Dr Wenjie Cai

Dr Wenjie Cai BEng, BA, MSc, FHEA, PhD

Senior Lecturer in Tourism and Hospitality

Key details

Dr Wenjie Cai

Senior Lecturer in Tourism and Hospitality

Dr Wenjie Cai joined the University of Greenwich September 2017 after completing his PhD in Tourism from the University of Surrey. His PhD focused on reconstructing the 'three-layer system of culture' through the lens of the new mobilities paradigm and liquid modernity by exploring Chinese outbound backpackers' experiences in Europe.
Before joining Greenwich, Wenjie had various working experiences both in industry and academia. He worked for the University of Surrey, the University of East London and the world-leading tour operator TUI. Before he came to the UK, he was the President of the Student Union at the Fujian Normal University, China, and in charge of various projects in relation to human resource management, strategic planning, and event management.
Wenjie's area of expertise and research interests include intercultural communication, social inclusion, consumer behaviours, mobilities studies, ICT in tourism, backpacker tourism, qualitative research methods, and Chinese outbound tourism. He has a strong interest in interdisciplinary collaborations – and is currently collaborating on research projects with academics from the UK, New Zealand, Finland, Malaysia and China in the disciplines of sociology and the information systems. Wenjie publishes research in world-leading journals in the field. His research also attracts global media attention, including BBC, Forbes, the Conversation, CCTV, La Vanguardia and Yahoo.

Responsibilities within the university

  • Teaching tourism and hospitality modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
  • Dissertation supervisors and personal tutor.

Wenjie is currently available for PhD supervision in the following areas:

  • Backpacker tourism
  • Tourist Behaviour
  • Chinese independent travellers
  • Effective use of technology in tourism/ digital-free tourism
  • Social inclusion and tourism
  • Mobilities


2019 Early Career Researcher Communication and Engagement Award – University of Greenwich

2016 Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Award – 8th World Conference for Graduate Research in Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure

2013 Ph.D. Participant Award - Celebrating and Enhancing the Tourism Knowledge-based Platform: A Tribute to Jafar Jafari


PhD External Examiner:

2019: University of Tasmania, Australia

2018: University of Otago, New Zealand

Special Issue Editor:

Gender and Sexuality in Tourism and Hospitality – Tourism and Hospitality Research journal

Reviewers for:

Annals of Tourism Research

Tourism Management

Journal of Travel Research

Journal of Sustainable Tourism

International Journal of Tourism Research

Tourism Geographies

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

International Journal of Tourism Cities

Tourism and Hospitality Research

Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences

Journal of Cleaner Production

IFIP World Computer Congress

Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences

Research / Scholarly interests

Dr Wenjie Cai's current research focus on digital wellbeing, diversity, equality and social inclusion in the context of tourism and hospitality. Projects includes study investigating the benefits of digital detox holidays, action plans to transform gender relations in tourism and hospitality, and inclusive LGBT holiday space.

Dr Wenjie Cai also conducts projects in relation to his PhD research. He is currently leading multiple projects in intercultural communications, such as investigating backpackers' authentic seeking through food consumptions, and hybrid identity negotiations and transformations through backpacker journey.

Wenjie interests in qualitative methods and epistemology in tourism. He is currently working on project to further explore (auto)ethnography, mobile methods, and critically investigate the knowledge creations in Information Technology and Tourism.

Key funded projects

2020-2021 KEEP+ Research Innovation Collaboration Grant (Principal Investigator): design a customised and unique digital-free travel experience, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

2020 Small Research Grant: Exploring the trends of knowledge creation in information technology and tourism research (Principal Investigator), Faculty of Business, University of Greenwich

2018-2019 ROOTS - Recognising Cultural Heritage Opportunities for Tourism SMEs (Researcher), co-funded by the Erasmus + Programme of the European Union.

Media activity

The Conversation:
Leave your phone at home this holiday and you'll feel better (after you feel worse): https://theconversation.com/leave-your-phone-at-home-this-holiday-and-youll-feel-better-after-you-feel-worse-121278

The Unbearable Lightness Of Traveling Unplugged

Evening Express:
Digital-detox holidaymakers reconnect with real world, study suggests: https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/news/digital-detox-holidaymakers-reconnect-with-real-world-study-suggests/

Medical Xpress:
Study reveals the emotional journey of a digital detox while travelling: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-08-reveals-emotional-journey-digital-detox.html

Holiday digital detox: This is the emotional journey you'll go through: https://www.stylist.co.uk/life/digital-detox-emotional-journey-new-research-what-happens-when-you-go-offline/286885

