International Development & Tourism


About this course

This course explores the potential for tourism to function as a mechanism for social, political and economic development. While both development and tourism have long independent histories, it is especially since the 1970s that tourism has become an important mechanism to achieve development itself. Since the 1990s tourism has increasingly become a component of sustainable development in particular. For several decades now, tourism has therefore become an important instrument to address socio-economic inequality and try to reconcile this with ecological sustainability. This has led to a proliferation of different types of tourism that address this relationship in different ways, including among others , pro-poor tourism, indigenous tourism, community-based tourism, ecotourism, responsible tourism, volunteer tourism, sustainable tourism and philanthrotourism. This course outlines the history of the relationship between tourism and international development, exploring how this has changed and evolved over time. In doing so, we analyse how different approaches to international development more generally have been mobilized to address tourism development specifically. Central themes we address in this regard include the connections between tourism and (1) migration (e.g. in the Mediterranean, empty villages); (2) labour, gender and race; (3) nature, violence and militarization; (4) livelihood diversification; (5) culture and authenticity; (6) (over)tourism and urbanization; (7) colonialism; (8) capitalism; (9) philanthropy and (10) disasters and adaptivity (e.g. COVID-19). We also explore the various ways that the relationship between tourism and development has been analysed theoretically, including via Marxist, poststructuralist, psychoanalytic, critical race studies, postcolonial and feminist lenses.

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

  • Identify key contemporary issues in the field of development studies
  • Demonstrate understanding of theories on the relationship between international development and tourism
  • Apply critical development theory to tourism development
  • Analyse and evaluate socio-cultural and ecological processes of tourism development and the potential of tourism to function as an effective sustainable development strategy
  • Design new pathways for tourism as a sustainable development instrument

Required prior knowledge

Assumed Knowledge:
GEO13806 Tourism & Sustainable Development or a similar course

Link to more information

If anything remains unclear, please check the FAQ of Wageningen University.


  • Start date

    6 January 2025

    • Ends
      31 January 2025
    • Term *
      Period 3
    • Location
    • Instruction language
    • Register between
      1 Jun, 00:00 - 24 Nov 2024
These offerings are valid for students of Utrecht University