Dominique Vanneste is Professor at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Division of Geography and Tourism. She is involved in the research groups of Human Geography and Tourism and is the director of a Research and Development Unit ‘ASTOR’ (Association for Tourism Research) as well as program director for the KU Leuven part of an Erasmus Mundus Master in Sustainable Territorial Development. She represents KU Leuven with the UNITWIN-UNESCO network and with the UNWTO Knowledge Network. Her main research interests and lecturing topics are: economic geography (regional development, networking and location factors), historical geography (relationship between landscape, heritage, identity and conservation) and tourism (sustainable tourism and governance, heritage tourism, geo-tourism, tourism as a regional development lever). She assumes research on World War I since 2009 with several international publications (book chapters in Sacred Places in Modern Western Culture, 2011; War and Tourism, 2012; Handbook of Dark Tourism Studies, 2016); presentations on international conferences; and ten project reports and master theses on different aspects of WWI and its relationship to the present day landscape, visitors and (tourism) products.

selected publications and talks:

Vanneste, D., Winter, C. (2016) First World War battlefield tourism: Journeys out of the dark and into the light. In Ph. Stone, R. Hartmann, T. Seaton, R. Sharpley, L. White (eds), Handbook of Dark Tourism Studies. London-New York: Palgrave Macmillan (in press).

Vanneste, D., Foote, K., (2012). War, Heritage, Tourism, and the Centenary of the Great War in Flanders and Belgium. In R. Butler & W. Suntikul (eds), War and Tourism (chapter 20, pp. 254-272). Oxford – New York: Routledge -Taylor and Francis Ltd.

Foote, K.E. & Vanneste, D., (2011). The Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium. In A.L. Molendijk, P. Post & J. Kroesen (eds), Sacred Places in Modern Western Culture (pp. 253-258). Leuven: Peeters.

Vanneste, D., Vanderstraeten, L. (2016) Mapping destination of visits to WWI sites: facts from the past, intentions for the future. Mappemonde -Special issue ‘Les espaces de la commémoration. Mémoires du premier conflit mondial et cartographies’ (in review).

Boone S., Decoster E., Germonprez K., Reyserhove S., Verstrynge C., under the supervision of D. Vanneste (2010). Draagvlak voor WOI-erfgoedtoerisme bij bezoekers/toeristen in de Vlaamse frontzone (Level of support for WWI heritage tourism among visitors/ tourists in the Felish front area): research report.


(2009). In Flanders Fields 2014. War, Heritage, Preservation, Tourism, Regional Identity and the Remembrance of WWI in Belgium, AAG, Las Vegas, March 22-27, 2009 (with K. Foote, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder)

(2009). War tourism (peace tourism?) in the First World War Battle Field Area. Opportunities for West Flanders as a non-mainstream destination from the search for niche experience, TTRA Canada Conference, Guelph, October 14-17, 2009

(2010). In Flanders Fields 2014-2018. Just another Case of Dark Tourism? Guest Lecture IGEAT, Brussels, February 12, 2010

(2011). Insights from and relevancy of visitors’ – tourists’ surveys in the Flanders WWI Battlefield Area, International Workshop ‘Landscapes and Sites of memory of the Great War’, organized by the Flemish Governement, Ypres/ Passendale, September 16-18, 2011

(2012) Visiting battlefields: Darkness of the site or darkness of the mind? Insights from a visitors’-tourists’ survey. AAG Annual Meeting, New York, February 24-28, 2012.

(2013), Visiting the WWI battlefield area : joining war and peace in a mental construct ? Peace Conference ‘Post Conflict, Cultural heritage and Regional Development’, Wageningen, October 9-11, 2013

(2016) What makes the transition from a war heritagescape to a memoryscape for the visitor?
The case of the WWI sites in Flanders (Belgium). Colloque international – projet UNESCO “Sites funéraires et mémoriels de la Première Guerre Mondiale (Front Ouest)”, Ecole militaire, Paris– 21&22 octobre 2016.