The effects of instruction in geography on college students' perception of world regions as tourism destinations


This study assessed college students' perception of twelve world geographic regions as travel destinations before and after completing an introductory course in world regional geography. It also surveyed the students' perceptions of each of the regions regarding four tourism-related factors: physical landscape attractiveness, cultural attractiveness, travel safety, and quality of tourist services. Furthermore, the study assessed whether attitudes and perceptions about people and places were changed or reinforced by instruction in geography. The study has practical significance from two points of view. First, information about American college students' perceptions of broad geographic regions may be of practical value in making travel marketing decisions. Secondly, information about the effects of formal instruction in geography on students' perception of the world is of interest for pedagogic reasons. On the pre-course survey, the Pacific Islands, Australia/New Zealand, and Western Europe were in close competition as the most popular destinations. South Asia and Southern Africa were the least popular. All of the regions were ranked high or medium in physical attractiveness and cultural attractiveness. Responses were variable, ranging from low to medium to high in travel safety and quality of travel services. Five of the regions among the lower preferences were ranked differently in the end of the semester survey. There was relatively little change in the students' rankings of the tourism-related factors. Although previous pre-and post-course examinations in world regional geography indicate very significant improvement in students' knowledge of world geography, the effects of formal instruction in geography on students' perception of world regions as tourism destinations was modest. © 1990 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Geography, Geology, and Planning

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Tourism Recreation Research