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Wageningen University

Sustainable Tourism: Society & Environmental Aspects

Wageningen University via edX


Tourism’s profound impact on the world
Tourism continues to experiencing incredible growth. Of all the industries of major importance worldwide, Travel and Tourism directly contribute $1.4 trillion to the global economy and provides one out of ten jobs and that number is growing.

But tourism is more than just a powerful economic force. Tourist activities come with a host of social and environmental issues at tourism destinations. And return, tourism business itself is highly sensitive to global transformations such as changing consumer behaviour, economic developments, natural disaster, epidemics, or acts of terrorism. Tourism is in fact a complex phenomenon.

Introduction to tourism; an all-round perspective
Instead of taking on tourism education’s customary approach – that of growth driven, applied and hospitality management – join us to explore the tourism industry and build your own reflections. You'll be exposed to a variety of insights throughout the course. These include tourism's historical background and a variety of social science approaches will be looked at, with a special focus on the human geography of tourism. You will be exposed to the negative impacts on natural resources, the cultural heritage of host communities and climate change related issues, such as carbon emissions. Which role can sustainable tourism development play to address both the tourism associated economic benefits as well as the collateral costs for key stakeholders?

Based on weekly reflection exercises, you'll be challenged to form your own argument for a tourism development of your choice. You'll also help others by providing and receiving meaningful feedback on their critical reflections of tourism phenomena.

The effects of Corona virus on the tourism industry
There is no doubt that tourism has been greatly affected by the Covid 19 virus outbreak. With the upcoming attempt to rebound post-Corona, all players in the industry face a choice: will it be business as usual or do we re-invent toward more sustainable practices? But also, how has Corona effected tourists and their behaviour? We will discuss these and other highly relevant questions throughout our tourism courses.

For whom
Whether you are a business owner, work in tourism or an fervent traveller, join us for this MOOC for an science based understanding of what tourism does to our living environment, our behaviour and our cultural inheritance. Help drive sustainability in tourism. Subscribe now!

Professional Certificate Programme

This online course, ranked among the 10 best online courses in the world by Class Central, is part of the Professional Certificate Programme Tourism in Transition: Exploring a Sustainable Future, along with the MOOC Sustainable Tourism: Rethinking the Future, which was nominated for the annual edX® award in 2019 and the MOOC Tourism and Climate Change.


Module 1: Introduction & Overview
What is tourism, and how can you study it from a social sciences point of view?

Module 2: History of global tourism development
Where does tourism come from? We go back in time to understand where our contemporary tourism practices originate.

Module 3: Scientific approaches and systemic observations
What are typical social science approachesto tourism; including behavioral, cultural, and more critical observations? And to what kind of observations do these approaches lead?

Module 4: Key theories and global flows
Take notice of a set of typical theoretical concepts used in tourism studies, and become acquainted with how global tourism developments run parallel with rapidly developing flows of people, goods, technology, information,and capital.

Module 5: Environmental impacts of tourism
Take the main economic, socio-cultural, and environmental interactions and impacts generated by and in tourism.

Module 6: Synthesis and looking forward
Finalize your own argument related to a tourism development of your choice, and become familiar with the science of sustainable tourism.

Taught by

Arjaan Pellis and Jonas Skutka

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4.5 rating, based on 131 reviews

Start your review of Sustainable Tourism: Society & Environmental Aspects

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is one of the best courses for the tourism field. This is one of the best courses for the tourism field. This is one of the best courses for the tourism field. This is one of the best courses for the tourism field. This is one of the best courses...
  • Anonymous
    I found the course extremely interesting. I have learnt alot of things about factors effecting Tourism that i hadn't even realised especially for the need to preserve some environmental areas. I have discovered factors effecting the way we indulge in...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous is taking this course right now.

    The material is good and the case study assignment is also pretty well thought out. However, some of the tests are quite confusing, as there are many questions that are contradicting or have double negatives which might make it difficult for someone who...
  • Anonymous
    I have thoroughly enjoyed the course. I would recommend it to anyone thinking of entering a career in Tourism or has a profound interest in Sustainable Tourism or just curious. I have learnt things I didn't know before. How are actions are contributing...
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    I am really happy to share my own learning experience with the Sustainable Tourism course via edX. This is my first experience in doing an online course. This course had been started on march 2020 but I took this cause on June 10 : nearly a month ago....
  • Anonymous
    This was a very inspiring and eye opening course. The course content is very strong and there is a lot of space to use your own interests around this topic, which really motivated me to research and learn more than I anticipated. Not having had much experience in writing arguments or essays I found it really helpful that the course was self paced and I could take my time. The forums were particularly interesting to understand tourism on a global level connecting us to like minded people everywhere, whilst learning about their particular struggles and ideas within sustainable tourism.
  • Anonymous
    I liked the courses and the information. I did think it was a bit fast-paced, as there was so much information in a very short time (clips of just 5 minutes). But overall, it was very interesting and I have learned a lot. The only thing that bothered me was the boxes in which the assignments had to be submitted. They were terrible for layout. Even though there was an option to enclose documents, this did not work for me (only with pictures).
  • Anonymous
    It was a very informative course. I was already interested in the topic, so I had some information on the matter, but the course brought new concepts and theories that expanded my knowledge. It was great to take notes about authors and scholars that research tourism so I can continue to study the subject. Activities were well elaborated, they evaluated different learning skills and promoted critical thinking.
  • Anonymous
    I found the course very useful and interesting. The videos are entertaining and enjoyable. I also really like the flexibility of changing dates, since, for those who work, it can be difficult to comply with everything in the established time.

    The only suggestion I have is the peer review system as many times the module is incomplete due to there is no colleague to evaluate the work done.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed the course and its relevant to my work , although its tough to understand how the questions for the exams were set. I also think that the length of the course should be extended too. I notice peers response is very low, maybe due to the number who enrolled. On the average, it was an good course with insightful information.
  • Anonymous

    Very well structured including fun elements, brief and to the point presentations as well as sincerity.

    Thank you very much indeed.

    Hope to keep in touch via Linkedin for future possible collaborations.

    Adam Kahraman
  • Anonymous
    The course was refreshing, interactive and interesting a good mixture of practical and theory with enough time to discuss issues.”

    “The course provides an extremely useful tool that will help to improve Sustainable Tourism in Society & Environmental Aspects
  • Anonymous
    My experience has been very nice because the material and the way they teach is very good and easy to understand. My problem is that have being having problems with the feedback round, because I want to do it but there are not assignments no evaluate.
  • Anonymous
    Everything was so good! I learn a lot! The teachers are very good and they explain in a fun and interesting way. The structure of the course is very good, and being able to evaluate other assignments you can also learn a lot od other topics.
  • Anonymous
    Gives you critically important questions about the future of tourism, and asks everyone how we may go about solving these issues.

    Relevant, and I definitely learned a lot.
  • Anonymous
    I found it really intersting and complete!

    I would have like a faster response in the reappid feedback rounds, which haven´t yet being graded for me.

    Thank you
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed the course but would have liked some teacher / lecturer feedback or at least the opportunity to ask questions when I needed some help.
  • Anonymous
    The course is highly informative and interesting in that it introduces us with all the basic concepts and provides concise explanation of all.
  • Anonymous
    This course is intresting and useful for me to learn about the international knowledge about the tourism industry. And it improves my majoy.
  • Anonymous
    Useful to me in giving me an understanding of the subject of sustainable tourism and of some of the tools that can be used in studying the subject.

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