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Master in Science International Tourism

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  • Academic Title
    Master in Science International Tourism
  • Course description
    Introduction

    The MSc International Tourism takes a wide view of tourism, using an intensive but generalist approach to prepare students for a wide range of professional opportunities within tourism and other related service sectors.

    It is deliberately built on strong social scientific frameworks, which provide good analytical tools for those seeking to work at a high level within tourism.

    Despite some recent setbacks through political and terrorism problems, tourism continues to grow as a human activity. The World Tourism Organisation predicts that international tourist numbers will double over the next fifteen years, and tourism-related activities are also accounting for an increased share of GDP in many countries. Increased tourism employment opportunities mean an additional requirement for sophisticated managers and analysts.

    Key features

    The programme offers graduates the opportunity of study in a truly international environment with students from differing cultural backgrounds. It is possible to focus internationally, domestically, or on one region such as Europe, Oceania, North America or China.

    Themes such as sustainability, culture and policy run throughout the programmes.

    The programme is strongly based in cutting-edge research undertaken by faculty members, visiting faculty, and {hat reported in the current literature. A three stage programme structure allows you to enter the course and progress through the programme in such a way that you maximise your individual and professional needs.

    A three stage programme structure allows you to enter the course and progress through the programme in such a way that you maximise your individual and professional needs.

    Mode of study and assessment

    The course is designed for full time or part time study mode. Full-time students undertake study in four units during semester A and four units in semester B. Each unit will involve 3 hours of class contact time and 6 of directed learning. Therefore you will be expected to attend 12 hours of class contact per week and 24 hours of directed learning per week. In addition you will also meet with your tutors and programme leader for independent tutorials as required. Part-time students would normally take two or three units per semester. In the final term, students will be working independently on their dissertation project. Whilst there may be some formal class contact during this time, private meetings with the dissertation supervisor will be arranged.
    Units
    Certificate level     Sustainable Tourism     The Tourist as Consumer     International Transport and Travel     The Study of Tourism
    Diploma level     Tourist Destinations     Tourism Service and Hospitality Management     Airports for Tourism     Advanced Tourism Research Methods
    Masters level     Master’s Dissertation

     Sustainable Tourism (15 cp)

    This unit will facilitate a discussion of contemporary debates and issues associated with sustainability in the context of tourism development. Sustainability remains a controversial and highly contested framework within the literature on tourism development. Competing discourses on sustainability reflect different paradigms and value systems. Controversially, it can be argued that the hegemonic discourse exposes a tourism-centric focus, seeking preservation for tourism rather than the sustainable use of resources. Sustainability is not the prerogative of new forms of tourism but is claimed by some to be integral to socially responsible business practice. Applied ethics will be introduced as a framework to facilitate discussion of the extent to which principles of sustainability can, or should, be embedded within the industry.

    The Tourist as Consumer (15 cp)

    The purpose is to examine the nature of consumption, with particular reference to tourist consumption. The emphasis will be on post-structuralist insights, whereby the nature of consumption is considered to be a self-authored experience in the mind, positioned by an encounter with the Other. This self-authored experience will be explored via familiar thematic dimensions of the tourist Other, in particular ‘the past’ and ‘the authentic‘. The range of consumption experiences will be explored in terms of forms, and modes, of consumption. The role of forms of consumption, such as vacational visitation, souvenir and memento acquisition, photography, and the purchasing of real estate will be examined. The role of modes of consumption, in terms of the use of diverse senses, will also be considered. The aim is to set tourist consumption into a wider context of personal mobility.

    The unit will conclude with a consideration of the extent to which tourists, when in the act of consumption, are simultaneously engaged in an act of production. Mental and physical preparation for tourist activity anticipates a dialectic of needs-fulfilment between tourist and intended experience. Production activities such as dress, bodily display and personal behaviour are deployed to create the experience from which identity is constructed.

    International Transport and Travel (15 cp)

    The aim of this unit is to develop the student’s awareness of the principles of international transport management and to provide students with an understanding of the relationship and interface between international transport and tourism activities. The unit further explores the effective implementation of transport policies and evaluates the effect of the implementation of transport policies on the development of international tourism. This unit will require students to be critical of current research and practice relating to transport and to consider a range of ethical dimensions relating to transport policy.

    The Study of Tourism (15 cp)

    This unit is designed to engage learners in a critical reflection on the nature of tourism studies. As a subject, tourism studies is frequently found in institutional/administrative relationship with business studies and they share important areas of overlap, especially in the areas of management and marketing. However, its distinctiveness as an interdisciplinary subject has largely been the result of intellectual input from the social sciences. This is the case in the numerous countries where tourism has emerged as a focus of study in higher education academies.

    The unit therefore explores and interrogates contributions to the study of tourism from a range of disciplines, principally but not exclusively in the social sciences. These contributions include the nature of social organisation and role of institutions in the process of socialisation (from sociology) that have widely influenced tourism studies, from issues such as tourist choice and the ‘new’ tourism to inequalities of tourism provision in terms of class, race and gender. The contributions also include the anthropological study of culture and cultural difference that has informed debates about ‘host-guest’ encounters and the nature of authenticity, the concept of development and the impact of globalisation. These have been elaborated by economists, and are central to an understanding of tourism policy and the debate about whether or not tourism constitutes a form of imperialism. Thirdly there are notions of place, space and mobility, developed by geographers, that were key to the early construction of the subject. More recent additions include a strong political dimension to tourism studies, in work on the contemporary security environment and on the relationship of tourism to nationalism, and the beginnings of a distinct branch of historical study in the history of tourism itself.

