Tourism Business: Management, Impacts and Evaluation

Module description


The module explores tourism as form of economic activity using a variety of perspectives, including geographical scale (international, regional and local), types of business activity (different sectors and business models), forms of business organisation (multinational and SMTE) and different methods of measuring economic impacts. The module has a strong applied dimension. It explores how concepts of tourism economic impacts shaped by academic knowledge, influence how the tourism economy is both managed by, and communicated among, practitioners and policy-makers.

Additional Information:


Not all tourism is domestic in nature and the module content reflects this in its discussion of international trade and tourism services, cross-border production through multi-national enterprises, and multi-lateral relationships among bodies like the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), and the UN World Tourism Organisation who propagate the view of tourism as ‘the world’s largest industry’.


All of the lectures discuss issues which will further enhance a student’s knowledge of sustainable development, including such issues as responsibility in business models, the role of business in contemporary economies (CSR), alternative growth models (i.e. green growth), and the economic case for tourism as one of aspect of the ‘triple bottom line’.

All of the resources for this module are available on the ELE (Exeter Learning Environment).

External Engagement

Organisations such as the Tourism Society and the Institute of Travel and Tourism provide resources which are fed into the teaching of this module. Through our existing professional networks, a guest speaker will feature in the programme and examples from consultancy, contract research and research grants with external partners are integrated into the curriculum.


Central to this module is the ability to question the narratives, discourses and data that are presented to audiences: in this regard, the module enhances critical thinking and decision-making by challenging students to unpack how economic evidence and businesses cases are compiled and communicated. Students also develop their presentation skills in an alternative medium that is widely used outside academia through their work on a poster presentation assignment.

Full module specification

Module title:Tourism Business: Management, Impacts and Evaluation
Module code:BEMM381
Module level:M
Academic year:2018/9
Module lecturers:
  • Professor Tim Coles - Convenor
Module credit:15
ECTS value:






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


Module aims

The aims of the module are to:

  • Examine the complex issues surrounding the production of tourism services and experiences, the value economic value created from them, and how this is managed;
  • Interrogate ways in which the economic case for tourism is constructed and contested; and
  • Explore future (economic) trajectories for tourism based on business types and models.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate in oral and written settings a deep appreciation of how tourism functions as a form of economic activity, business and value creation at both the macro and micro scales.
  • 2. understand and critique in writing the use of the different methods, techniques, measures and indexes used to construct the economic case for tourism, especially in policy environments at the destination and state levels
  • 3. articulate and communicate effectively in writing and oral presentations, how tourism businesses may be managed to optimise their economic performances

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. relate in writing and verbally debates about tourism production to wider theoretical discourses on globalisation, the state, enterprise and markets, and capital accumulation
  • 5. be able to connect the practitioner and academic worlds vital to tourism studies in the presentation of theory, concept and evidence

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. synthesise, present and summarise a wide range of data, outcomes and arguments in writing, in particular for (tourism) practitioner audiences
  • 7. work autonomously to deliver key outputs in terms of time management, working to deadlines, and utilizing a variety of sources

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 hours20Lectures
Written paper guidance session1Tutorial
Poster prepartation guidance1Tutorial
Poster presentation session2Plenary (at end of lecture series)

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Class Discussions5-10 minutes in each session1, 3, 4, 7Verbal
Poster (Verbal) Presentation5 minutes1, 3, 4, 7Written and verbal

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
Project paper502250 words1,3,4,7 Written
Poster (i.e. text content)50A2 poster2,5,6,7 Written

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Project PaperProject Paper (50%) 2250 words1,3,4,7 July
PosterPoster (50%) A2 size2,5,6,7 July

Re-assessment notes

Students will be asked to resubmit a project paper and project poster, with a deadline set in July.

Syllabus plan

The following topics will be explored in this module:

  • Firm-based views of tourism and the role of the tourism firm.
  • Business models and value propositions
  • Small and Medium-sized Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs).
  • International tourism businesses.
  • Tourism entrepreneurship, innovation and knowledge transfer.
  • The impacts of tourism business
  • Understanding economic evidence about tourism business
  • Tourism, regional development and the public sector.
  • Making the case for tourism in policy circles.
  • Alternative paradigms and future trajectories.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Coles, T.E. and Hall, C.M.  (2008) (eds.) International Business and Tourism.  London: Routledge.

Dwyer, L. and Forsyth, P. (2006) International Handbook on the Economics of Tourism. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Ioannides, D. and Debbage, K. (1998) The Economic Geography of the Tourist Industry: a Supply Side Analysis. London: Routledge.

Mak, J.  (2004)  Tourism and the Economy: Understanding the Economics of Tourism.  Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press

Stabler, M.J., Papatheodorou, A. and Sinclair, M.T. (2010) The Economics of Tourism (Second Edition). London: Routledge.

Tribe, J.  (2005)  The Economics of Recreation, Leisure and Travel.  Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Vanhove, N.  (2005)  The Economics of Tourism Destinations.  Amsterdam: Elsevier.  

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