Mike Robinson

Colleges, School and Institutes


For nearly twenty five years my work has focused upon the inter-relationships between tourism, heritage and culture. Understanding tourism, and ourselves and others as tourists, provides us with an important conceptual lens through which we can interrogate heritage and other dimensions and expressions of culture.

My work is international and interdisciplinary. I work at the boundaries of social anthropology, cultural studies, geography and history. I am the founder of the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, the founder and editor of the Routledge published Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change and the Channel View book series on Tourism and Cultural Change now with over thirty titles. I am on the Editorial Boards of several journals including: Mobilities, Levant and the Scandinavian Journal of Tourism. I was pleased to be invited to edit the SAGE Handbook of Tourism Studies (with Tazim Jamal). I have worked with UNESCO to produce a major report on Tourism, Culture and Sustainable Development and was commissioned to write on tourism and representation for the 2009 UNESCO World Diversity Report.

I have worked on research and projects in over 30 countries. I was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Department of Literature at the University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa; Visiting Professor in the Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Università degli Studi di Trento, Italy and; most recently, Visiting Professor at National Central University in Taiwan.

I have been fortunate to have been invited to give keynote speeches at a number of international conferences in the UK, Taiwan, China, India, Jordan, Lebanon, Portugal, France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Lithuania, Spain, Czech Republic, Canada, and the USA. I have initiated and directed over 20 international conferences as a way of setting new agendas in research and as a way of developing productive partnerships with academics working in interesting fields and engaging with a wide range of international heritage and cultural institutions. I seek to work with researchers from a wide variety of disciplines and cultural backgrounds in order to produce innovative and imaginative ways to understand and to translate the inter-relationships between heritage, tourism and culture.

Research interests

I have on-going interests in the ways that heritage is mobilised for tourism and identity making in various places and have worked on this in relation to Jordan (and formerly Syria and Lebanon) and also in Taiwan. I am also interested in tourist practice and performance and the emotional encounters of tourists in the face of various categories of heritage.

Current research relates to the role of heritage in shaping identities in Taiwan. I am interested in the inscriptive power of World Heritage and UNESCO designations. I am also researching early tourism to World War One sites.

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Recent PhDs I have supervised to completion include:

Touring Socialism: Tourist Experiences in the GDR, 1971-1989, Claudia Muller, Germany
Tourism, Heritage and Sustainable Development in Shandong Province, China, Hongliang Yan, China
Crossing the North Atlantic: Tourist’s Cruises and Constructed Seascapes 1945 – 1969 Birgit Braasch, Germany
Becoming a Tourist in Singapore: Performing Place and Identity, Desmond Wee, Singapore
Tourism and the Region: Spaces of Identity, Josef Ploner, Austria
Tourists as Strangers in Southern Ethiopia, Tamas Regi, Hungary
Reading Tourism through Korean Television Drama, Sang Kyun Kim, Korea
Informal Experiences of Tourists in Cuba, Valerio Simoni, Switzerland
Politics in Motion: The Mobilities of Political Tourists, Fabian Frenzel, Germany
Current Supervisions include:

Beyond Festival Time and Space: The Case of a ‘Traditional’ Festival, Jeju Island, Korea, Sunyoung Hong, Korea
Reading Tourism, Heritage and Nationalism through Petra, Jordan, Suleiman Farajat, Jordan