    Tourist Destinations (15 cp)

    This unit takes a comprehensive view of the tourist destination, and is centred on the major debates in the now-considerable literature on destinations, ranging from what turns a place into a destination, to how to sustain a destination through different phases of tourism development and changing tourist demand. The impact of increasing mobility on destinations means that an international dimension is necessary to the perspectives adopted in analysing destination development, and will in turn enable useful comparisons and contrasts between destinations in different regions to be drawn.

    Part 1 examines the making (and unmaking) of destinations. Drawing heavily on historical geography and key tenets of human geography, it problematises the concept of ‘place’ and looks critically at a range of scholarly work dealing with commodification and representation of place.

    Part 2 examines issues to do with the management of tourism places, and draws largely on policy/planning literature. A critical analysis of life cycle models of resorts is central to this part of the unit. This unit is situated within a sustainability problematic, as developed in the first semester unit ‘Sustainable Tourism’, and applies the arguments concerning sustainability to the specific demands of destination management.

    Tourism Service and Hospitality Management (15 cp)

    A key and increasingly important aspect of tourism experiences is the commoditisation and provision of direct personal services to tourists. These include not only the well-documented services of hospitality but also services such as ‘movement management’ (e.g. attractions queuing or airport passenger handling), guiding and site interpretation, and retail advice and help. Increasingly, a scientific and social scientific approach to the analysis and management of person-to-person services is being taken internationally, and this is reflected within this unit.

    This unit examines the management of the personal services function within the general context of international tourism. It takes models and theories of service and hospitality from the paradigms of service systems and social context. From these, the unit extracts the functional areas that require management and applies management methods and skills into those areas. The importance of human resource management within tourism enterprises providing direct service, especially in terms of the service encounter and quality management, is emphasised throughout the unit. This is overlaid on other functional areas such as marketing, tour guiding, retailing, attraction, food and beverage, accommodation and financial management. The unit concludes with an analysis of the strategic role of service and hospitality within the wider international tourism context.

    Airports for Tourism (15 cp)

    The aim of this unit is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of past strategic planning of airport systems and to attempt to provide guidance on how the concept of strategic system planning can be used to advantage in the future with a view to the development of international airports designed for modern age international tourism. In so doing, the unit provides an international, comprehensive and systemic approach to airport management and one which is intended to minimize the negative aspects experienced by tourists when passing through the world’s airports. Strategic planning needs careful integration into the entire airport development process. Here the stress is on the need to improve the front end of the process by providing appropriate airport facilities, recognizing that an airport's strategic plan needs to be set in an understanding of the airport's role within a tourism system and that system planning is a vital part of the process. The unit explores the evolving context of airport planning and its response to the needs of the modern day tourist. Case histories of experiences in the USA, UK, EU and elsewhere are used. This unit requires students to be critical of current research and practice relating to airport dynamics and to consider a range of dimensions relating to policy and practice.

    Advanced Tourism Research Methods (15 cp)

    This unit seeks to develop student competency in research methodology to Masters level. Students are encouraged to develop not only as reflexive tourism researchers but also as critical practitioners; who can critically evaluate and (re) interpret evidence presented in published sources.

    Contemporary debates and controversies within the tourism journals will be used to facilitate a critical discussion of the epistemological and ontological assumptions of published tourism research. Such debates will also be used to facilitate a critical understanding of issues like reflexivity, triangulation, ethics, validity and reliability. Whilst it is assumed that most students will have some knowledge and understanding of the classical methods of qualitative and quantitative data collection in social research, these will be reappraised. The unit seeks to expose students to a balance of qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis. In the context of qualitative data students will learn how to conduct conversational analysis, discourse analysis and grounded theory; using computer software where appropriate. The general linear model (GLM) will be used to explain the principles and procedures of multivariate statistical modelling; with students being exposed to regression, factor and path analytical models using SPSS.

    Contemporary Tourism Sectoral Study (elective only) (15 cp)

    This unit is offered as an exceptional elective for those students who can demonstrate a very strong interest in a specific tourism-related context not covered elsewhere within the MSc International Tourism programme, and where a guided taught unit would clearly be required. It is offered only as an exceptional alternative to the unit Airports for Tourism.

    The aim of this unit is to permit students to select ONE contemporary key sector, aspect or activity within tourism, and to apply critical thinking, analysis and problem solving within the chosen context. Examples of such contexts might be cybermarketing, consumer law, hospitality strategy, cultural or media representation, if suitable academic expertise is available in the University.

    This unit requires students to be critical of current research and practice relating to specific tourism issues or activities, and to consider a range of dimensions relating to policy and practice.

    Dissertation (60 cp)

    The dissertation provides the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to reflect critically on the aspects of tourism discussed in the programme. The vehicle will be the researching and writing of a dissertation, based on the research proposal formulated during the pre-requisite unit. The dissertation is the capstone of the MSc learning process, and allows the student to demonstrate mastery in scholarship of a tourism-related topic that they have selected in amalgamation with supervisory tutors.

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