Tourism & Heritage TIG

Tourism & Heritage Topical Interest Group (THTIG)

The Tourism and Heritage Topical Interest Group (THTIG) is a sub-group of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) that plans events at the annual SfAA Meetings, organizes student awards, and shares tourism and heritage related information and announcements with members through social media and our list-serve. We are currently updating and “revamping” our list-serve and social media presence.  If anyone would like to join us, please contact Lawrence Ramirez at

Recap of THTIG (Virtual) Events, Salt Lake City 2022 

We hope that everyone had a wonderful time at the SfAA Annual Meeting. The THTIG would like to thank all our participants for sharing their research and insights at this conference. We look forward to building upon Tourism and Heritage research and conversation throughout the year.

Tourism and Heritage TIG Business Meeting (Virtual)

During the THTIG Business Meeting, our board underwent new configurations. Most notably, Vivian Gornik is our new Chair, while our former Chair, Stefan Krause, moves into to the Vice Chair position. We wish both Vivian and Stefan the best in their new board assignments. Following the conclusion of the SfAA Annual Meeting, the new board is as follows:

Chair: Vivian Gornik (Troy University)

Vice Chair: Stefan Krause (Lamar University)

List-Serve Manager: Sarah Taylor (California State University, Dominguez Hills)

Valene Smith Tourism Poster Competition Coordinator: Savannah M. Schulze (Purdue University)

Newsletter Column Editor: Lawrence Ramirez (University of California, Riverside)

Social Media Manager: Ellie Zelaya (California State University, Dominguez Hils)

We welcome our new board members, and we offer thanks to our returning members for their commitment to the THTIG.

Introducing THTIG’s New Social Media Manager: Ellie Zelaya

The THTIG would like to welcome our new Social Media Manager, Ellie Zelaya. Ellie will be taking over the Facebook and Instagram profiles and also setting up a new Twitter account for the Tourism & Heritage TIG. Ellie is an anthropology major at CSU Dominguez Hills, interested in LGBTQ+ community, autism community, film and social media culture, nerd culture’s effects on popular culture, urban anthropology, and immigrant populations in the U.S. Ellie expressed an interest in joining the THTIG as Social Media Manager because they believe anthropology is the key to making tourism a better and more respectful practice to the communities we are visiting and, with the rise of social media as a tool for learning, they believe this is the perfect opportunity to make a difference in the tourism industry.

Anyone with ideas for our various social media accounts can share them with Ellie Zelaya (Facebook), @ellie_zelaya (Instagram), or can email them at Please join us in welcoming Ellie! We think they’ll be an excellent addition to the TH-TIG board.

The Valene Smith Tourism Poster Competition 

This student poster competition honors the legacy of Valene Smith, a pioneer of tourism studies in the social sciences, who first published her seminal work Hosts and Guests: The Anthropology of Tourism in 1977. Valene Smith was one of the founding members of the THTIG. Through this award, THTIG celebrates and expresses gratitude for her vision. This is a special competition for the best posters on the theme of "tourism," broadly defined, including topics such as heritage, archaeology and tourism, ecotourism, and cultural resource management, during the annual meeting. Each year, one poster is selected to receive the top Valene Smith prize of $500 and two posters receive honorable mention with travel awards of $250 each. Unfortunately, due to an insufficiency of submissions, the 2022 poster competition was subsumed into the larger poster presentation format during the conference. Nevertheless, the THTIG would like to thank everyone who submitted a poster and who volunteered to judge the event. We look forward to getting the competition “back to normal” in the 2023 conference.

Update on the “Erve Chambers Tourism and Heritage Student Paper Award”

The “Erve Chambers Tourism and Heritage Student Paper Award” was established to honor the legacy of Dr. Erve Chambers and recognize his contributions to the anthropology of tourism and heritage, as well as encourage new and innovative avenues of inquiry within the field through an annual student paper competition. As a prize awarding competition, this competition is currently on hold as the THTIG raises funds to build an endowment of $10,000 as a sustainable source of funding for the competition's annual cash award. Those interested in contributing to the endowment fund can make a donation online through the SfAA’s secure website at and choosing "Chambers Tourism & Heritage Student Paper Award'' from the Funds drop-down list to ensure that your donation goes towards helping to build up the endowment for this great honor. All contributions are greatly appreciated!

Call for Newsletter Submissions

The THTIG newsletter is always in need of a robust community of contributors. Consequently, we are looking for volunteers to serve as assistant newsletter editors overseeing important departments for this newsletter column. The three departments that we are developing are: short articles, news and announcements, and media reviews. If you are interested in learning more about these editorial opportunities, please contact Lawrence Ramirez (

For upcoming newsletters, we are accepting abstracts for short essays (1000-2500 words) to be published in this column. We are especially interested in submissions that relate to changes or adjustments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are interested in other tourism or heritage related topics as well. Submissions may include editorials, accounts of personal experiences in the field or in the classroom, reviews of a recent book or film on tourism, arguments for or against a certain view on a tourism-related matter, etc. Abstracts should be no more than 200 words and may be submitted to Lawrence Ramirez ( Submissions are currently being accepted for the May 2022 newsletter. We look forward to hearing from our members. Thank you.


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