Tourism conceptualizations, disciplinarity, institutions, and issues

C. Michael Hall, Allan M. Williams, Alan A. Lew

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

25 Scopus citations


Conceptual challenges in the study of tourism include defining the parameters of tourism, which can be approached from economic, experiential, and mobility perspectives, each of which in itself is a contested landscape for those seeking to deconstruct the significance of the tourism phenomenon. This is especially an issue for the somewhat tentative efforts to define tourism as not only an interdisciplinary field of research, but also as an emerging academic discipline within the academy of higher learning, evidence for which is seen in the growth in university tourism programs, professional associations, and publications. Interdisciplinarity, however, can also be a weakness leading to a lack of shared ontological and epistemological bases for theory building. A review of tourism publication topics shows that applied and business-oriented research tends to dominate in tourism studies, with marketing and economic topics being prominent. Major areas of research focus from a geographical perspective include environmental and sustainability issues, along with destination, community, and place studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Blackwell Companion to Tourism
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781118474648
ISBN (Print)9781118474488
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Interdiscipinarity
  • Tourism definition
  • Tourism geography
  • Tourism publications
  • Tourism research
  • Tourism studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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