University of Technology Sydney

21636 Developing Sustainable Destinations

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business: Management
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.
Anti-requisite(s): 27327 Tourism and Sustainability AND 27523 Planning for Sustainable Destinations


This subject explores issues associated with the long-term management of tourism destinations as the fundamental resource for tourism businesses. Maintaining the sociocultural and ecological quality and integrity of the destination is vital to securing the economic sustainability of tourism enterprises located within it. The subject discusses ways in which tourism can be developed and managed sustainability. It investigates key aspects, such as sustainable development principles, economic, environmental and sociocultural impacts of tourism, traditional planning approaches and recent shifts, sustainable development indicator frameworks and monitoring, forecasting methods, and the key determinants of quality tourist experiences in a range of destinations. It also explores contemporary challenges and current debates associated with planning and managing a range of destination types, including cities, protected areas and coastal resorts.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the role of destination planning in the sustainable management of the asset base of the global tourism industry
2. Review and explain the different theoretical perspectives on tourism sustainability and their link to the management of real world industry sectors
3. Display an understanding of the varying mechanisms used in planning and managing sustainable destinations
4. identify, discuss and evaluate government policies and industry-based initiatives intended to enhance the sustainability of destinations
5. Examine appropriate planning strategies for the development of tourism destinations which incorporate the management of appropriate environmental settings and the resolution of related issues

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

Developing Sustainable Destinations is a key subject in the Tourism Major in the Bachelor of Management. The intent of this subject is to provide students seeking to develop management careers in tourism with an understanding of destination environmental planning principles and practices relevant to their field of study. In particular, the subject develops an understanding of how environmental planning shapes the quality and quantity of spaces, places and facilities which provide the settings for tourism experiences, and seeks to ensure that such provisions are compatible with and contribute to the sustainable development of communities, and tourism infrastructure and facilities at that destination.

This subject contributes to achievement of the following graduate attributes:

  • Business knowledge and concepts
  • Critical thinking, creativity and analytical skills

Teaching and learning strategies

In this subject you will find a different approach to teaching and learning than you may have experienced in other undergraduate units to date. Throughout the subject there will be an expectation of each student to be critically engaged with the topics being discussed in a particular week. Our aim in any discussion of sustainable tourism planning is not to tell you what to believe – it is to equip you with the tools to determine for yourself what you believe. Sustainable tourism and planning are values driven concepts in the sense that there is no one set way that they should be applied across all destination contexts.

In lectures we will use video case studies and guest lecturers to equip you with essential base level understanding of core concepts and ideas. Tutorials will then be framed around a series of debatable topics, which will not only draw on thematic material from lectures and from earlier in your degree, they will also require you to critically assess the merits of different planning tools and approaches in real world destinations. Tutorial readings and discussion questions will all be available on UTS Online from the start of the semester. The nature of the questioning will mean that you will struggle in the final exam if you feel that you can simply memorise key concepts and listen passively to tutorial discussions.

To do well in final exams and other assessments you are not reading to primarily memorise. Instead your focus should be on showing the evolution of your own ideas and understanding. You will only be able to develop your understanding by bringing your ideas (however mundane or controversial) to class and having them challenged by your classmates, tutors and lecturers.

Students will receive formal feedback from tutors and peers in the course of feedback sessions that are built into the framework of weekly tutorials beginning in week 2 of semester

Content (topics)

  • The impacts of tourism on destinations and host communities
  • Sustainable development principles
  • Environmental planning of destinations
  • Destination life cycles
  • Livelihoods, ethics and social responsibility
  • Destination auditing and resource assessment – attraction base, carrying capacity, human resource and financial capability
  • Maintaining quality and diversity of visitor experiences
  • Development control as a destination management tool


Assessment task 1: Essay (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 2

Weight: 40%

2000 words in length

Assessment task 2: Reflection (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):


Weight: 30%

1,500 words.

Assessment task 3: Exam (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Weight: 30%

2 hours, 10 minutes (includes 10 minutes of reading time).

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks.

Required texts

Wood. M. E. (2017) Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet- Environmental, Buisness and Policy Solutions. Routledge, Lodon & New York

Available for download from the UTS library


Dredge, D. & Jenkins, John, M. (2007) Tourism Planning and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, Brisbane.

Gurran, N, (2011) (2nd ed) Australian Urban Land Use Planning: Introducing Statutory Planning Practice in New South Wales, Sydney University Press, Sydney.

Holden, A. (2008), Environment and Tourism, Routledge, London, 2nd Edition.

Liburd. J.J and Edwards, D.(2010) Understanding the Sustainable Dvelopment of Tourism. Goodfellow. Oxford

Lozano-Oyola, M., Blancas, F. J., González, M., & Caballero, R. (2012). Sustainable tourism indicators as planning tools in cultural destinations. Ecological Indicators, 18, 659-675.

Mason. P. (2016), Tourism Impacts Planning and Management. Rourtledge. Adlington UK

Kastarlak, B.I. & Barber, B. K. (2012) Fundamentals of Planning and Developing Tourism. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Ritchie. JR,.& Crouch . G. (2003) The Competitive Destination A Sustainable Tourism Perspective. Cabi Publishing. Wallingford UK.

Travis, A.S. (2011) Planning for Tourism, Leisure and Sustainability: International Case Studies, CABI, Oxford.

Wearing. S., Schweinsberg, S. Tower. J.(2016) Marketing national Parks for Sustianable Tourism, Channel View PUblications. Bristol UK.

Other resources

In addition to readings provided on UTS On Line

Recommended Academic Journals Include:

Journal of Sustainable Tourism

Annals of Tourism Research

Journal of Vacation Marketing

Current Issues in Tourism

Journal of Tourism and Hospitrality Research

CAUTHE Papers 2012-2018 (will be included on UTS on line).

Industry On Line publications:

E Turbo News

E Global Travel Media

ETB Travel News (Dr Beirman has a fortnightly column, Global Tourism)

Industry Sites: (UTS is a member of PATA Pacific Asia Travel Associatoon) site of the UN World Tourism Organations

World Travel and Tourism Council