Digital-detox holidaymakers reconnect with real world, study suggests

Travellers 'engaged more with locals and each other' during holiday tech detox

Daily Mail:
'Digital detox' holidays where you ditch your phone let you enjoy your trip MORE 'because you won't be bombarded by notifications' https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7356493/Digital-detox-holidays-ditch-phone-make-enjoy-trip-more.html?ito=social-twitter_mailonline

US News:
Unplugging From Social Media on Vacation? It's Tough at First

The terrifying, liberating experience of traveling without your smartphone

Psychology Today:
The Emotional Roller-Coaster of a Digital Detox Vacation

Channel News Asia:
The worry, anxiety and emotional challenges of disconnecting while on holiday

Thrive Global:
You Have to Disconnect to Reconnect

Irish Times:
Nomophobia prevents millennials from switching off

Recent publications


Cai, Wenjie , Gebbels, Maria, Hafiz Zainal-Shukri, Wan (2021), Performing authenticity: independent Chinese travellers’ tourism dining experiences in Europe. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Tourism Management, 86: 104339 ISSN: 0261-5177 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2021.104339) NB Item availability restricted.

Usai, Roberto , Cai, Wenjie, Wassler, Philipp (2020), A queer perspective on heteronormativity for LGBT travelers. SAGE. In: , , , . SAGE, Journal of Travel Research ISSN: 0047-2875 (Print), 1552-6763 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287520967763).

Gebbels, Maria , Gao, Xiongbin, Cai, Wenjie (2020), Let’s not just ‘talk’ about it: reflections on women’s career development in hospitality. Emerald. In: , , , . Emerald, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32 (11) . pp. 3623-3643 ISSN: 0959-6119 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-05-2020-0385).

Waizenegger, Lena , McKenna, Brad, Cai, Wenjie, Bendz, Taino (2020), An affordance perspective of team collaboration and enforced working from home during COVID-19. Taylor and Francis. In: , , , . Taylor and Francis, European Journal of Information Systems, 29 (4) . pp. 429-442 ISSN: 0960-085X (Print), 1476-9344 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/0960085X.2020.1800417).

Cai, Wenjie , McKenna, Brad, Wassler, Philipp, Williams, Nigel (2020), Rethinking knowledge creation in information technology and tourism. SAGE Publications. In: , , , . SAGE Publications, Journal of Travel Research, 60 (6) . pp. 1377-1384 ISSN: 0047-2875 (Print), 1552-6763 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287520946100).

Lamb, Yasmin , Cai, Wenjie, McKenna, Brad (2020), Exploring the complexity of the individualistic culture through social exchange in online reviews. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, International Journal of Information Management, 54: 102198 ISSN: 0268-4012 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2020.102198) NB Item availability restricted.

Cai, Wenjie and , McKenna, Brad (2020), Knowledge creation in information technology and tourism research. Sage. In: , , , . Sage, Journal of Travel Research, 60 (4) . pp. 912-915 ISSN: 0047-2875 (Print), 1552-6763 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287520903142).

Floros, Christina , Cai, Wenjie, McKenna, Brad, Ajeeb, Dimah (2019), Imagine being off-the-grid: millennials’ perceptions of digital-free travel. Taylor & Francis. In: , , , . Taylor & Francis, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 29 (5) . pp. 751-766 ISSN: 0966-9582 (Print), 1747-7646 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2019.1675676).

Cai, Wenjie , McKenna, Brad, Waizenegger, Lena (2019), Turning it off: emotions in digital-free travel. SAGE. In: , , , . SAGE, Journal of Travel Research, 59 (5) . pp. 909-927 ISSN: 0047-2875 (Print), 1552-6763 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0047287519868314).

Cai, Wenjie , Richter, Shahper, McKenna, Brad (2019), Progress on technology use in tourism. Emerald Publishing Limited. In: , , , . Emerald Publishing Limited, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, 10 (4) . pp. 651-672 ISSN: 1757-9880 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1108/JHTT-07-2018-0068).

Cai, Wenjie , Cohen, Scott A., Tribe, John (2019), Harmony rules in Chinese backpacker groups. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Annals of Tourism Research, 75 . pp. 120-130 ISSN: 0160-7383 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2018.12.010).

McKenna, Brad , Cai, Wenjie, Tuunanen, Tuure (2018), Technology enabled information services use in tourism: an ethnographic study of Chinese backpackers. Association for Information Systems. In: , , , . Association for Information Systems, Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 10 (4) . pp. 37-64 ISSN: 1943-7536 (Print), 1943-7544 (Online) (doi: https://journal.ecrc.nsysu.edu.tw/index.php/pajais/article/view/490/229).

Cai, Wenjie and , (2015), Explorer travellers and adventure tourism. Taylor & Francis. In: , , , . Taylor & Francis, Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, 26 . pp. 318-319 ISSN: 1303-2917 (Print), 2156-6909 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/13032917.2015.1007691).

