone, but with your colleagues and research team. Hence, my contribution is added to the collective effort to promote and advocate for responsible and sustainable tourism while using responsible and solid research methods. Sustainable tourism will allow the next generations to enjoy the assets of the earth and the locals to benefit from tourism. Resilient and sustainable tourism is the key to ensuring the natural environment and mitigate climate change. Valid and reliable research methods are the keys to responsible science. Hence, like many other researchers, I see the two constructs: responsible tourism and research methods, as inseparable.
I am involved in three interrelated areas of sustainable tourism research: environmental issues, tourism and gender, and sustainable transportation.
First, I joined the research on tourism and the environment. I extended my knowledge in Ecosystem Services conceptualization and joined the EU COST action of Tourism, Wellbeing and Ecosystem Services (TObeWELL). Consequently, we published two quantitative works (Smith & Ram, 2017; Ram and Smith, 2019) on the impact of landscapes. After that, I was asked by The Ma’arag (the organization for assessing the state of Israeli’s nature) to lead the Cultural Service chapter in the Israeli National Assessment of Ecosystems Services. As part of this project, I worked to assimilate the framework of “Cultural Ecosystem Services” among Israeli Scholars. The products of this intensive work include two reports (Ram, 2017, 2020) and a methodological paper (Lotan et al., 2018), which offers mapping methods for ecosystems assessment.
Second, I was engaged in gender studies. Tourism is a highly gendered industry, and it has high rates of sexual harassment. My interest in the topic started well before it was well-known and developed as it is today. In fact, our review paper regarding sexual harassment in tourism (Ram et al., 2016) was initially rejected by a leading journal, stating the topic is not interesting enough. However, this rejection did not weaken my interest in the subject, and I even extend my study, to investigate the working conditions of employees in the tourism industry (Ram, 2019). Recently, I did a systematic review on the issue of sexual harassment in tourism in light of the Metoo movement (Ram, 2021). On the front of LGBT tourism, I cooperated with an LGBT scholar, Dr. Kama, as well as other scholars, and together we quantitively examined the perceptions of tourists (gay and non-gay) on LGBT tourism to Tel Aviv, Israel (Kama & Ram, 2020, Ram et al., 2019).
Third, I collaborated in several studies on tourism and low-carbon transportation. The tourism industry heavily affects the environment through emissions. While the awareness of climate change is, for the most part, increasing, the tourism industry continues to pollute without mitigating its impacts. We tried to understand why tourism is unsustainable by using a conceptual and psychological perspective (Ram et al., 2013). Together with Prof. C. Michael Hall, I explored the potential of walking to tourism (Hall et al., 2017, Hall & Ram, 2019b, Ram & Hall, 2018), also by using online data and analyzed secondary resources (Hall & Ram, 2018, 2019a). Recently, I joined researchers of ICT and transportation. Together, we utilized big-data tools to deepen the understanding of the links between public transport and tourism (Ram et al., 2021).
The outbreak of COVID-19 deeply affected my research priorities. I began focusing on the implications of this crisis on the tourism industry while using qualitative and quantitative methods. In a qualitative work, we analyzed the recovery plans of countries and their correspondence to long-term and sustainable goals (Collins-Kreiner & Ram, 2020). A quantitive work on trends in public attitudes before and after vaccination is still under review.
My plans for the next five years are threefold. I wish to integrate better the academic and scientific interrelations between tourism and environmental studies; to continue following the developments in gender studies and ICT and their consequences on the tourism industry; and provide evidence for policies regarding the recovery from COVID-19 and the use of low carbon transportation in tourism. Finally, as an overreaching goal, I also aim to keep improving the academic field of tourism and its links to the tourism industry by providing advanced research methods. Indeed, by using new research methods and promoting research on cutting-edge issues of social, environmental, technological and health-related aspects of tourism, I aim to contribute to the tourism industry in times when it mostly needs it.
Written by Yael Ram, Ashkelon Academic College, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Read Yael’s letter to future generations of tourism researchers
Collins-Kreiner, N., & Ram, Y. (2020). National tourism strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Annals of Tourism Research, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2020.103076
Hall, C.M., & Ram, Y. (2016). Heritage in the IPCC Reports: A Lexical Assessment. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 11(1), 96-104.
Hall, C.M., & Ram, Y. (2018). Walk Score® and its potential contribution to the study of walking and walkability: A critical and systematic review. Transportation Research Part D, 61, 310-324.
Hall, C.M., & Ram, Y. (2019a). Measuring the relationship between tourism and walkability?: Walk Score and English tourist attractions. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 27(2), 223-240.
Hall, C.M, & Ram, Y. (2019b). Weather and climate in the assessment of tourism related walkability. International Journal of Biometeorology, 1-11.
Hall, C.M., Ram, Y., & Shoval, N. (Eds.) (2017). The Routledge international handbook of walking. Abingdon: Routledge.
Kama A., & Ram, Y. (2020). “Hot Guys in Tel Aviv”: Pride Tourism to Israel. Israel Studies Review,35(1), 79-99.
Lotan, A., Kost, R., Mandelik., Y, Peled, Y., Chakuki, D., Zemah Shamir, S. & Ram, Y. (2018). National scale mapping of ecosystem services in Israel – genetic resources, pollination and cultural services. One Ecosystem, 3: e25494.
Ram, Y (Ed). (2017). Cultural Services. in A. Lotan, U. Safriel, & E. Feitelson (Eds.) Ecosystem services and human well-being: Interim report of the Israeli National Assessment. Pp. 81-87. Tel Aviv: Ha’Ma’arg. [in Hebrew].
Ram, Y. (2019). Hostility or hospitality? A review on violence, bullying and sexual harassment in the tourism and hospitality industry. Current Issues in Tourism, 21(7), 760-774.
Ram, Y. (Ed). (2020) Cultural Services. in A. Lotan, S. Grosbard, U. Safriel, & E. Feitelson (Eds.) Ecosystem services and human well-being: Final report of the Israeli National Assessment. Pp. 112-121. Tel Aviv: Ha’Ma’arg. [in Hebrew].
Ram, Y. (2021). MeToo and tourism: a systematic review. Current Issues in Tourism, 24(3), 321-339.
Ram, Y., Galtzur, A., & Rechavi, A. (2021). Identifying attributes of public transport services for urban tourists: A data-mining method. Journal of Transport Geography, 93, 103069, 1-8.
Ram, Y., & Hall, C. M. (2018). Walk Score and tourist accommodation. International Journal of Tourism Cities, 4(3), 369-375.
Ram, Y., Kama, A., Mizrachi, I., & Hall, C. M. (2019). The benefits of an LGBT-inclusive tourist destination. Journal of Destination Marketing and Management, 14, 1-8.
Ram, Y., Nawjin, J., & Peeters, P. (2013). Happiness and limits to sustainable tourism mobility: a new conceptual model. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21 (7), 1017-1035.
Ram, Y., & Smith, M. (2019). An assessment of visited landscapes using a Cultural Ecosystems Services framework. Tourism Geographies, 1-26. Doi 10.1080/14616688.2018.1522545.
Ram, Y., Tribe, J., & Biran, A. (2016). Sexual Harassment: Overlooked and under-researched. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 28 (10), 2110-2131
Smith, M., & Ram, Y. (2017). Tourism, landscapes and cultural ecosystem services: a new research tool. Tourism Recreation Research, 42(1), 113-119.