Tourist Behaviour: Theory and Practice

Module description



This module provides a detailed perspective on the theory and practical elements of tourist behaviour as a central focus for research in studies of tourism management. It does so by drawing on research from a range of disciplines that have informed studies of tourist behaviour. The wider part of the theoretical debate is structured within a framework of changing consumption patterns. The module also focuses on how different patterns of tourist behaviour and consumption impact on the socio-cultural fabric of local communities. Particular attention will be directed to exploring models of interaction and social exchange as well as an understanding of how tourists and hosts contest particular spatial areas. It will also draw examples of the impact of Covid-19 on tourist behaviour.  Techniques of monitoring and managing tourist behaviour will be explored in a range of case studies, including different types of destinations.


Additional Information:




This module draws on examples from developing and emerging economies, as well as UK examples, so students obtain an understanding of the impact of tourism across such boundaries.  This will include the global impact of Covid-19 and tourist cultures.




Sustainability concerns are addressed when considering the impact of tourism on local communities. All of the resources for this module are on the ELE (Exeter Learning Environment).




Students develop their team-working and presentation skills in this module. A number of students who have previously taken this course have gone on to work in the hotel industry, hospitality or the tourism sector.

Full module specification

Module title:Tourist Behaviour: Theory and Practice
Module code:BEMM371
Module level:M
Academic year:2020/1
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Gareth Shaw - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:



BEMM370/ 373/ 378/ 379

Duration of module: Duration (weeks) - term 1:


Module aims

The aims of the module are to:

• Offer a detailed perspective on the theory and practical elements of tourist behaviour.

• Build students' knowledge of the diverse literatures from a range of disciplines that have informed studies of tourist decision-making, motivation, image-making and behaviour.

• Focus on how different patterns of tourist behaviour and consumption impacts on the socio-cultural fabric of host societies both in terms of developed economies and developing areas.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Demonstrate in written and oral work, a clear understanding of the relationships between tourist decision-making, behaviour and impacts on host communities.
  • 2. Acquire a detailed understanding of how tourist behaviour may be monitored and managed for use in oral and written work.
  • 3. Critically appraise in written and oral settings the importance of a full range of tourist typologies, models of tourist motivation and decision-making and key elements of behaviour.
  • 4. Develop a systematic understanding of the theoretical and practical approaches to the study of host-guest interactions within different destination environments for use in presentations.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 5. Understand and systematically review research-based evidence in tourism studies.
  • 6. Assess independently the comparative strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to tourist behaviour as cornerstones of tourism studies.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 7. Appropriately select and blend ideas relating to tourist behaviour through written, oral and visual means.
  • 8. Develop independent learning including the effective use of time and resources to seek out inter-disciplinary sources for use in analytical exercises.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Contact hours14Lectures

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual Seminar Presentation20 minutes1, 2, 3, 4, 7Verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
A seminar presentation (20 min presentation using((presentation of PowerPoint slides and video recording plus a written commentary 50 20 minutes, 2250 words 1,2,3,4,6,7 this is one mark and is not considered separately, 50% of overall module mark)5020 minutes, 2250 words1,2,3,4,6,7
A project paper502250 words1,2,5,7,8

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Seminar PresentationRe-submission of seminar work1,2,3,4,6,7
Project PaperRe-submission of paper1,2,5,7,8

Syllabus plan

The following topics will be explored: 1. The globalisation of tourism and its consequences; 2. Changing patterns of consumption and demand; 3. Tourist motivation and decision-making;  4. Image-making: illusions, myths and places; 5. Understanding tourist behaviour; 6. Tourist behaviour in a post Covid-19 world; 7. Tourism impacts in deifferent environments; 8.  Measuring tourist behaviour; 9. Host and Guest encounters 10 and 11 Student Presentations.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Pearce, P. L. (Ed.). (2019). Tourist Behaviour: The Essential Companion. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Pearce, P. L. (2011). Tourist behaviour and the contemporary world (Vol. 51). Channel view publications.

G. Shaw and A. Williams (2004) Tourism and Tourism Spaces London, Sage J. Urry (2001), Consuming Places, Routledge, London (2nd ed)

Shaw, G. and Williams A. (2002) Critical Issues in Tourism: A Geographical Perspective, 2nd Edition, Wiley-Blackwell

Urry, J. and Larsen, J., (2011). The Tourist Gaze 3.0. Sage.

Module has an active ELE page?


Origin date


Last revision date