Introduction to tourism textbooks: A descriptive content analysis

Date of Completion

January 1996


Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Vocational|Recreation




Textbooks are a major instructional aid to the American educational system. Historically, numerous studies have been conducted exploring the ideologies of particular textbooks within specific fields at all educational levels. Educators are concerned with ideologies because they influence and shape the social values of future citizens.^ When the field of travel and tourism was added to many college curricula in the late 1970's and early 1980's, educators found it difficult to find textbooks to use in their courses. While the number of tourism publications has increased in recent years, the content and the implications of the ideology that is being conveyed in them, has not been researched.^ The purpose of this study was to identify and distinguish the ideologies that are contained in the content of tourism textbooks used in "Introduction to Tourism" classes. The operational definition of ideology as used in this study is "an explanation or interpretation of social reality which, although presented as objective, is demonstrably partial in that it expresses the interests of a certain societal segment as revealed by a collective body of ideas which reflects or omits a dominant set of social beliefs." The ideological categories applied were: political, economic, ethnicity, ecological, ethics and gender preference.^ The tourism textbooks were chosen according to recommendations from returned surveys of tourism educators at selected four year institutions. A content analysis methodology was adopted for data collection and analysis of tourism textbooks.^ After careful analysis of the data it was determined that not all the ideologies were addressed equally. Ethnicity, ecology, ethics and gender preference appeared not to be considered significant ideologies. One ideology, political, surfaced as the primary ideology conveyed in all the textbooks.^ It is difficult to study the field of tourism without acknowledging that there is a strong political ideological message being conveyed through the textbook. The results of this study are consistent with the reality that tourism as an industry, crosses international borders and involves governments at the national, regional and local levels. ^