Jana during her graduation ceremony in September 2020

Jana was honoured 8 September during the ATLAS annual online conference for winning the ATLAS 2021 Master first prize. The Jury has decided to award the ATLAS 2021 Master first prize to Jana for her thesis: Exploring the Paradoxes of Privacy and Big Data Analysis in Tourism Destination Management. A case study: Austria.  

In this thesis Jana explored the utility of Big Data analysis in Tourism Destination Management while identifying the arising paradoxes regarding privacy. It seeked to derive practical policy implications that balance the needs of a digital tourism economy on one hand and the rights to privacy and data protection on the other. The thesis first concludes that the potential of Big Data analysis for Tourism Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) in Austria is high but vastly underutilized except for digital marketing and communication. 

Secondly, this study found three inherent paradoxes of privacy and Big Data: a paradox of supply and demand, the transparence paradox and a paradox of power and competition. Based on these findings, this research suggests nine recommendations for DMOs. The jury found this a thesis of outstanding quality, focusing on an important, topical and timely subject, thoroughly researched using a robust methodology, with very convincing and well-argued conclusions of great potential practical application by DMOs. In sum, the jury found the thesis a critical, analytical and intelligent piece of work.” 

How were you nominated? 

My supervisor Erdinç handed my thesis in to ATLAS and I was unaware of it until I received an email from ATLAS congratulating me. To be honest, I first thought it was a junk email – one of those “you won if you send us €10.000” emails. Then I did some research and realized it is a very prestigious price and consulted with Erdinç. I was then offered the opportunity to present at the conference and I thought it was a great opportunity to engage with others from the scientific community but also to share my results because you put so much effort into your thesis and it just feels great to receive feedback and possibly add some value through the results you have generated. 

Were you nervous? 

I was very nervous. I prepared double the number of slides I eventually used because there was so much to tell. The night before I practiced and managed to nail 16 minutes which of course I exceeded at the conference, but everyone was very polite about it! However, I also think it is super important to overcome your fears by just doing it and eventually you will get better at it. 

Do you have more ambitions in research? 

Yes, I do. Erdinç and I are currently working together on an article based on my thesis. I genuinely enjoy writing and researching so I would love to engage in more projects in the future! There is just something exciting about it. When you start out, you just have a question or an interest and then you are confronted with an overwhelming amount of input and data. You have no idea yet if you will be able to generate meaningful results and then you try to narrow things down more and more until suddenly a picture or a common thread emerges. It may be what you expected or something completely opposite. I think for me it’s a way of making sense of a highly complex world. 

What do you think of the collaboration with the TDM staff? 

It was absolutely great. If it wasn’t for my supervisor Erdinç, I would have never entered in the ATLAS competition or attempted to publish a paper. I received a tremendous amount of know-how and support from the TDM staff!