Curriculum Guideline

Tourism and Recreation Geographies

Effective Date:
Course Code
GEOG 3327
Tourism and Recreation Geographies
Geography and the Environment
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hours/week/semester Seminar: 2 hours/week/semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

This course will use a variety of modes of instruction, including some of the following:

  • Lectures
  • Videos
  • Small group discussions
  • Textbook and assigned readings
  • Individual or group projects
  • Field trips or self-guided field studies

Course Description
Using geographical perspectives, this course will examine historic and contemporary demand for leisure and other tourism places, spaces, and activities, and examine linkages with wilderness environments, urban planning, parks formation, national or local identities, patterns of consumption, and both real and imagined landscapes. Students will consider how tourism and recreation are not simply physically enacted but also ideologically shaped and shaping. This course will question the role of tourism and recreation in economic and community development and evaluate planning policies that seek to effectively and sustainably manage leisure activities. An emphasis will be placed on how different people and places around the world are affected in unequal and uneven ways.
Course Content
  1. Introduction to recreation and tourism
    • Defining recreation, tourism, and leisure
    • Understanding the geographical nature of recreation and tourism
    • Creating spaces for recreation and tourism
  2. The demand for recreation and tourism
    • Wellness and respite movements
    • Post-industrial, post-modern consumption
    • Measuring demand for and barriers to leisure
    • The social dynamics of demand
  3. The supply of tourism and recreation
    • Leisure as a product
    • Tourism facilities and spaces
    • Private and/or public investment
    • Economic development models
  4. Impacts of recreation and tourism
    • ‘Natural’ landscapes vs. park landscapes
    • Human landscapes and social impacts
    • Health and wellbeing
    • Economic development
    1. Urban recreation and tourism
      • History of urban recreation and tourism
      • Urban planning for leisure and tourism development
      • Impacts on urban landscapes
      • Understanding urban environments
    2. Rural recreation and tourism
      • Imagining ‘rural’ landscapes
      • History of rural recreation and tourism
      • Dynamics of ‘Weekend Warriors’
      • Impacts of rural recreation and tourism
    3. Wilderness recreation and tourism
      • Defining ‘nature’: identifying and valuing the wilderness
      • Political philosophies of sustainability
      • Identifying and managing environmental impacts
    4. Coastal and Marine recreation and tourism
      • The making of leisure space by water
      • History of seaside resorts
      • Seasonal nature of coastal and marine activities
      • Managing coastal zones
    5. Tourism and Recreation Planning and Policy
      • History and development of planning and policy
      • Integrated management
        • public-private partnerships
        • local control
        • government roles
      • Place-marketing
    6. Summary and Conclusion
      • The future of recreation and tourism activities and planning
      • Impacts of demographic shifts
      • New mapping technologies
      • Virtual tourism
      Learning Outcomes

      At the conclusion of the course the students will be able to:

      1. Compare and contrast different examples of tourism, recreation, and therapeutic landscapes.
      2. Apply geographical concepts of place, space, and scale to understanding geographies of leisure.
      3. Discuss the role of tourism and recreation in shaping contemporary human and physical geographies.
      4. Examine how tourism and recreation geographies have and continue to be impacted by globalization and vise versa, especially in terms of supply, demand, and economic development planning.
      5. Critically analyze the changing forces, factors, and ideologies that have driven the development of tourism and recreation activities.
      6. Communicate both orally and in writing about cultural geography theories on leisure and consumption.
      7. Think critically about the role of planning policies in shaping recreation and tourism activities and maintaining both economic and environmental sustainability.
      Means of Assessment

      The evaluation will be based on course objectives and be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written syllabus outlining course objectives and evaluation specifications during the first week of class.


      An example of an evaluation scheme follows:

      Attendance & participation      10%
      Coure project/essay  20%
      Field Trip and Study  15%
      Midterm exam  25%
      Final exam  30%
      Total 100%
      Textbook Materials

      Examples of textbooks to be used and periodically updated are:


      • Williams, Stephen and Alan A. Lew (2015), Tourism Geography - Critical Understandings of place, space and experience. Third Edition. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
      • Hall, Michael C., and Stephen J. Page (2005). The Geography of Tourism and Recreation: Environment, Place and Space, 3rd Edition. Routledge.
      • Williams, Stephen (2009) Tourism geography: a new synthesis, 2nd Edition. Routledge.
      • Shaw, Gareth, and Allan Williams (2002) Critical Issues in Tourism: A Geographical Perspective, 2nd Edition. Mississauga, Ontario: Wiley-Blackwell.
      • Wall, Geoffery, and Alister Mathieson (2006) Tourism: Change, Impacts and Opportunities. Toronto:Pearson Education.
      • Lew, Alan, Michael C. Hall, and Allan Williams (Eds.) (2004). A Companion to Tourism. Mississauga, Ontario: Wiley-Blackwell.
      • Jones, Karen R., and John Wills (2005). The Invention of the Park: Recreational Landscapes from the Garden of Eden to Disney's Magic Kingdom. Mississauga, Ontario: Wiley-Blackwell