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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


4.5 rating, based on 184 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Sustainable Tourism: Society & Environmental Aspects

  • Anonymous
    The course "Sustainable Tourism: Society & Environmental Aspects" is a comprehensive and insightful program that delves into the multifaceted nature of sustainable tourism. It successfully integrates the societal and environmental dimensions, provi…
  • Anonymous
    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 cour…
  • Anonymous
    The course was pretty good over all. For me personally there wasn't much new content, there were interesting insights but nothing ground braking. The videos are made well with short and simple explanations.

    I personally find the course quite difficult to navigate, with the forum posts, questions, feedbacks etc. I also would have appreciated some more variety with the way the material is taught-- there's only the videos and some text to read which for me is a bit too redundant.

    Interesting course, though I'm not sure I would spend that much money on it a second time.
  • Anonymous
    The course was composed with short videos under 6minutes, which is amazing ! That allows me to take a quick catch-up with the course anytime, between works, during transportation etc. The course module was easy to follow while I get to learn more about the topics. Ramdom questions among modules are great to refresh / reinforce what was learnt or introduced in the course too. Overall an excellent online learning experince for a full-time working person like myself.
  • Anonymous
    The course was really interesting and it gave a good general overview and insight of tourism. It really helps to become more critical about tourism. It can help you to make a more sustainable decision for your next travel, but it can also be a good course to follow to continue with this topic. If you not only want the general facts and insight in tourism, then I can recommend you to also follow the upfollowing course.
  • Anonymous
    I am 100% satisfied with the MOOC and all the knowledge I have obtained. It provided me all the neccessary information to create a spherical understanding of tourism as a phenomenon and see clearly its impact in economy society and environment objectively, without hiding the negative aspects or focusing in marketing and managemental approaches.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoy the course and learn a lot. The teachers are nice, they are good at teaching and telling stories. They also very humorous. If you want to know something about tourism, this course would be a wisdom choice.
  • Anonymous
    I think it is an interesting course and I definately learned. Tourism is out of my normal comfortzone as considered in my studies and therefore this course was a step out of the status quo for me.
  • Anonymous
    Interesting course topic with so much to learn about, covers histories to perspectives of different scholars, with many different useful theories, worth signing up!
  • Anonymous
    i very likes this subject because with this subject i can learn more about tourism thingy and also this subject so help me to answer my question about tourism subject.
  • Anonymous
    Nice course with good information. There could be spent a little more time on the scientific approaches though.
  • Anonymous
    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…
  • 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 i…
  • Anonymous
    I am from Pakistan and a passionate tourist and wanted to learn about tourism, so I joined this course as free student ( because I could not afford to pay 190$, otherwise I would love to have the full course). The said course was found very interesting and I learnt a lot. Although there are few things which could have been improved and made the course more interesting and educating.
    This small course has benefited me a lot and I am very happy with it.
  • Anonymous
    This is an excellent compilation of knowledge, views, approaches and more than that, scientific literature.

    Its a good opportunity as MOOC to join and complete it.

    Thank you
  • Anonymous
    I think the course has a good quality and is an interesting way to get yourself familiar with terms and concepts around the theme of tourism.

    However, what I found difficult was that it was often expected to give feedback on a number of students, when there were not that many students that had already delivered the assignments. Therefore, sometimes I could not give feedback when it was asked of me.
  • Anonymous
    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 a…
  • Anonymous
    This course is very useful for the people who want to learn Tourism management, eco tourism , sustainable tourism etc. Although it has been ensured to keep the free enrolled students deprived off important parts of the course, even then its worth attending.
  • Anonymous
    In my opinion this course is interesting and an opportunity to have a different look at the tourism industry in a broader spectrum. The interaction is good and through peer reviews you can build your own case and assignment. One pitfal is, if not everybody participates in the peer reviews on time, it can take a while until you receive your feedback which can hold up your work. I havent received feedback on all of my written parts while I submitted all my feedback on time. This can be improved by putting a time limit on the feedback to make sure everybody participates.
  • Anonymous
    It was not really something in which I learnt a lot. I think if you are unworldly, you will learn a lot, but for the average educated intellectual the course is to shallow.

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