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VCE Humanities

Geography Unit 2: Tourism


There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Course Description

In this unit students investigate the characteristics of tourism, with particular emphasis on where 
it has developed, its various forms, how it has changed and continues to change and its impacts on people, places and environments. They select contrasting examples of tourism from within Australia and elsewhere in the world to support their investigations. Tourism involves the movement of people travelling away from and staying outside of their usual environment for more than 24 hours but not more than one consecutive year (United Nations World Tourism Organisation definition). Over one billion tourists a year cross international boundaries with greater numbers involved as domestic tourists within their own countries. The Asia and the Pacific hosts 23% of international arrivals. The scale of tourist movements since the 1950s and its predicted growth has had and continues to have a significant impact on local, regional and national environments, economies and cultures. The travel and tourism industry is directly responsible for one in every twelve jobs globally and generates around 5% of its GDP (UNTWO Annual Reports 2011–2013).

The study of tourism at local, regional and global scales emphasises the interconnection within and between places. For example, the interconnections of climate, landforms and culture help determine the characteristics of a place that can prove attractive to tourists. There is an interconnection between places tourists originate from and their destinations through the development of communication and transport infrastructure, employment, together with cultural preservation and acculturation. The growth of tourism at all scales requires careful management to ensure environmentally sustainable and economically viable tourism.

Areas of Study

Characteristics of Tourism

In this area of study students examine the characteristics of tourism, the location and distribution of different types of tourism and tourist destinations and the factors affecting different types of tourism. Students support this investigation with contrasting examples from within Australia and elsewhere in the world. They investigate in detail at least one tourism location using appropriate fieldwork techniques, and one other location elsewhere in the world. The selection of examples should allow students to work with a range of information sources, for example, statistical data, digital images, streamed video and a variety of maps at various scales, as well as undertake fieldwork.

Impact of Tourism

In this area of study students explore the environmental, economic and socio-cultural impacts of different types of tourism. They investigate at least one tourism location, using appropriate fieldwork techniques, and another elsewhere in the world. Students evaluate the effectiveness of measures taken to enhance the positive impacts and/or to minimise the negative impacts at these locations. This fieldwork site could be the same location used for Area of Study 1. They investigate the interconnection of the two selected locations with their surrounding region and national context.


Assessment Tasks
(school-assessed coursework)
Determine the characteristics of domestic and international tourism and establish the changing characteristics of tourism over time.

Structured questions, a case study and a report.

Establish the environmental and economic impacts of tourism at a range of locations and spatial and temporal scales. Determine the socio-cultural impacts of tourism at origin and destination and evaluate the range of management strategies responding to environmental, economic and socio-cultural impacts, and the consequences of these responses.

Fieldwork report and folio of exercises.

Overall Final Assessment

End of Semester Examination – 1.5 hours.

Information can be obtained from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Victoria, Australia: