Minor in Tourism

Academic Contributors

Shirley Chin Wei Lee

What is Tourism?

Tourism is a global phenomenon and one of the world’s largest industries. It is a significant employer as nearly one in every 10 jobs is tourism related. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, 2010) defines tourists as those, “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes…". Tourism is also important in economic terms; it is big business. For example, international tourism generated $852 (USD) billion in export earnings in 2009 (UNWTO, 2010).

Tourism is a dynamic and complex activity that occurs on a variety of spatial scales (local, national, regional, international) and involves a wide range of stakeholders. Transport, attractions, catering, accommodation, government organizations, retail travel, tour operations and financial services are the main tourism sectors and all play an important role in providing wide-ranging tourism experiences in an attempt to create satisfied tourists.

Tourists travel on business or for pleasure, with family, friends, solo, or in combination. People travel for work, health, education, culture, adventure, sport, food and drink or any other form of human interest. Therefore, there are many different forms of tourism e.g. conference and business tourism, cultural tourism, sport tourism, adventure tourism, space tourism, urban tourism, rural tourism, sex tourism, virtual tourism and dark tourism.

The majority of holiday tourists enjoy popular destinations, visiting theme parks, museums, art galleries, mosques, cathedrals and famous buildings. For some, visiting the Great Pyramids, Galapagos Islands, Grand Canyon, Great Wall, Angkor Wat, Petra, Kremlin, Machu Picchu, Great Barrier Reef or Borneo’s rain forest represents the trip of a lifetime. Yet, various forms of tourism activity in many parts of the world raise questions, especially where the environment is concerned; these need to be studied.

In an age of continual change, the human desire to travel and experience new places remains a constant. For this reason, tourism growth can be expected to continue well into the future. Although global recession caused international tourist arrivals to decline worldwide by around 4% in 2009 to 880 million, the UNWTO forecasts growth in international tourist arrivals of between 3-4% in 2010; by 2020 international arrivals are expected to exceed 1.5 billion people (UNWTO, 2010).

Why Study Tourism?

Tourism is fascinating, multi-dimensional and inter-disciplinary. Given its complexity, it needs to be better understood. Tourism Studies are informed by Social Sciences, Humanities, Physical Sciences and Management Studies. Among the disciplinary approaches that may be taken to the study of Tourism are Geography, Development Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, Communications, Urban and Regional Planning, Parks and Recreation, Psychology, Business, Law, Marketing, Economics, Environmental Studies and Ecology, Agriculture, Political Science, Education, Hotel and Restaurant Administration, History and Transportation.

With new and emerging destinations along with ongoing developments, there is always a significant amount of knowledge and information to command. Studying tourism at university allows the key issues to be understood and explored in depth. This can be intellectually and personally satisfying. You will develop a critical perspective and key skills to equip you throughout life. Some key issues and challenges in tourism include development, diversification, sustainability, managing impacts, ethnicity, competition, profitability, identity, forms of change (including climate change), equity, authenticity, deterritorialization and hybridity.

Tourism is so important that the United Nations has a specialized agency, the UN World Tourism Organization, headquartered in Madrid, to address tourism issues of international significance and provide suitable guidance to its members. Brunei Darussalam has been a Member State of the UNWTO since 2007.

The Brunei Government has declared the need to diversify the country’s economy and enhancing Brunei’s tourism offerings is one of the stated goals. Our Tourism Studies Programme will provide you with opportunities to gain insights into how the producers and consumers of tourism interact. The tourism industry needs graduates who understand tourism as a complex phenomenon and can address the many forms of change associated with tourism activity.

The approach taken to the study of tourism here at UBD is to consider the three key components, namely tourists, the tourism industry and tourism destinations (along with their local populations). The inter-relationships between tourism stakeholders make Tourism so fascinating to consider because they encompass social, cultural, environmental, economic and political (e.g. public policy) dimensions.

Our Tourism Studies curriculum is updated on a regular basis; the student experience benefits from staff research and industry contacts. We also draw on relevant guest speakers in tourism in order to bring the latest industry practice to your attention.

Do you have what it takes to join the Tourism Studies Programme at UBD?


Whilst at university there are ample opportunities to develop a wide range of personal and professional abilities. We will work with you to help develop your unique ideas, talents and skills. In addition, there are a variety of tourism work experiences in which you may participate as part of your Discovery Year. With local, national, regional and international job prospects, the Tourism Studies Programme may be just what you need to achieve your full potential. Join us if you think you have what it takes to succeed in Tourism Studies. We look forward to working with you and wish you the very best with your university career.

A blog of interesting material relating to the Environmental Studies, Geography & Development and Tourism programmes is available at http://geoenvibrunei.blogspot.com/.

Level 1000

Semester 1 Semester 2
AT-1401 Tourism: Concepts and Models AT-1402 Tourism Geographies

Level 2000

Semester 1 Semester 2
AT-2401 Ecotourism AT-2404 Trail Tourism
AT-2402 Culture and Heritage Tourism AT-2405 Tourism in Southeast Asia
AT-2403 Visitor Attractions: Issues and Challenges AT-2406 Tourism Marketing


It is envisioned that our Minor in Tourism Studies will develop into a Major programme in the coming years that will combine specialist tourism modules with others across the university in order to emphasize the inter-disciplinary nature of Tourism Studies.