MRTS Courses

Description of Courses

MRTS 510-The Tourism System (3 credit hours)

This course is designed to give students a clear idea about tourism as a system.  It will provide a foundation in tourism principles, practice, and processes for an interdisciplinary, graduate audience in the Masters in Tourism Studies. After students acquire an overview of foundational concepts, advanced theories and concepts will be explored.  Students will obtain an advanced awareness of the tourism industry, tourism systems, tourism infrastructure and superstructure as well as its application in both the Palestinian and international contexts.  This course will be divided into three modules of one credit hour each as follows:

1–Tourism Infrastructure (1 credit hour)

This module is considered an introduction to the tourism industry as a system.  The module covers such infrastructural aspects in the private sector as tour operations and agencies, accommodation (including hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast units), international and internal transport, food and beverage, related sectors including agriculture.  The module also discusses issues such as the roads an road signs, water and sewage systems, telecommunications, conference facilities and other public facilities.  In addition, this module discusses the role of the various players in the provision and maintenance of infrastructure.  Those players may include governmental as well as non-governmental organizations.  Local, national, regional and international governance structures will be discussed.

2–Tourism Superstructure (1 credit hour)

This module is a continuation of the previous one.  It builds on ideas discussed in the infrastructure module.  This module focuses on a description and analysis of the cultural and environmental content of the tourism offer.  The module will tackle issues that have a general nature but with a special focus on the case of Palestine.  The module will cover religious monuments and sites, cultural events and activities, the uses of nature in tourism, and the prime necessity of establishing relationship between tourism infra- and super-structures.  The issue of governance that was raised in the first module will be carried on in this module as well.

3– Tourism Economics (1 credit hour)

This module focuses on an assessment of the economic significance of tourism in general and in Palestine in particular.  The module will cover the varieties of employment opportunities in the sector, questions of investment (including regulatory frameworks), and the economic multiplier possibilities of the industry.  This module looks at problems and policy issues within tourism from the perspective of economic analysis examining what determines the demand for tourism within the different sectors of the market; the pricing of tourism products; the economic impact of tourism and local and national governmental policies.  An important issue to be discussed is the spillover effects of tourism and externalities quantified by cost-benefit analysis.

MRTS 511– History of Tourism, Hospitality and Tour guiding (3 credit hours)

1– History of Tourism (1 credit hour)

This module will trace the origins of contemporary tourism (both generally and in the Palestinian case). It will stimulate the growing visibility of the history of tourism as an essential component both of historical understanding and of the development of a grounded, humanistic dimension to the increasingly interdisciplinary ventures that come under the label of tourism studies. The importance of the contribution of history to the understanding of tourism as an outstandingly significant current phenomena, pilgrimage, scientific expeditions, diplomatic travel, and domestic travel including visiting friends and relatives, and other forms of local and international mobility will be researched.

2– Hospitality (1 credit hour)

Familial and civic forms of hospitality have ancient roots. This module will consider traditional forms of hospitality and trace their relations to the modern hospitality industry. The relevance of all forms of Hospitality for Palestinian tourism will be assessed.

3 – Tour Guiding (1 credit hour)

The issue of tour guiding is one of the more central ones in any course of tourism studies. There are pragmatic and logistic challenges for the tourist simply finding his/her way from one place to another- in and out of appropriate modes of transport, for example. Then there are cultural, social, and political issues associated with the degree to which tourists gain (or do not gain) understanding of the place they are visiting. Here the guide appears as an interpreter/teacher/ambassador and an essential part of any process that sees tourism partly as education.


MRTS 512– Pilgrimage (3 credit hours)

1 Jewish Pilgrimage (1 credit hour)

There are various types and traditions of Jewish pilgrimage. These include pilgrimages to Egypt, Morocco, and other North African countries to visit tombs and sites of holy men.

2 Christian pilgrimage (1 credit hour)

Christian pilgrimage has, of course, formed the historical backbone of Palestinian tourism in general, tourism to Jerusalem and Bethlehem in particular. The roots of the Christian pilgrimage in the Holy Land will be considered. The present place of Christian pilgrimage will be examined, its institutional structures (pilgrimage operators, agents, church networks) analyzed, and pilgrimage sites identified.

3 Islamic Pilgrimage (1 credit hour)

This module will consider the main forms of pilgrimages including Hajj and pilgrimages to Jerusalem, it will investigate the role of the religious doctrine in motivating travel, while pilgrimage is usually seen as travel with a uniquely religious purpose this module will explore the possibilities for, and modalities of, integrating Islamic pilgrims and the countries from which they come from into the Palestinian tourism strategy.