Book section

Cai, Wenjie and , Southall, Carol (2019), Managing Sexuality for gay and lesbian parents in Heterosexual Family Holiday Spaces: Setting an agenda for research. Channel View. In: , , In: Oskaras Vorobjovas-Pinta (ed.), Gay Tourism: New Perspective. Channel View, (doi: ) NB Item availability restricted.

Cai, Wenjie and , (2018), Donkey friends in Europe: A mobile ethnographic study in group orientation of Chinese outbound backpackers. Springer. In: , , In: Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore, Elaine Chiao Ling Yang (eds.), Asian Youth Traveller. Springer, Singapore . pp. 79-95 . ISBN: 9789811085383 (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-***********-0_5) NB Item availability restricted.

Conference proceedings

McKenna, Brad , Waizenegger, Lena, Cai, Wenjie (2020), The influence of personal and professional commitments on digitally disconnected experiences. Springer International Publishing. In: , , In: David Kreps, Taro Komukai, Gopal TV, Kaori Ishii (eds.), Human-Centric Computing in a Data-Driven Society: Proceedings of the 14th IFIP TC 9 International Conference on Human Choice and Computers, HCC14 2020, Tokyo, Japa. Springer International Publishing, , 590 (1st) . pp. 305-314 . ISBN: 9783030628024ISSN: 1868-4238 (Print), 1868-422X (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-62803-1_24) NB Item availability restricted.

Cai, Wenjie and , Southall, Carol (2019), Gay parents in heterosexual family holiday space. Digital Commons @ TRU Library. In: , , , Critical Tourism Studies Proceeding. Digital Commons @ TRU Library, , 2019 (1) . ISBN: 9780991687121 (doi: https://digitalcommons.library.tru.ca/cts-proceedings/vol2019/iss1/77).

Gebbels, Maria , Cai, Wenjie, Gao, Xiongbin (2019), Gender issues in tourism and hospitality organisations: how to bridge the gap between gender awareness and organisational support?. Digital Commons @ TRU Library. In: , , , Critical Tourism Studies Proceeding. Digital Commons @ TRU Library, , 2019 (1) . pp. 62 . ISBN: 9780991687121 (doi: https://digitalcommons.library.tru.ca/cts-proceedings/vol2019/iss1/62/).

McKenna, Brad and , Cai, Wenjie (2019), Where is ‘tourism and technology’ research in the information systems discipline?. Digital Commons @ TRU Library. In: , , , Critical Tourism Studies Proceeding. Digital Commons @ TRU Library, , 2019 (1) . pp. 31 . ISBN: 9780991687121 (doi: https://digitalcommons.library.tru.ca/cts-proceedings/vol2019/iss1/31/).

Zeng, Xiaoxiao , McKenna, Brad, Richter, Shahper, Cai, Wenjie (2019), How social media can afford engagement processes. Springer Nature Switzerland. In: , , In: Marinos Themistocleous, Paulo Rupino da Cunha (eds.), Information Systems: 15th European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern Conference, EMCIS 2018, Limassol, Cyprus, October 4-5, 2018, Proceeding. Springer Nature Switzerland, , 341 (1st) . pp. 272-279 . ISBN: 9783030113940ISSN: 1865-1348 (Print), 1865-1356 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-11395-7_23).

Vodanovich, Shahper , McKenna, Brad, Cai, Wenjie (2017), Cultural values inherent in the design of social media platforms: A case study of WeChat. University of Maribor Press. In: , , , 30th Bled eConference Digital Transformation – From Connecting Things to Transforming Our Lives (Conference Proceedings. University of Maribor Press, . pp. 617-628 . ISBN: 9789612860431 (doi: https://doi.org/10.18690/978-961-286-043-1).

McKenna, Brad , Cai, Wenjie, Tuunanen, Tuure (2017), Consumer information services in intercultural tourism: An ethnographic study of Chinese outbound backpackers. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). In: , , , Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Science. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), . pp. 1237-1246 . ISBN: 9780998133102 (doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.24251/HICSS.2017.148).

Cai, Wenjie and , (2016), Conceptualising three-layer cultural system in mobilities: A mobile ethnographic study of Chinese outbound backpackers in Europe. Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research. In: , , , 8th World Conference for Graduate Research in Tourism, Hospitality and Leisur. Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, Turkey . pp. 207-211 . ISBN: 9786056576232 (doi: ).

Cai, Wenjie and , McKenna, Brad (2016), Consumer information technologies in intercultural tourism: a case study of Chinese outbound backpackers. Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research. In: , , , 4th Interdisciplinary Tourism Research Conferenc. Anatolia: An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, . pp. 508-514 . ISBN: 9786056576232ISSN: 1303-2917 (Print), 2156-6909 (Online) (doi: ).