89952 - World History of Tourism

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Decent work and economic growth Life on land

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course aims at providing students with an up-to-date understanding of the main aspects and trends of tourism with an emphasis on the social and economic dimensions. The distinguishing feature of the course is the long-run perspective in analysing phenomena. At the end of course, students will be able to: (a) understand the main concepts used to explain the historical development of tourism in the global economy and the factors influencing its growth; (b) recognize the ethical, social and cultural issues concerning tourism development; (c) select and apply the appropriate tools and methods to analyse historical facts; (d) identify and analyse historical developments relevant to a deeper understanding of current issues; (e) discuss and communicate topics in a clear and competent manner.

Course contents

The following topics will be covered:

1. From Ancient Time to Industrial Revolution
(Ancient economy; Tourism in Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome; Medieval economy; The age of pilgrimage; The revival of urban economy; The age of Luxury consumption; Tourism during the Renaissance: Spa resorts and Grand Tour)

2. The Industrial Revolution
(The first globalisation; The emergence of US economic leadership; The consumer revolution and the politics of consumption; The invention of leisure and the emergence of worktime differences among industrialized countries; The emergence of modern tourism in Europe, and the United States)

3. Tourism in the XXth century

(The world economy in the XXth century; The disintegration of world economy in the interwar period; The rebuilding of European economy after WW2;  The economic development of Asian countries; The travails of African countries; From élite tourism to mass tourism; Tourism in a globalized world: economic development and the three waves of globalization; The age of mass tourism in Europe and in the United States Has tourism been an engine of growth?; Soviet Union. Tourism in a planned economy; Is tourism an engine of growth? The Asian, South American, African and Oceania countries' experiences; China in a globalized world. Tourism development in Asia; Strengths and weaknesses of tourism in Africa)

4. The tourism evolution in Italy. Some case studies in the global contest.

(Lido di Venezia and the élite tourism; Rimini and the mass tourism; The Costa Smeralda and the planned development; Different path of mountain resorts development: the Trentino Alto Adige and Abruzzo; The case of Cortina d'Ampezzo.

5. Current trends and prospects in historical perspective 

(The history tour operators; The hotels history; The environmental, economic, and social sustainability of tourism)









The teaching material and additional readings will be uploaded on the "Virtuale" platform.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons

Assessment methods

Written examination

Office hours

See the website of Nicola Sbetti