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Tourism Planning and Sustainable Development



This module aims to introduce and critically appraise the conceptual roots, evolution, principles and practice of sustainability and sustainable development. In so doing, it seeks to provide a theoretical and practical framework for exploring the relationship between tourism, development and sustainability and the means of planning tourism within a sustainability context.

Description / Program

Tourism has long been considered an effective vehicle of socio-economic development. However, a significant challenge for tourism planners is how to optimise the evident developmental benefits of tourism whilst minimising its negative impacts on destination environments and communities. At the same time, the need to take climate change and other wider socio-environmental issues into account in the planning and mangement of tourism has become increasingly pressing. This course explores these challenges within a critical understanding of the relationship between tourism and sustainable development. Commencing with an introduction to tourism’s potential as a driver of development, the course first focuses on development theories and processes including sustainable development. It then explores the extent to which tourism may be ‘mapped’ on to contemporary development processes before going on to consider different tourism planning models and specific approaches to tourism development, including community-based tourism and pro-poor tourism. It concludes with an assessment of challenges facing tourism planners now and in the future, introducing in particular the notion of de-growing tourism on a global scale.

Learning Method / Style of Lessons
Lectures with class discussions
Exam Style
Group presentations in class (40%) / written exam (60%)


R. Sharpley and D. Telfer (2015) Tourism and Development: Concepts and Issues, 2nd Edition. Channel View

D. Telfer and R. Sharpley (2016) Tourism and Development in the Developing World, 2nd Edition. Routledge



Sharpley R.

Course director

Additional information

Academic year