Emerging Scholar Profile-Dr. Paola Vizcaino


  • Paola Vizcaino Bournemouth University


I am an early career researcher and lecturer in events management at Bournemouth University, UK. Before embarking on an academic career, I worked as head of the Investment Projects Department at the Ministry of Tourism in central Mexico, where I supervised tourism investment projects and organised a wide range of events. I hold a master’s degree in Tourism Management and Planning from the University of Alicante (Spain), and a PhD in Tourism Studies, which was awarded by the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico (UAEMex) in 2016, with funding from the Mexican Commission for Science and Technology (CONACyT). Drawing from feminist and gender frameworks, my PhD thesis investigated women’s processes of empowerment in relation to their work as producers and vendors of pottery handicrafts catering to the tourist market in central Mexico. The thesis contributed to the understanding of women’s lived experiences, negotiation processes and pathways for empowerment in tourism within the Latin American context.


The first peer-reviewed articles based on my PhD research were published in the Spanish journals Cuadernos de Turismo (University of Murcia) and PASOS: Journal of Tourism and Cultural Heritage (University of La Laguna). I also published a book chapter in the volume entitled Gender Equality and Tourism: Beyond Empowerment, edited by Dr Stroma Cole (University of the West of England, UK). Findings from my research support the notion that women become economically empowered when they are in control of their income. Psychological empowerment follows when women’s work and contributions are publicly recognised by local authorities, the broader community or by domestic and international visitors. My research on women’s empowerment in tourism has recently been cited by the UN World Tourism Organisation’s Global Report on Women in Tourism - Second Edition.


Besides these formal research outputs, I co-wrote, co-directed and co-produced a short documentary film that narrates the stories of five women artisans from the “Magical Town” of Metepec, who participated in my PhD’s ethnographic study (currently in post-production). The objectives of the documentary were to examine the gendered experiences of women artisans in a male dominated activity, and to recognise women’s contributions to the preservation of local cultural heritage. The visual and narrative practices employed in the documentary aim to illustrate the obstacles faced by the protagonists in a patrilineal society, while showcasing their achievements, creativity and perseverance. The documentary was the product of interdisciplinary collaboration between local stakeholders (five women potters who participated in my PhD research); two undergraduate film students who assisted in the stages of pre-production and production; and two colleagues with history and film backgrounds that helped me develop the project.


Overall, my research interests are concerned with tourism development in Latin America, women’s lived experiences as producers and consumers of tourism, gender equality policies in tourism, and the links between tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More recently, my research has engaged with the critical examination of gender inequalities in tourism production and consumption, including gender-based violence (GBV). GBV is an under-theorised subarea of gender and tourism scholarship, which requires inter-disciplinary approaches that can build on the theoretical and methodological diversity of gender, feminist and social science frameworks. The analysis of GBV in tourism is crucial to engage with the broader societal challenges put forward by the UN SDGs, particularly the goal of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.


In 2018, I invited my colleagues Heather Jeffrey (Middlesex University, Dubai, UAE) and Claudia Eger (Copenhagen Business School) to co-convene the conference session entitled “Traversing Landscapes of Gender Based Violence”, as part of the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference held in Cardiff University, UK. The discussions generated in this session motivated my co-conveners and I to propose an edited collection on GBV in tourism. The book, published with CABI in August 2020, explores trafficking, sexual harassment in the tourism and hospitality industries, fourth-wave feminism, men’s rights groups and women’s personal safety in leisure travel (see book link here). I hope the book contributes to promote a wider debate on GBV among tourism academics and practitioners.


In terms of my educational practice, I am a member of the Higher Education Academy (2018) and the Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) in Events Management at Bournemouth University (UK), where I lead the Event Design and Live Event Development and Delivery units. I also supervise several undergraduate dissertations and a PhD thesis on sexual harassment in the hospitality industry. As part of my academic citizenship, I co-convene the BU Business School’s Gender Research Group, serve on the editorial board of the first tourism journal in Mexico (El Periplo Sustentable), and joined the Editorial Board of an exciting new online resource called “Tourism Cases” that CABI is launching in association with TEAM. I recently became an associate at UK-based charity Equality in Tourism.


I am also working to develop a bidding track and establish collaborative networks between UK and Latin American higher education institutions. For example, in the latest round of the British Academy Writing Workshop scheme, I led a successful application along with Dr Jayne Caudwell (Bournemouth University) and Dr Isis Arlene Díaz-Carrión, Coordinator of the PhD programme in Tourism, at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC) campus Tijuana, Mexico. The project is directed at Mexican PhD students and early career researchers (ECRs) in the disciplines of leisure and tourism management. In partnership with the Faculty of Tourism and Marketing at UABC-Tijuana, the writing workshop will provide networking opportunities and personalised mentoring for participants to access the scholarly requirements of high-ranking journals in English. The workshop will also incorporate a session on writing grant applications.


In the near future, I hope to consolidate my research on gender and tourism and to formalise a collaborative network between UK-based and Latin American scholars.






Emerging Scholar Profiles

How to Cite

“Emerging Scholar Profile-Dr. Paola Vizcaino” (2020) e-Review of Tourism Research, 18(2), pp. 337–338. Available at: https://ertr-ojs-tamu.tdl.org/ertr/article/view/725 (Accessed: 21 May 2024).