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Tourism, culture and society





1st semester

Lecture venue
Lecture time
Offer semester
  • Welcome aboard! The development of tourism in contemporary societies is of huge economic, social, and cultural significance. In this course, we will take an interdisciplinary approach, primarily from sociological and anthropological points of view, to examine various aspects of tourism. Important questions like “Why does tourism matter in the contemporary world?”, “How are tourist experiences socially structured?”, and “What is the relationship between tourism and identity?” will be discussed.

    There are four key themes in our course. First, we will explore the historical background of the emergence of modern tourism and the definitions of tourists and tourism. Second, we will touch upon some essential concepts and theoretical perspectives on tourism studies, such as authenticity and the tourist gaze, in order to understand the formation of tourist experiences. Third, we will examine how space for tourist consumption is designed and constructed, as well as how tourism impacts the space of the host society. Finally, we will consider the relationship between tourism and identity, reflecting on how tourism shapes our individual and collective identities.

    1. Understand the general historical context of the rise of modern tourism.

    2. Learn the basic concepts and theories pertaining to tourism and apply them to reflect on personal experiences as tourists and hosts.

    3. Identify the major trends of tourism and critically evaluate the impact of tourism from different angles.

    4. Make sense of how space is constructed for tourist consumption, and how tourism changes the meanings of space in the host society.

    5. Appreciate different forms of tourism and reflect on how they shape our individual and collective identities.

  • Tasks


    Class Participation


    Field trip reflection paper


    Group project


    End-of-semester test


  • Some chapters from the following books will be assigned as required readings.

    • MacCannell, D. (2013). The tourist: A new theory of the leisure class. University of California Press.

    • Smith, V. L., & Brent, M. (2001). Hosts and guests revisited: Tourism issues of the 21st century. Cognizant Communication Corp.

    • Urry, J., & Larsen, J. (2011). The tourist gaze 3.0. SAGE Publications Ltd.

    • Apostolopoulos, Y., Leivadi, S., & Yiannakis, A. (1996). The sociology of tourism: Theoretical and empirical investigations.

    • Chambers, E. (2019). Native tours: The anthropology of travel and tourism (3rd ed.). Waveland Press.

    • Robinson, P. (Ed.). (2012). Tourism: The key concepts. Taylor & Francis Group.

    • Smith, M. K., MacLeod, N. E., & Robertson, M. H. (2010). Key concepts in tourist studies. SAGE Publications Ltd.

Part-time Lecturer, Teaching Assistant

Dr Steve W L Cheung
Course co-ordinator and teachers
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