Why this programme

Tourism, Culture and Society
Student TCS on campus

Explore the world through the study of tourism. Why do people travel? For example, how can we make sense of New Zealand's 50% increase in tourism after the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy? What makes a city or region attractive to visit: what motivates over 1.5 million people each year to visit Auschwitz in Poland? What role do media play in tourism industry?

These are just some of the questions that are dealt with within the master’s programme. It’s all about understanding the interplay between tourism, culture and society. Join our programme and become a specialist in one of the fastest growing sectors of today’s society. We provide you with the knowledge and skills to anticipate and understand the global dynamics between societies, cultures, media and tourism.

Five reasons to study Tourism, Culture and Society at the EUR

•    as one of the few masters in tourism, this programme is interdisciplinary and combines research from sociological, cultural economic and media perspectives;
•    you will be able to approach today’s challenges in the tourist industry from different perspectives and find creative solutions;
•    your teachers will share with you their theoretical knowledge and their experiences from global research projects. They are renowned scholars who are on top of the new developments and most cutting-edge studies in the field; 
•    experience intercultural communication, don’t just study it! At Erasmus University Rotterdam, you study in a diverse and international environment. This means that you will become part of a diverse community and meet people from all around the world when you study here; 
•    Rotterdam is one of the most up-and-coming tourist destinations of the moment, which enables you to test the theories in your immediate environment. You will be surrounded by an interesting network that can be useful to you in your development from student to professional.

A word from

Portrait picture of Xiaoyu Zhang

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 Débora Ribeiro Póvoa

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 of Henry Chow

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!”

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