MRTS 515- The Palestinian Tourism (3 credit hours)

1F1-1– Palestinian Tourism Offer (1 credit hour)

The purpose of this module is to identify with precision what exactly Palestinian tourism is offering the tourist. Holy sites certainly, but what else? Historic sites (including, in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, two of the most famous cities in the world) most with ongoing programs involving the preservation of particular quarters, streets and markets; rural sites and trails (Artas, Battir, Solomon’s Pools) ; systems of hospitality with ancient roots; an emerging Palestinian gastronomic offer; a wealth of creative and cultural industries (encompassing literature, dance and other performing arts, museums and galleries); a Mediterranean sea side resort (with potentially unrivalled seafood restaurants)(Gaza); Dead Sea and the oldest city in the world(Jericho);a range of specialist ‘niche’ market sites (for those with interests in birds, flowers, and desert flora and fauna), and very significant range of sites, activities, and experiences for the ‘ alternative’ tourism market of independent and group tourists.

2– Palestinian Cultural Heritage (1 credit hour)

This module will explore the cultural and creative industries including literature, dance, performing arts, music, architecture, film, theatre and others. Non-material heritage in contemporary and future tourism in Palestine will be considered. The implications for Tourism of the EU’s recently completed Delta and MED-VOICES and the extent to which ideas can be taken from them to enhance the Tourism offer: story telling, family histories, memories including those brought to life photographically), design and fashion ideas and practices, cooking traditions, and other specialist skills.

3– Anthropology of Heritage (1 credit hour)

This module focuses on the management of heritage and cultural resources and the identification of study of both material and intangible cultural resources as they relate to our ability to understand the relationships between the present and the past, and the study of historical archaeology, cultural resource management, applied folklore and oral history, heritage tourism development and relationship between culture and history.

MRTS 516– Sustainable Development (3 credit hours)

1– Principles of Development (1 credit hour)

The basic principles of sustainable development will be examined. Reference to global (pace Brundtland) and local (pace Agenda 21 reports from various locations) practices will be studied. Case studies from various parts of the world will be considered and the implications of these for sustainable development in Palestine will be debated.  Tourism has long been regarded as a tool for social and economic development. This module will look at the general arguments and theories of sustainable tourism development in both developed and less developed regions and consider what role tourism will play in Palestinian development.

2– Developmental Issues in Palestine (1 credit hour)

The objective of the module is to generate awareness among students to the importance of developing tourism in a sustainable manner. This will include examination of what is really meant by sustainable tourism.  This module will help to identify a range of tools that can be used to influence the development and management of tourism and make it more sustainable.  The module will concentrate on the special circumstances and opportunities of Palestine in pursuing sustainable tourism.

3– Tourism Sustainable Development in Palestine (1 credit hour)

Starting with the work of de Kadt, and key contributions by anthropologists and other social scientists in the field of the sustainable development of tourism will be examined. Crucial relationships – between, for example, the private and public sectors and/or between effective planning systems and entrepreneurship- will be analyzed and debated. The special role of agriculture in sustainable tourism development will be highlighted.

MRTS 517– Tourism Policy and Planning (3 credit hours)

1– Tourism Legal Foundation (1 credit hour)

The state of tourism policy and planning in Palestine, in particular Bethlehem, will be critically studied. The contribution (and impact) of tourism policy reports by (largely foreign) consultants will be assessed. The particular needs of, and prospects for, Palestinian tourism for focused policy and planning at all levels will be identified, described, and debated.  This course examines the legal foundations of commerce in the tourism and hospitality industry and the components of risk management in tourism at both the macro and micro levels. Law-related topics include national and international laws relating to tourism; legal environment of facilities, agents and operators; interaction of community and developer needs; and consumer rights. Risk management topics range from the protection of the health and physical, psychological and economic integrity of travelers, host communities, and the destination more broadly (including the natural and cultural environment), as well as the safeguarding of the security interests of tourism entrepreneurs and the countries sending and receiving visitors. Risk is considered at both the macro level (destinations) and the micro level (enterprises), and potentially at the visitor level. Models will also be developed to identify the approaches that can be adopted under various scenarios to recover from crises.

2- Tourism Policy and Planning in Palestine (1 credit hour)

The purpose of this module is to familiarize students with the process of tourism planning as a mechanism to sustainable tourism development. This course will explore the advanced principles, steps, tools and case studies of tourism planning. Tourism policy, law, and administration will also be reviewed.  The module opens with considerations of general principles of tourism policy and planning. A selection of Master Plans, local, and municipal policies and tourism strategies will be considered.. Topics include structural frameworks of the industry, legislative frameworks, environmental and market frameworks, transport, lodging, events and attractions, and special interests.   This course analyses the institutional, financial, regulatory, legal and industrial environment of tourism and hospitality, and the strategic relationships between investors, developers, operators and regulators within it. Resulting policy and investment planning issues are analyzed and evaluated.

