Tourism & Development

Tourism has long been presented as an important instrument for global and local development. Advocates of this idea often promote tourism as a panacea to address poverty and global inequality, while simultaneously preserving local cultures. However, this discourse has a strong focus on economic growth, which has many important expected and unforeseen consequences.

Goal of the trajectory

  1. To critically analyse tourism impacts on urban and rural development
  2. To critically analyse tourism in relation to global development discourses

What does ‘development’ exactly entail? How are power (im)balances restructured through tourism? How does tourism play a role in development more broadly? Each one of these questions remains debatable, and a large number of scholars look at tourism’s role in development more critically.

This trajectory investigates such fundamental issues related to tourism’s potential and pitfalls for empowerment, socio-economic and cultural development and we provide a conceptual foundation by examining theoretical frameworks from tourism and development studies. It addresses tourism’s relation to poverty, philanthropy, nature conservation, global environmental change, culture, health(care), urban and regional development and sustainability. Other important issues are how contemporary types of tourism for development (community-based tourism, participatory planning, pro-poor tourism, volunteer tourism, and so on) relate to neo-colonialism, intensify capitalist processes, and address race and gender issues.


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

Thesis examples

This trajectory could lead to the following thesis opportunities: