Tourism & Development

Tourism is of central importance to our life in the 21st Century as it plays a role in many global and local transformations. By examining tourism we will critically discuss the meanings and objectives of regional and urban development and the extent these objectives can be achieved through tourism.

In this trajectory we will introduce and discuss a number of fundamental issues related to tourism’s potential for socio-economic, socio- cultural and environmental development and provide a conceptual foundation by examining theoretical frameworks from tourism studies and beyond for the study of these issues. By doing so we will focus on tourism’s relation to landscape, poverty, nature conservation, global environmental change, culture, health(care), urban and regional development, sustainable development and critically engage with how tourism is executed.

Connection between Tourism and the Global

In period 3 and 5 students can either direct their study to the relation between tourism and leisure and global (socio-economic, technological, ecological and cultural) transformations (GEO 31306); tourist experiences and the way they have been conceptualized in the social sciences (GEO 32306); key debates in the social sciences around the topics of modernity and social exclusion (SDC-32306) and/or the nature and causes of environmental problems in developing countries and the ways in which trade-offs between environmental and developmental issues are governed (ENP-33306). This will then lead to different thesis opportunities such as examining the complex relations between stakeholders involved in tourism development (see e.g. “The 'unpaved' roads to development: change and continuity in the tourism development trajectory of Lake Sandoval”) and the ways (dominant) discourses interrelate with tourism development (see e.g. “’They just don’t get it’ Local discourse dynamics around tourism development on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica)


The trajectory will:

  1. provide students with a critical understanding on how tourism impacts on urban and regional development,  in both developed and developing contexts , and related local and  global processes of social, cultural, economic, political  and environmental change;
  2. offer, compare and reflect on the use of various contemporary social science perspectives from tourism studies and beyond to enable students to critically analyse the relation between tourism and development;
  3. compare and reflect on various governance arrangements at different levels of scale aiming at sustainable development of tourism.


Students need to choose two out of the following four courses:

  • GEO-32306 Leisure, Tourism and Environment: Experiences and Environments (p3)
  • GEO-31306 Tourism and Globalization (p5)
  • SDC-32306 Anthropology and Development (p5)
  • ENP-33306 Environment and Development (p5)