3- Building Tourism Governance (1 credit hour)

The module covers the institutional implications of tourism policy and planning. The roles of the Ministry of Tourism, municipalities, the activities, the uses of nature in tourism, and the prime necessity of establishing relationship between tourism infrastructure and superstructures. Governance issues will be carried through from the first module.  The concept of governance was elaborated in the early 1980s when the World Bank defined it as “a criterion to evaluate deeply indebted countries in order to determine their credit-worthiness.”  Soon afterwards, the meaning of governance has widened to include all management practices needed to make an institution trustworthy, and thus effective in its actions and interactions.  Nowadays, the concept of governance is considered a cornerstone of sustainable development.  Accountability, transparency, predictability and participation are the four pillars of governance, and they will be thoroughly explored by the lectures with specific references to the Tourism Palestinian context.


MRTS 520-Tourism and Regional Development (3 credit hours)

1– Tourism in the Eastern Mediterranean region (1 credit hour)

The benefits of co-coordinated regional development in Palestine and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean will be explored. The module will cover the experiences of Mediterranean wide development programs and the potential benefits to accrue from the enhancement of these.

2– Tourism in Europe (1 credit hour)

The first part of the course takes the long view, examining Europe’s environmental diversity, and its complicated history, which contribute to highly uneven development, contrasting landscapes, and persistent territorial conflicts. The second part of the course focuses on European integration in the post 1945 period. It analyses the development of the European Union and how this has contributed to changes within Europe and its relationships with the rest of the world. This is explored through themes such as international migration, transnational investment, international relations and tourism.

3– Contemporary issues in tourism (1 credit hour)

Content may vary to take account of international developments affecting tourism, but topics that may be included are: political ideology and its effect on tourism, the effects on tourism of political instability, economic crises, sustainability including environmental issues, countries formerly closed to tourists, barriers to tourism from stereotypes of cultural identity, cross-cultural understanding and world peace as a by-product of tourism, the impacts of changes in international law, or business operation on tourism flows, transportation networks and tourism business operation and key issues arising in the global tourism industry such as poverty alleviation through tourism and the growth of independent travel.  On successful completion of this unit, students will have developed an understanding of key problems and issues in the current and future development of the Palestinian tourism industry, a developed capacity to undertake original research on an area of their particular interest, enhanced written and oral communication skills suitable for progress in the tourism profession, an understanding of key issues facing the future development of the industry, and an understanding of the principles and practices of e-tourism.

MRTS 521-Research Methodology and Computer Applications (3 credit hours)

The content of this course focuses on a series of technical and theoretical instruments which are used in tourism research. Getting a solid knowledge of the basic research tools represents a valuable asset for all those whose task includes the drafting of reports and dossiers.  Students will apply the principles and practices of research for the tourism industry specifically within the context of tourism planning and development. Students will develop and implement a primary research plan related to the tourism industry and present the results of the project as through a written paper and an online presentation.


1– Quantitative Research Methods (1 credit hour)

This course will inform students how to use quantitative methods for the assessment of tourism performance and trends. Students will learn statistical methods, procedure, analysis, and interpretation in a tourism context.  The lectures of this Module will familiarize the students with some of the indicators most commonly used by international agencies to measure the performance of the tourism sector. The main demographic and economic indicators will be shown, with a particular attention for time series and historic trends.  This is needed to familiarize students with data that needs to be collected in evaluating performance in the tourism industry.

2– Qualitative Research Methods (1 credit hour)

Tourism marketing as well as other business research relies increasingly on the use of qualitative methods to acquire data and to answer questions that cannot be answered through quantitative-based techniques. This module is designed to acquaint the students with qualitative inquiry methods of data collection and analysis, as well as its philosophy, underlying assumptions, means for ensuring reliability and validity. The class will undertake research projects relevant to travel and tourism in Palestine.

3– Information Technology Applications (1 credit hour)

A good familiarity with many software applications is a pre-requisite for tour agents and those employed in the industry.  This module will provide a hands-on training on several applications including Microsoft Access, Excel and Power Point.  The advanced functions of relevant software will be explored to enable students to exploit them to their fullest potential.  Creating and managing data bases, preparing charts, designing graphs and preparing effective presentations are skills to be mastered to improve the quality of analytical projects as well as administrative tasks. In addition, and since its worldwide introduction, the Internet has represented a major source of information, but the process of finding references is complex and time-consuming. This module will also guide students to the discovery of researching techniques applied to the World Wide Web through the use of selected search engines, and to the correct editing of web-bibliographies. A critical use of the Internet will let the students recognize and exploit accountable sources. Part of the lectures will be dedicated to the basic technical elements of the Internet, to the glossary of specific terms, the different kinds of connections and browsing software. Lastly, explanations will be given on how to build a simple web page containing documents and interactive links, and how to publish it on the Web.

