Silvia De Ascaniis – PhD in Communication Sciences at Università della Svizzera italiana – USI, Lugano (Switzerland). Silvia conducts research activities on different topics related to online communication, in particular: the role and impact of ICT in cultural tourism, in religious tourism and pilgrimage; the use of ICT to promote Heritage preservation; Heritage communication through ICT.
Her main commitments within the UNESCO Chair activities are:
– coordination of the initiative “#faces4heritage”, launched by the U.S. Government to challenge violent Extremism:;
– coordination of the re-design process of the Swiss Commission for UNESCO online communication;
– main researcher of the research line “ICT for religious and cultural tourism and pilgrimage”.
She was executive director of the UNESCO Chair Summer School “ICT4Cult”, held in Armeno (Piedmont, Italy), August 29 – September 9, 2016).
At USI, she is co-lecturer for two courses at the Bachelor level, and conducts several other teaching activities on online communication related topics. She is instructor of the Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) “eTourism: Communication Perspectives”, the first MOOC in eTourism, launched by USI in October 2015 (
She was Executive Director of the doctoral school Cross-Field (, February 2013 – September 2015), and the coordinator of the doctoral school Argupolis (, February 2013 – April 2015), both of them founded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).
Contact: Tel. +41 (0)58 666 4547
Personal webpage:

Emanuele Mele – a Ph.D student at the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI, Switzerland). He holds a Master degree in Economics and Communication, with a Major in International Tourism (USI). Emanuele is also serving the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism (IFITT) as Online Communications Officer. He is also a researcher at where he studies the process of localization (meant as cultural adaptation) applied to online communication in the field of tourism and cultural heritage.
Contact: email

Other collaborators

Asta Adukaite – (ex-coordinator) she holds a Ph.D. candidate in Communication Sciences from Università della Svizzera italiana (USI, Switzerland).  She holds a Master degree from the same university in Economics and Communication, with a Major in International Tourism (USI). Asta took part at the doctoral school CROSS-FIELD,, (collaboration of three Swiss Universities: University of Lugano, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and Universität St.Gallen), which addressed the subject of informal learning, and how digital technologies can help to promote it, as well as to better integrate it with formal learning in different learning contexts. She was also a researcher at lab and worked on applied research projects related to usability and user experience, mobile applications as well as professional training in tourism.
Contacts: tel. +41 (0)58 666 45 47, email

Laura Raimundo – (ex-collaborator) is currently completing a Master degree in International Tourism at Universita della Svizzera italiana in Switzerland. She has a Bachelor degree in Geography and Environmental Sciences from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. She was involved in preparing the promotion of the second edition of the Tourism Summer School, which happened in August 2015. Moreover, she contributed at the finalization of diverse reports such as the WHACY Game final report, and the UNESCO bi-annual report. She also joined the launching process of a WHACY Game for the Kenyan edition. Her academic interests include web design, culture and heritage, and sustainable tourism.

Evgeniya Chernysheva  (ex-collaborator) graduated with a Master degree in International Tourism at Universita della Svizzera italiana in Switzerland. She has a Bachelor degree in Business Administration in Tourism from the Technological Education Institute of Piraeus in Greece. She has been involved in preparing a report on the online presence of the World Heritage Sites, as well as in the organization of the IDEAL Tourism summer school in Universita della Svizzera italiana. Her academic interests include culture and heritage, sustainability, tourism and new media.

Elmira Gazizova – (ex-collaborator) graduated with Master degree in International Tourism at Universita della Svizzera italiana in Switzerland. She holds a Diploma in Political Theory at Philosophy Department (former Department of International Affairs and Political Science) at Kazan Federal University in Russia. Elmira has joined the eTourism Lab as an Intern on June 2013. She has been collaborating at preparing the report based on the research “Latin America and the Caribbean. The Online Presence of the World Heritage Sites”. Her professional and academic interests include intergovernmental cooperation, political and multicultural communication, eGovernment and eTourism related issues.

Theresa Karolina Schieder – (ex-collaborator) graduated in 2014 with a Master degree in International Tourism, an interdisciplinary program of the Faculty of Economics and the Faculty of Communication Sciences at Università della Svizzera italiana. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in “European Studies” obtained at Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (Germany). Since June 2012, Theresa has been working as a research assistant at Her main field of research is the application of mobile technologies to tourism. She has been working on the development of the “Travel Machine” during her internship at AM+A in Berkeley (CA), and has been responsible for the concept design and development of the new mobile application for the two World Heritage Sites in Ticino (Switzerland).


Visiting Postdoctoral researchers

Dr. Rayviscic Mutinda Ndivo holds a Ph.D in Tourism and Hospitality Management specializing in Tourism Management and Destination Competitiveness. He is a Lecturer in the department of Tourism Management at Kenyatta University, Kenya and currently a visiting Post-Doctoral Researcher in the UNESCO Chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites based in the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), Switzerland. Dr. Mutinda has previously served as a member of the Committee of Experts in the formulation of the IGAD regional Tourism Master Plan and currently appointed by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) as the National Tourism Consultant in the formulation of the Sustainable Tourism Master Plan for Ethiopia. In addition, he is also serving as the Tourism Advisor to the Government of the Makueni County, Kenya, in the mapping of the county tourism resources and services.
Contacts: tel. +41 (0)58 666 45 47, email:

Dr. Maria Garbelli holds a Ph.D. in Marketing and Management, and is specialized in global inter-firm networks and performance. She is Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Management at Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca (Milan, Italy), and director of the Summer School ICTs to Promote Sustainable Tourism: Tangible and Intangible Heritage between Cultural, Leisure and Gastronomic Tourism (August-September 2015). She spent a year as visiting Post-Doctoral Researcher at the UNESCO Chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites based at USI – Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano, Switzerland) and at Lab of the same University.


Website design and development

Maurizio De Rose – is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Università della Calabria in the field of e-learning and a visiting researcher at Università della Svizzera italiana (Lugano, Switzerland). His research area is mainly focused on e-learning and particularly on the development and evaluation of online learning environments in formal, not formal, and informal contexts.
Contact email:

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