Module code: SOC3084

Module Overview

This module introduces students to the role that travel and tourism plays within the sociological sphere of leisure. Students explore touristic motivations and desires through theory to understand how and why people choose the destination they travel to. In addition, students explore the wide range of experiences tourists have at these destinations using theory to explain their significance. The module also explores how the construction of touristic spaces and resorts impacts both the motivations and experiences of tourists. The module then examines weekly case studies of different forms of travel and tourism, for example, sex tourism, dark tourism, party-island travel, and gap years to implement the theoretical ideas developed in the first half of the module. By the end of the module, students are equipped with the skills to understand the construction of experiences from the touristic industries as well as how travel and tourism can create social and cultural inequalities.

Module provider


Module Leader

SEAL Alexander (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module commences with an analysis of the origins of mass-tourism and the birth of ‘the holiday’. This is followed by an exploration of how to conceptualise and theorise the visitor experience through the concept of the tourist gaze. We then explore how the concept of authenticity has been a central concept for understanding both motivations and experiences for travel and tourism. We then explore how the construction of touristic spaces interact with the visitor experience, seeing space as crucial in interacting with the tourists’ desires and motivations. The module then turns to exploring the impact that frequent travel has had on the global climate. At this point, the module has provided students with a range of theoretical ideas and frameworks for understanding the motivations and experiences of tourists and industry responses to touristic desires. For the remainer of the module, the above theoretical ideas are investigated through four different types of tourism: sex tourism, dark tourism, party-island travel and, finally, gap year travel. This allows students the opportunity to implement and explore key theoretical ideas and debates through these different forms of travel and tourism.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Reflexive Report 40
Coursework Essay 60

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

Both assessments are designed for the student to apply their theoretical and subject knowledge of travel and tourism. Students therefore develop their critical and analytical writing skills through exploring and discussing a range of topics under the banner of travel and tourism. Through each assessment, students develop skills in analysing the visitor experience, appraising the strategies of the tourism industry whilst also exploring the core sociological concepts of social class, gender and race and ethnicity interact with travel and tourism.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Assessment One: Reflexive Report (40%) – This assessment focusses on the students self-selecting a travel/touristic experience they have had during some point of their life. Students then analyse the motivations and experiences over the course of this trip through either the theoretical concept of the tourist gaze or authenticity. This assessment allows students to self-scrutinise experiences that they have had through a theoretical framework of their choice (LO5). This assessment develops both the critical and analytical aspects the students’ development. But there is a small part of the assessment that develops the creative writing element within the students work through the requirement to narrate and discuss key experiences as part of the holiday/travel experience.


Assessment Two: Essay (60%) – This assessment allows students to self-select a topic from the module that they can explore and analyse in a narrative-driven format. This helps students to critically examine a topic they find interesting under the topic of travel and tourism and to structure their argument around this topic (LO1, LO2). Through this assessment, students are required to present and discuss a range of differing perspectives over their chosen topic and to provide a coherent argument for the position they choose to take. Many of the questions are framed in such a way that allows the students appraise the sociological concepts of social class, gender, race and ethnicity. Bridging these concepts into travel and tourism helps students appraise the interaction they have within travel and tourism (LO4).


Formative assessment

Students participate in weekly tasks in the seminars that are based on case studies relating to the teaching content from the lecture. Students are given feedback by the module convenor within each seminar on the activities/case studies. Students are also deeply encouraged to speak to the module convenor weekly during their office hours. In addition to the dedicated assignment preparation sessions, students are well supported in all aspects of both summative and formative assessments.



Written narrative-led feedback is delivered for both summative assessments. In addition, the module convenor delivers group feedback within the seminars for the summative assessments. Students are also encouraged to make 1:1 appointments with the module convenor to discuss feedback on any formative or summative assessments within the module to enhance their learning and confidence.

