• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Environmental Management & Development
  • Areas of interest Human Ecology, Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, Climate, Environmental Science, Resource and Environmental Management
  • Work Integrated Learning Fieldwork
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course is available for in-person and remote (online) learning.

Tourism is a large, resource intensive industry of interest to applied researchers from a wide range of academic disciplines. Eco-cultural tourism, much of it based on World Heritage sites and national parks, is the fastest growing tourism sector.

As one of the main arenas for contact between cultures and with other species, tourism's extreme focus on pleasure, often in circumstances of stark inequality, raises difficult ethical questions. In twenty of the poorest 48 nations, tourism is either the first or second earner of foreign income and the World Tourism Council argues that it is a powerful force for alleviating world poverty.

What pre-conditions are needed for that to be true? Who benefits and who pays the costs from major tourism development projects? Does tourism change the way in which the host communities see themselves? What are the long term impacts resulting from the interaction of different cultures? Where do World Heritage sites and national parks fit in the mix? How does tourism affect Indigenous peoples living in World Heritage designated regions? Are there tensions between tourism and mining, agriculture and urban and coastal development? What are the challenges for the social welfare, education and health sectors? Does tourism promote corruption? How successful are certification programs in promoting sustainability and socially responsible behaviour? What should be the role of governments? 

These and similar questions will be investigated through seminar based workshops, with field visits involving regionally based researchers, policy and management practitioners, non-government organizations, industry representatives and local Indigenous peoples.

This course requires a permission code to enrol.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand the suite of public policy issues relevant to eco-cultural tourism 
  2. Evaluate the contribution that different disciplines can make to eco-cultural tourism public policy
  3. Explain and work with the tensions involved in the research-policy relationship 
  4. Complete a substantial independent research project linked to the themes of the course. 

Work Integrated Learning


The WIL component of this course is an extended field experience allowing the application of concepts and skills in a real world setting.

Other Information

Contested Heritage will be the theme for the 2021 Eco-Cultural Tourism Workshop which will be conducted in Canberra on 8-12 November, preceded in the previous week by two online evening sessions. Students will visit places that prompt questions central to the identity of contemporary Australia and in response will develop individual research projects taking account of their personal interests. (In many cases examining their home societies, in Australia or elsewhere.)

They will discuss how Australia should be governed and what should be its national priorities? Diverse answers are offered by the national parliament, the ACT Assembly (a regional alternative to the states-based model of federal Australia) the Museum of Democracy in Old Parliament House, the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on its doorstep and its would-be replacement down the hill, Reconciliation Place. Over the lake at the War Memorial they will debate whether Australia is a peace loving or warrior nation and should that institution also commemorate the colonial genocidal black wars? At the national museum attention will focus on tensions between colonial development, Aboriginal displacement and environmental degradation.

Further questions about the environment will result from visits to the arboretum, the national botanic gardens – the country’s first to specialise in Australia flora – Namadgi National Park, and nature reserves such as Mulligan’s Flat with its rewilding projects. Cultural institutions such as the National Art Gallery and the National Library will be used to stimulate discussions about relations between cultures and the changing character of Australia of which Canberra provides a striking example. Once renowned for its dourness and respectability the city is now a national leader on many progressive issues with a substantial sex industry and a flourishing gambling casino (local testament to that industry’s deep knowledge of the skills required for policy/state capture).

Indicative Assessment

  1. 1000 word essay on one of the major workshop themes before departure. (20) [LO 2]
  2. Journal reflecting on the daily progress of the workshop focusing in particular on the research policy relationship as discussed with regional policy makers and managers in their presentations and during the field trips. (20) [LO 3,4]
  3. 300 word outline of the proposed independent essay topic which also places their project on the research continuum listed in LO one (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Post-workshop 4000 word independent research essay. (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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36 hours organised class time plus required attendance on the field trip. There may be additional costs associated with the field trip.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the Crawford School of Public Policy to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $4560
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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