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Graduation and Retention Network

HRTM 280

Social Science Foundations of Tourism

The course is designed to introduce you to the tourism field from a general system’s perspective using traditional social science disciplines such as sociology, psychology, economics, geography, and destination planning as parts of the system. Using theories and methods from these social science fields, problems faced by tourism developers, host communities, destinations and businesses will be analyzed and conclusions drawn by applying sustainability principles. Students will become acquainted with the economic, environmental, and socio-cultural impacts tourism has on communities around the world. What makes tourism possible and how tourism can become an important factor in wealth creation of any nation or community will be explored from a global perspective. This course covers among others, topics related definitional issues of travel and tourism from systems perspective, motivations for travel, factors influencing demand-side and supply-side growth, the tourism product, market segmentation and marketing, socioeconomic and ecological impacts, and destination life cycle dynamics.

Course Syllabus [pdf]

Download the course syllabus for full details about expectations, readings, assignments and more.

Learning Outcomes/Objectives

  1. Students will be able to identify the components of the tourism system, understand and explain the positive and negative impacts of tourism in host communities around the world and the implications of them in managing destinations.
  2. Recognize psychological, economic, business, sociological and geographical dimensions of tourism.
  3. Using various social science theories mainly from social-psychology, geography and economics, students will be able to critically analyze social, cultural, and economic problems created by tourism and offer solutions to mitigate these adverse effects.
  4. Using social science research methods, students will be able to write a short state-of-the-art literature review paper that critically reviews and synthesizes social, cultural and environmental impacts of tourism in an international context.
  5. Through extra readings of international tourism and video-clips students will sharpen their writing ability and conceptual skills in a report that compares international destinations and cultures in terms of how they tackle the problems and issues caused by tourism, tourism infrastructure, tourism intermediaries, tourism services and travel modes. By answering the questions like what is to be traveling in other countries students will be exposed to other cultures.
  6. To assess international tourism’s potential to foster world peace and intercultural understanding.

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