 MRTS 522-Management Issues (3 credit hours)

1- Strategic Management for Tourism (1 credit hour)

This course examines the practical application of tourism and hospitality policy and planning to the operation of major tourist and hospitality segments and key organizations within those segments. The course involves experiential learning with industry executives in workshops and seminars, debating current issues.

2 Human Resources Management for Tourism (1 credit hour)

This course examines the management of employees in hospitality and tourism operations. It uses human resources, organizational development and services marketing frameworks to understand contemporary and future employment in these sectors. Topics include: recruiting and selection; training and development; leadership; teamwork; stress management and managing turnover; corporate culture and climate; performance evaluation and career path.

3– Strategic Marketing for Tourism (1 credit hour)

This course examines the marketing context of tourism and hospitality. Major topics include marketing of public and private sector tourism products and destinations; global dimensions of tourism; strategic destination marketing; consumer decision processes; strategic marketing systems of multinational tourism companies. The course includes seminars with industry executives and field trips.


MRTS 525-Social Issues (3 credit hours)

The content of this Course aims at exploring the humanistic dimensions of development, nowadays regarded by scholars as important as the economic ones. Sociology and Anthropology represent different lenses through which the reality of tourism in any country can be investigated.

1– Sociology of Tourism (1 credit hour)

This module deals with issues such as social capital, networks and entrepreneurship. The module is designed to provide the students with the basic instruments and concepts of sociological analysis as it is related to tourism. A particular attention will be dedicated to the crucial role of social relationships in the starting up of an enterprise or an organization. This module is important because it highlights Palestinian social capital that should be considered well in advance as a basis for starting up enterprises in the tourism sector.

2– Anthropology of Tourism (1 credit hour)

The major themes that will be covered by this module could be split into two halves: One half seeks to understand the origins of tourism, and the other reveals tourism’s impacts. Even when taken together, these two approaches seem to produce only a partial analysis of tourism. This module will explore the ways in which ecotourism and other alternative forms of tourism can generate social, economic, and environmental benefits for local communities while also creating truly transformative experiences for tourists.  Therefore, this module follows a holistic approach that has a goal to explore incentives and impacts for both tourists and locals throughout all stages of tourism.


3– Photography and other Visual Representation (1 credit hour)

Tourism everywhere depends on the deployment of images. The module will consider the role in tourism of paintings, photographs, literary descriptions, tourist brochures, ideas about the images and ‘brands’ of places, regions, and countries, and the more general role of the ‘ visual’ in tourism and tourism attractions.


MRTS 526-Field Visits (3 credit hours)

Field Visits and Reporting

After having completed the lecture part of the program and earned their credits, students will be required to participate in a program of field visits to Palestinian tourist places.  These field visits will enrich the students’ perspectives and will be taken in an analytical way and a critical eye that aims at identifying strengths and weaknesses to help develop a strategy for the development of the place.  At the end of the visits, each student is required to develop a report to be presented to professors and practitioners.  For this course, a student acquires practical experiences and applies those experiences according to the student’s interest and expertise. The field experience serves as a transition from course work to the Thesis/Master’s.  A number of field trips will be made. There will be one study group visit to a tourism resort/site outside Palestine.


MRTS 610-Thesis (5 credits )

A list of topics will be provided by the school, and students will be able to select a topic of their interest.  Topics will be determined by the school after proper consultation with the various institutions and organizations involved in the field of tourism in Palestine.

Each student will be assigned a supervisor from the School teaching staff and a tutor from the supporting organization. These figures will help him/her in developing a thesis project, which should be related to the Palestinian tourism sector.

The final thesis is a written paper focused on some tourism sustainable development issues. The paper will follow the following criteria:

  • Students can choose the topic on the basis of their preference. They can directly refer to the work done in the place where they work (if related to tourism), or alternatively, choose some interrelated issue and analyze it from a theoretical perspective. In this latter case some references to the issues examined during the courses would be useful and appreciated. In any case, topic, content and structure must be discussed with the supervisor;
  • The supervisor will be a representative of the School teaching staff. The supervisor follows the student’s work step by step and gives him/her all needed support: references, comments, suggestions. A co-supervisor will be chosen according to the subject of the thesis among the Master’s teachers;
  • The paper shall be at least 40/50 pages long;
  • The typical style is that of a paper, and the formal structure will show: title, name of the student, name of the supervisor and co-supervisor, index, introduction, chapters, logical structure, footnotes, conclusion and bibliography.

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