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Tourism Geography Education: Opportunities, Obstacles and the Production of Tourism Geographers

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Geography departments that offer undergraduate tourism geography programmes or concentrations today face a growing number of obstacles. Changes in employment trends within the industry and increasing competition from other tourism-related departments threaten the survival of many geography tourism programmes. The diversity of tourism programmes and departments in universities today has also increased competition for tourism geographers from non-geography departments. This trend may threaten the future production of tourism geographers. This article examines the opportunities and obstacles facing tourism geography education today. An analysis of specialty interest levels in recreation and tourism among geographers and the results of an email survey to geography departments that offer tourism geography suggest that tourism geography is relatively healthy, although some departments are facing difficult times. The case studies illustrate how some geography departments have benefited from incorporating or appropriating tourism hospitality courses/programmes and how other programmes have suffered from retirement of tourism geographers and academic managerialism at both the departmental and university level. The article also offers two in-depth case studies, which reflect the opportunities and obstacles facing departments that promote and encourage the production of tourism geographers.

Keywords: Tourism geography education; academic capitalism; tourism programmes

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, Central Connecticut State University, USA

Publication date: 2009-02-01

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