Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum

Tourism and development

Year level: 9-10

Students examine the positive and negative effects of tourism in Australia and Bhutan using a case study and statistics to examine social, environmental and economic changes. They examine how varying approaches to tourism can support positive development and limit the negative effects. They reflect on their own future behaviour.

The steep Haa Valley in western Bhutan looks toward the snow-capped Himalayas.

The steep Haa Valley in western Bhutan looks toward the snow-capped Himalayas. Photo by Douglas J McLaughlin/Wikimedia

Identity and cultural diversity, Social justice and human rights, Sustainable futures

Australian Curriculum links

Learning areas


Year 9

The effects of people's travel, recreational, cultural or leisure choices on places, and the implications for the future of these places (ACHGK069)

Year 10

The human-induced environmental changes that challenge sustainability (ACHGK070)

The application of environmental economic and social criteria in evaluating management responses to the change (ACHGK075)

General capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Ethical behaviour
  • Intercultural understanding

Cross-curriculum priorities

  • Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
  • Sustainability

Activity 1: Being a tourist in Australia

Students consider holidays in Australia and the economic, social and environmental effects they have.



Write a short reflection on 'My ideal holiday'. Words might include: fun, adventure, recreation, shopping, meeting new people, learning new things, sightseeing, luxury, budget, local, overseas.

View promotional materials and advertisements for holidays in Australia on a website such as Tourism Australia – Holiday in Australia.
Choose a holiday that interests you.


  • the focus of the holiday (eg place, level of activity, interaction with local people, education, cultural experience)
  • the geographical, heritage and environmental features of the holiday destination.

Use the Development compass rose to list the effects (positive and negative) on the environment (N), economy (E), society (S) and decision-makers (W) of the destination.

List, in pairs, three questions that arise from your Development compass rose.


Use National Digital Learning Resources Network digital curriculum resources
L2691 Resort rescue: coastal protection 
L5996 Visit us: tourist information website 

Activity 2: Being a tourist in Bhutan

Students consider holidays in Bhutan and some of the economic, social and environmental effects they have.

View a collection of photos of Bhutan using a photo website to such as Tag Galaxy.
Select five photos and use the Visible Thinking routine See think wonder to note:

  • What do you see?
  • What do you think about that?
  • What does it make you wonder?

Use atlases or online maps to locate the capital of Bhutan, and your closest major city.

Calculate how far Bhutan is from the place where you live.

Read the Bhutan country profile and annotate a map with details about the country's geography, people, economy and government. Include some of its recent achievements and the challenges it faces.


  • three places you might like to visit
  • two activities you might like to do
  • one thing you would like to learn more about. 

Use these websites to start your investigation:

Share your wikis and maps with your group and revise them to answer questions and address comments. Continue to add content to your wiki and map based on the following websites.

Review information about Bhutan travel requirements at Tourism Council of Bhutan.

List ways Bhutan controls the number and type of tourists.

Review the concept of Gross National Happiness.
Use a Positive, negative, question chart to examine a domain of Gross National Happiness in small groups.

Re-form the groups of three with members from other groups and share your learning. 
Discuss the features that might make Bhutan appealing and challenging to tourists. 

Activity 3: Tourism and development in Bhutan

Students examine a case study and statistics to determine some of the effects of tourism on the environment, economy and people of Bhutan.

Read  Tourism for development in Bhutan.

Create a timeline using a program such as Timetoast or TimeRime showing some of the changes in Bhutan since 1999 and their effects.

Use a T-chart to list the positive and negative effects of tourism for people living in Bhutan based on the case study.

Examine these statistics to find the economic benefits.

Bhutan tourist arrivals and revenue receipts

Number of tourists17,34221,09427,63623,48026,93837,489
Revenue (millions Ngultrums)1,083.61,242.01,687.81,544.281,600.552,226.16
Revenue (million US dollars)29.8538.8331.8835.9847.68
Revenue (% GDP)

* High-end tourists were included in the total figures for the first time.
Source: Tourism Council of Bhutan


  • What information would you need to determine the social and environmental effects of tourism in Bhutan?
  • What processes has Bhutan implemented to limit the negative effects of tourism? 

Activity 4: Responsible tourism

Students examine different approaches to improving the positive and limiting the negative effects of tourism in a developing country.

View the video What is responsible tourism? from the Responsible Travel website.
Record your responses to the following questions.

  • Who created the video?
  • What message does it present?
  • What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in, or omitted from, the message?
  • How has the message been created?
  • Who might the message appeal to?

Examine, in groups of three, the guidelines about limiting the negative effects of tourism on communities, economy and the environment using one of the following websites.

List, as a class, the important elements of these approaches.
Create a statement about responsible tourism and sustainable development. 


View Bhutan – Tourism and development to learn about how Fundecooperación is assisting development of sustainable tourism in Bhutan through river kayaking. 

Activity 5: Evaluating tourist packages in Bhutan

Students evaluate a tourist package for its environmental, economic and social effects.

Use these links to select a holiday in Bhutan:


  • What is the focus of the holiday? (place, level of activity, interaction with local people/culture)
  • What are the geographical, environmental and/or cultural heritage features of the place?

Use these questions to start an investigation in groups of three:


  • What natural attractions can tourists see in Bhutan?
  • What adventure- and nature-based tourism is available?
  • How do tours try to limit their effect on the environment?


  • What tours are available to deepen understanding about Bhutanese culture?
  • How do tours engage with Bhutanese culture so that stereotypes are not reinforced and misunderstandings are addressed?
  • What dos and don'ts should tourists be aware of?


  • How do tourists contribute to the economy of Bhutan?
  • How is the income from tourism used to assist rural development?
  • How does targeting high-value tourists assist the economy?

Record outcomes of your group's research in the following table:

 Positive effects on BhutanNegative effects on BhutanActivities to reduce negative effects

Form an opinion about the balance of positive and negative effects of tourism for Bhutan. 

Discuss with a partner who has the opposite point of view:

  • How can tourism contribute to sustainable development?
  • What are the best forms of tourism for Bhutan?
  • How might tourism in Bhutan be developed so that it balances the various perspectives of local communities, tourists, economy and environment?  

Activity 6: Balancing tourism and development

Students consider the balance of effects of international tourism and create their own guidelines for being a tourist.


  • How can tourism contribute to sustainable development?
  • What issues need to be considered when planning a holiday?

Create a list of five guidelines for tourists.
Use a Development compass rose to note how these guidelines could affect the environment (N), economy (E), local culture/social interactions (S) and the decision-making/power base in a small community (W).

Design an app, poster or bookmark with the guidelines for use when travelling.


Investigate a holiday package using your guidelines. Write a review highlighting its features.

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The steep Haa Valley in western Bhutan looks toward the snow-capped Himalayas.
Photo by Douglas J McLaughlin/Wikimedia
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The steep Haa Valley in western Bhutan looks toward the snow-capped Himalayas. Photo by Douglas J McLaughlin/Wikimedia