Our Research

The University of Glasgow Tourism Studies Group promotes research and debate about the contemporary challenges posed by the analysis of tourism as a socio-economic phenomenon. The ultimate goal of our work is to inform the sustainable practice of tourism management, through world-leading interdisciplinary research.

The group encompasses a comprehensive range of expertise in tourism and beyond such as: tourism and regional development, sustainable cultural tourism, the geography and history of tourism, tourism economics, cultural economics, tourism entrepreneurship, as well as philosophy, heritage conservation, architecture and planning.

Our Research Themes and Projects

Tourism as engine for sustainable development

Research under this theme acknowledges the pivotal role that tourism plays for the inclusive sustainable development of regions and cities. We challenge the established views in tourism and promote a holistic, comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to its analysis and management, within a circular tourism perspective. We look at tourism as an ecosystem and analyse the social, economic and environmental impacts of tourism policies on regional development.

We explore motivations and factors influencing tourism behaviour in our constantly changing world. We study destinations policies, including identity and branding to support tourism development. We work on indicators and valuation frameworks to assess the contribution of tourism policies and projects to the achievements of the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Research in this theme is strictly linked with the work done under the other themes.

Sustainable Cultural Tourism and Heritage

Research in sustainable cultural tourism explores the relationship between cultural heritage, in its tangible and intangible expressions, and local sustainable development. We look at cultural tourism management and how to facilitate the transition from a value extractive industry to one promoting attention to nature, heritage, communities and cultural diversity. In this context, cultural heritage is interpreted as cultural capital, a system of assets expressing the identity of a community and producing flows of services, with tourism being an essential one.

Research spans from exploring the authenticity of places, visitors experience and commodification of cultures to cultural capital valuation in UK, Europe and Africa. Ongoing research focuses on the development of indicators to assess the impacts of cultural tourism policies/projects on local sustainable development and wellbeing of communities, and capital economic valuation for heritage/tourism management. Our international research on these aspects is in line with the recently published DCMS framework on valuing Cultural and Heritage Capital.

The Geography and History of Tourism

Research under this theme focuses on the understanding of social, historic and regional aspects of tourism. Research spans from dark tourism, tourism motivation, and anthropology of tourism to the influence of tourism development on place change, from a social and cultural perspective. We explore the history of tourism in the Scottish context, including the Scottish witch-hunts and 19th century Arctic exploration as well as issues of gender in tourism entrepreneurship. Past and ongoing projects have focused on the post-Soviet Context, UK, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Smart cities, decision support systems and the future of tourism

Research aims to investigate how innovation in technologies and business models might positively impact the future recovery of tourism post-pandemic. Within a smart cities framework, we look at how we could develop decision support systems for the sustainable management of tourism. Past and recently funded projects have focused on Europe and India.