Tourism & Experiences

Tourism is ultimately about the creation, provision and consumption of experiences. Tourism studies seek to understand the nature of the tourist experience, its relation to motivations for travel, and the ways destinations can create memorable experiences that satisfy the complex desires of tourists.

Goal of the trajectory

  1. To understand place-based (tourism) experiences, and how they relate to different practices such as cultural heritage, food and customs;
  2. To critically analyse relationships between people and places and the construction of meaning in these relationships

Understanding experiences is problematic as the typical tourist might not exist and a diversity of tourists calls for a detailed understanding. For example, some people are interested in dark tourism (e.g. visiting former camps, battle sites, prisons). Also, boundaries between tourism and other social practices often dissolve, e.g. in volunteering tourism or scientific fieldwork. Destination choice changes over time. In the context of terrorist attacks, risk perceptions are an important driver of tourism travel. Also, digitalisation of society influences ways people seek information and select destinations.

In this trajectory, we study experiences and the ways the tourism industry, policy makers and local inhabitants are involved in place-making in changing social and political contexts. On the one hand, experiences are highly subjective and connected to individual history and identity. On the other hand, they are simultaneously framed by wider socio-cultural and political discourses, as well as shared practices situated in particular places. For example, tourism destinations both shape and are shaped by, experiential themes, such as histories and cultural heritage, thrills and adventure, sun-sea-sand, protected natural areas, films, and other.


Students need to follow two courses related to this trajectory:

Thesis examples

This trajectory could lead to the following thesis opportunities: