Tourism, Culture and Society

Explore the world through the study of tourism
Student TCS on campus

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Explore the world through the study of tourism. Why do people travel? What role do media play in the tourism industry? It’s all about understanding the interplay between tourism, culture and society.

Key Facts & Figures

Mode of study
Instruction language
1 year
Study points (EC)
Start date
Application Deadline (EEA)
15 May
View all

The study programme in a nutshell

This master specialisation is interdisciplinary and combines research from the academic disciplines of Sociology, cultural economics, media studies and cultural studies.

Why this study

''I feel this fulfillment of me actually growing and expanding my academic skills.''

Tourism, Culture and Society by Xiaoyu

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Students meeting each other

Find out everything you need to know at one of these (online) events.

All our education events

Career opportunities after graduation

As a graduate of this programme, you will be an in-demand professional who works for governments or (inter)national organisations in the domains of tourism, heritage or culture. You will create solutions for today's tourist industry.

This could be your future

What do our students think?

Xiaoyu Zhang

Xiaoyu Zhang - Student Master Tourism, Culture and Society

It inspired me to view te world from a different perspective.
Portrait picture of Xiaoyu Zhang
It inspired me to view te world from a different perspective.

After working for five years, I felt the urge to charge myself by learning something new and experiencing a new culture. I know Erasmus University Rotterdam through a former colleague. She shared her wonderful experience at Erasmus and in Rotterdam with me, which stimulated my interest in applying for a master’s specialisation here.

An new journey

Although I have been abroad several times (either travelling or short-term exchange programs), living abroad for a long time is really different. When I first got here, I felt overwhelmed by all the things that I had to do, such as registration at city hall, opening a bank account, and even finding a place to live. But as soon as I cracked them down one by one, a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction give me the strength to carry on.

(But don’t worry, if you arrive in September, you can do all these at the one-stop-shop on campus.)

Tough Love

I am glad that the admission board offered me a premaster program at first, which really helped me to build a solid foundation for my current master specialisation. The study load was not what I had expected. I don’t mean that it is so difficult that no one can pass the finals. It’s just how the difference between the educational systems in China and in the Netherlands. And my academic experience in sociology or tourism studies was limited.

Learning Dutch

I really enjoyed the globalisation course, which inspired me to view the world from a different perspective. I am happy to see how I grew with the help of teaching staff and my fellow students. Now I am learning Dutch because I want to explore more about the Dutch culture and learning the language would really help.

Portrait picture of Xiaoyu Zhang

Henry Chow

Henry Chow - PhD Student Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Tourism is about much more than economics and management - there's something about travelling that captures our imagination.
Portrait of Henry Chow
Tourism is about much more than economics and management - there's something about travelling that captures our imagination.

Henry’s research
”In my PhD project, I study the connection between Korean television dramas and tourism. Of course, media and tourism companies play influential roles, but government initiatives, fan communities and individual tourists also shape the kind of tourism in a particular location. It is fascinating to find the traces of tourist behaviour in its setting: did a television drama start the practice of placing a ‘love lock’ at Namsan Seoul Tower? Does the upscale French restaurant on top of the tower benefit from this? What images and narratives are presented on official promotional materials, or individual social media accounts? Does this affect how people think of Koreans as potential romantic partners? The complex meanings involved in a simple act open up a great deal of questions."

Why Place, Culture and Tourism?
"The essentially place-bound and face-to-face nature of tourism makes it a promising source of sustainable employment for both growing cities and depopulating rural regions. But tourism is about much more than just economics and management – there’s something about travelling that captures our imagination. For many of us, travelling offers the prospect of gaining rich, meaningful experiences that are unattainable at home. I would like to know why that is: Is wanderlust something universal? While scientific answers for such questions are hard to come by, linking the study of ‘tourism’ theoretically to ‘place’ and ‘culture’ has produced some of the more interesting suggestions."

After the PhD
"I enjoy research and teaching very much, so opting for an academic career seems like a logical choice after my PhD (when I finish!). Nevertheless, I have been in touch with television producers, policy advisors, marketing professionals, hotel managers, sculpture artists, and people from many other walks of life in just my first year on the research project – so my decision could very well change!”

Portrait of Henry Chow

Débora Póvoa

Débora Póvoa - PhD Student Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

It is the transition from an idea of a location to the actual experience of being in and transforming that location that I find fascinating.
Portrait picture of Débora Ribeiro Póvoa
It is the transition from an idea of a location to the actual experience of being in and transforming that location that I find fascinating.

Débora’s research
“Why does cinema make people travel? What impact does film tourism have in the locations where it takes place? How do locals, tourists, media producers and tourism entrepreneurs relate to each other? These are some of the questions that I attempt to answer with my PhD project, focused on the phenomenon of film tourism in Brazil.

Tourism is about exchange, communication, connection. It is about people, after all. And it is the human aspect of tourism that I am most interested in exploring: how tourism changes both tourists’ and locals’ routines and the spaces they cohabit. Besides understanding the tangible impact of tourism, I also investigate what moves people – how the imaginaries about a place created by movies and TV series encourage them to travel. It is this transition from an idea of a location to the actual experience of being in and transforming that location that I find the most fascinating aspect of the field of ‘Place, Culture and Tourism’.   

Tourism has long occurred in Brazil, and often in sensitive areas like the favelas. With little planning, sometimes this practice brings undesired consequences to local communities, such as gentrification. In the context of my research, this would be one of the biggest challenges of the tourism industry: to find a way of conducting tourism that is sustainable to both tourists and locals. By unfolding the power dynamics between the actors involved in the tourism business, I hope I can provide some answers to this.”

After the PhD
“After concluding my PhD, I plan on pursuing an academic career; in recent years, I really found my passion in doing research and teaching! However, I would like to combine my academic work with consultancy to tourism boards and governmental initiatives. Let’s see what the future holds!”

Portrait picture of Débora Ribeiro Póvoa

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