Tourism & Global Change

In an increasingly globalizing world, transnational movements of people, materials, capital and information are on the rise and linking up different parts of the world in novel, intense and complex ways. Consider how international tourists, migrants, cargo and even ‘fake news’ travel and both transform and get transformed by the places and people they encounter on their journeys.

Such mobilities and the dynamic interconnections they forge are both embedded in and catalysts of social, cultural, political, economic, technological and environmental change. Tourist flows, for example, are increasingly guided by social media, facilitated by relaxed restrictions on foreign direct investment, enabled by cheap oil prices and heavily reliant on low-wage migrant labour. Not confined to national borders, such flows and connections of people, materials, capital and information actively work to scatter the causes and impacts of socio-economic, cultural and environmental problems and solutions across different scales and sites around the globe, calling for innovative networked forms of governance.

Constitution of mobilities

In this track, students explore how various mobilities are constituted; the complex ways in which they intertwine with one another and other forms of societal, technological and environmental change; the broader social and environmental impacts and implications of different kinds of mobilities; and the ways in these can be most effectively governed and managed. Travel and tourism mobilities will be considered alongside questions of immobility and exclusion, migration, transportation, mobility rights, crises and risks as well as virtual connectivity. In period 3 and 5 students can either direct their study to analysing the relations between tourism and leisure and global (socio-economic, technological, ecological and cultural) transformations (GEO 31306); to examining the interrelations between tourism mobilities and environmental concerns (ENP-3xx06); to studying conflict and disasters in relation to societal change and re-ordering (SDC-34306); to the ways in which transformations in mobilities relate to tourist experiences (GEO 32306). This will then lead to different thesis opportunities such as the dynamic interplay between mobilities and socio-cultural transformations (see e.g. “Does travel provide transformation? Transformative travel experiences of gender perspectives: Latin American women in solo, independent and cross-cultural travel”) and the ways in which (im)mobilities affect tourism (see e.g. 'Setting sail: an exploratory expedition towards understanding disability, holidays and happiness').


The track will:

  1. enable students to understand how tourism is one of, and intersects with, many flows of people, materials, capital and information;
  2. provide students a better understanding of  how mobilities are both impacting and impacted by processes of social, cultural, economic, technological and environmental change;
  3. compare and reflect on the use of various contemporary sociological, geographical and political science perspectives in order to critically analyse (tourism) mobilities.


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

  • ENP-3xx06 Governance of Tourism and Natural Resources (p3)
  • GEO-32306 Leisure, Tourism and Environment: Experiences and Environments (p3)
  • GEO-31306 Tourism and Globalization (p5)
  • SDC-34306 Studying Crisis: Conflict, Disaster and the Social (p5)