Unit 9 Tourist Destinations

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The aim of this unit is to enable learners to gain understanding of UK and worldwide destinations, their cultural, social and physical features, their characteristics and issues affecting their popularity.

Unit abstract

This unit introduces learners to the main UK and worldwide tourist destinations in terms of visitor numbers and income generation and their location. Learners will look into the cultural, social and physical features of those destinations and the issues and trends that affect their popularity, as part of the essential selling skills and knowledge needed by managers within the travel and tourism sector. Through studying visitor numbers, statistics and other relevant data, learners should be more aware of past issues affecting tourism, enabling them to appreciate the impact they can have on a destination and its continued popularity.

Learning outcomes

1 Understand the scope of key UK and worldwide tourist destinations

  • Main destinations: by income generated, visitor numbers and tourism statistics
  • Tourist destinations: major tourist destinations selected from UK, Europe and the rest of  the world
  • Generators: source of tourists.

2 Understand the cultural, social and physical features of tourist destinations

  • Cultural: resources eg museums, monuments, churches, megaliths, festivals, food, drink, music
  • Social: social groups eg national, regional, religious; needs of different customer groups; impact of tourism on resources and the local community; carrying capacity; sustainability; local and national government policies; alternatives to mass market
  • Physical: landscape eg geology of lakes, mountains, coastline, profile of beaches, flora and fauna, preferences of landscape; effects of people and the need for conservation eg urban infrastructure, water supply, sanitation, transport networks.

3 Understand how the characteristics of destinations affect their appeal to tourists

  • Economic characteristics: economic growth and development; the process of economic development in countries eg pre-industrial society, industrial to a service economy; components of gross domestic product; provision of consumer goods; exportation of primary products; fluctuation of process in export markets; dependency on industrial countries; tourism as an economic alternative.
  • Physical characteristics:physical conditions eg poor urban infrastructure, lack of clean water supply, inadequate sanitation, lack of utilities, poor transport network
  • Social characteristics:eg population pressures, infant mortality, life expectancy, migration from rural to urban living, levels of poverty, construction and roles of family units, quality of life, incidence of disease, literacy levels, role of women and children
  • Political characteristics: forms of government eg absolutist, democratic, emergent democracy, tribal, theocratic; corruption, international links; use of tourism as a political tool eg Cuba, Burma
  • Destinations:selected from UK, Europe and the rest of the world, leading destinations, developing destinations
  • Appeal: popularity, change in visitor numbers, types of visitor eg business, pleasure, visiting friends and relatives; change, product life cycle.

4 Understand issues likely to affect the popularity of tourist destinations

  • Issues: eg climate, global warming, Arctic flows, ocean current, natural disasters, natural phenomena; sustainability; political eg use of tourism as a political tool, human rights, growth of nationalism and religious fundamentalism; terrorism; economics; trade links, sports links, linguistic links, ethical, role of the media, conflict with agriculture
  • Popularity: visitor numbers, statistics, economic data; tourist generation eg factors determining demand, reason for growth; world distribution – domestic and international


  • Garvey, W.T., Ryan, D.H., Bohannon, N.J.V., Kushner, R.F., Rueger, M., Dvorak, R.V. &Troupin, B. 2014, "Weight-loss therapy in type 2 diabetes: effects of phentermine and topiramate extended release", Diabetes care, vol. 37, no. 12, pp. 3309-3316.
  • Goodwin, K., Syme, C., Abrahamowicz, M., Leonard, G.T., Richer, L., Perron, M., Veillette, S., Gaudet, D., Paus, T. & Pausova, Z. 2013, "Routine Clinical Measures of Adiposity as Predictors of Visceral Fat in Adolescence: A Population-Based Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study: e79896", PLoS One, vol. 8, no. 11.

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