Module aims

  • Introduce students to theories and frameworks that explain touristic/travel motivations and experiences.
  • Develop students' understanding of how the construction of touristic spaces can impact the visitor experience.
  • Develop students' understanding of how different forms of travel and tourism impact the visitor experience and local area.
  • Develop students' understanding of how social class, gender and race and ethnicity can impact the destinations visited by tourists.
  • Develop students' understanding and awareness of how social and cultural inequalities can stem from travel and tourism.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 To develop students' knowledge of the visitor experience through different forms of travel and tourism KC
002 To develop students' knowledge on the marketisation of destinations to travelers and tourists PT
003 To develop students' knowledge on a range of different types of travel and tourism KC
004 To develop students' understanding of how class, gender and race and ethnicity impact both the visitor experience and destination visited KC
005 To develop students' ability to theoretically understand and articulate the significance of both the visitor experience and marketisation of destinations PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

The module is designed to introduce students to the key sociological and touristic theoretical frameworks that allow students to understand both the visitor experience and tourist industry’s organisation for catering towards these experiences.

The weekly lectures equip students with 1) the theoretical ideas that underpin our understanding of the visitor experience 2) the motivations and experiences of different forms of travel and tourism and 3) the construction of experiences from the point of view of the travel and tourism industries.

The seminars provide students with the time and space to unpack key concepts and ideas through discussion both in small groups and group feedback with the seminar leader. Within the seminars, real world case studies within travel and tourism are introduced for the students to apply the theoretical frameworks we have explored over the course of the lecture.

The module also comprises two sessions dedicated to outlining and discussing both summative assessments (the reflexive report and the essay). This allows students to approach their assignments with confidence. In addition to these sessions, the module convenor creates ‘assignment drop-in sessions’ where the students can speak with the module convenor, 1:1, about their plans and ideas. Students are highly encouraged to use these drop-in sessions.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC3084

Other information

The Department of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module enhances students skills in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, and Resourcefulness and Resilience.


Digital Capabilities: In the module, students explore a range of digital technologies within the travel and tourism industry. Students explore how the visitor experience is created though mediated and digital technology and how the tourism industry uses this technology to create motivation and desire amongst tourists. In many sessions, students analyse tourism marketing from different digital platforms and appraise how particular messages are created around destinations through the medium of technology.


Employability: Students develop a wide range of transferable skills on the module through their understanding of the marketisation of travel and tourism. Students understand how the tourism industries create and package experiences to western consumers and learn their tactics for creating touristic desire and aspirations. Students also learn about the social inequalities that can stem from different forms of travel and tourism and how the tourism industries can adapt for more socially sustainable futures. These are all skills that students can take into the job market, particularly if they are considering working in the travel and tourism industries.  


Global and cultural capabilities: Students learn how mass-tourism within the west has included appropriating destinations in the East for the gratification of western tourists. Students also explore how the concept of authenticity (a central concept throughout the module) can often act as a colonial device for shaping the visitor experience. Students therefore develop a strong understanding of the unequal power relations between not only the west and East in the movement of tourists, but also western European nations imprison small island nations, within Europe and further afar, to tourism. Students therefore receive a wide learning experience around how issues of power manifest themselves within the movements of travelers and tourists.


Resourcefulness and resilience: Students work both individually and in groups throughout the module. In terms of group work, students work together within the seminars each week to apply the theoretical framework of investigation to real life trends and issues within consumer societies. This gives students autonomy to apply their learning in creative ways. The module convenors weekly office hours, in addition to the 1:1 offer for summative feedback sessions also helps students to develop their confidence.


Sustainability: Students are introduced to a broad range of ideas that consider sustainability from a multitude of perspectives. The dedicated session on frequent travel and climate justice explores the physical effect of travel and tourism on the planet explores this idea against the desire and demand for new experiences. However, the module also places a heavy focus on the social sustainability of different forms of travel and tourism on both people and places. By the end of the module, students leave with in-depth knowledge around how tourism can adapt to the need for a more socially sustainable future across different forms of travel.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.