The course

Full-time, Part-time, Per course
Course type
Entry date

Tourism and Heritage Management is the flagship tourism management degree at Heriot-Watt University with a strong focus on cultural and heritage studies.



This dynamic programme will open up new opportunities for you to pursue a managerial career with tourist attractions and heritage sites of important cultural and historic significance.

Embracing a global outlook in its content, this programme capitalises on the thriving tourism industry and international cultural links of Edinburgh: a world-renowned ‘festival city’ and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tourism and Heritage Management will teach you how to apply key theoretical concepts from intercultural studies and business management to tourist attractions and cultural heritage resources. This will put you in the perfect position to implement successful business strategies and support sustainable development for tourist attractions and heritage sites globally. You will gain key skills in:

  • Project management
  • Visitor Attraction Operations
  • Tourism Trend Analysis
  • Business Development
  • Visitor Experience Management

The development of these skills, paired with expertise in cross-cultural hospitality, marketing, customer analysis and PR and communication, will equip you with the ability to successfully design, deliver and manage memorable tourism experiences in roles such as.

Much of the course content is sourced directly from the world-class research and academic expertise of Heriot-Watt’s Intercultural Research Centre.  You will study with leading researchers to increase your understanding of intercultural issues such as work and leisure, gender, religion and language. You will gain new perspectives on how these factors impact on the management, promotion and perception of organisations within the arts, heritage, events and tourism industries.

Heriot-Watt’s Tourism and Heritage Management also offers you the exciting opportunity to adapt your study to the industries and geographical markets of greatest interest and relevance to you. Our tailored, international focus will ensure that you’re well positioned to pursue cultural, heritage and tourism management jobs and opportunities globally.

Edinburgh: a thriving centre of cultural tourism

Delivered at our Edinburgh campus, Tourism and Heritage Management enjoys unparalleled links with the thriving tourism and heritage resources of Scotland’s capital. A city with a wealth of architectural heritage including museums, monuments and historic houses, Edinburgh was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the ‘exceptional historic and architectural interest’ of its New Town and Old Town.

Edinburgh is regularly voted as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and it boasts a global reputation as ‘The Festival City’ thanks to annual cultural highlights including: the Edinburgh International Film Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Scotland as a whole was selected by as the Number 2 country in the world to visit in 2017, following a year where employment in its tourism industry grew by 11% (Office for National Statistics).

Industry links to get you out there

Tourism and Heritage Management has close links to industry-leading tourism and cultural heritage organisations including VisitBritain, National Trust for Scotland and Edinburgh World Heritage. Our relationship with these established organisations provides inspiring guest lectures throughout the year.

Go places with international opportunities

With campuses in Edinburgh, Dubai and Malaysia, we offer you the exciting opportunity to complete your dissertation project, or part of your studies, at any of our three Heriot-Watt locations which all benefit from their own thriving tourism industries.

Guest lectures given throughout the year by leading academics and researchers from global universities and tourism managers add to the international and intercultural flavour of this programme. International placements and internships can also be arranged with partners in China or Europe through the Scottish Confucius Institute for Business and Communication and the Erasmus Programme. 

Course content

   Detailed course guide
Tourism and Heritage Management Course Structure
Semester 1 (Sept - Dec) Semester 2 (Jan - April)
Cross-cultural Perspectives on Society Research Philosophy and Practice
Destination Expereince and Attraction Management Issues and Trends in Tourism
Performing Identities: Festivals and Global Heritage Intercultural Perspectives on Sustainable Development

One optional course to be chosen from a range including:

Business Models
Competitive Strategy
Corporate Social Responsibility
Global Heritage
International Business
International Politics
Work, Culture and Organisations
Beginner language courses in French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, British Sign Language, Gaelic

One optional course to be chosen from a range including:

Business Economics
Human Resource Management
International Marketing
International Trade Law
Issues and Trends in Tourism
Managing Diversity in Business
Project Management
Systems Thinking and Analysis
Beginner language courses in French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, British Sign Language, Gaelic

Between May and August students undertake their MSc dissertation in an area relevant to Tourism and Heritage Management.

Cross-cultural Perspectives on Society

Semester 1 (mandatory)

This course will build your understanding of social and cultural issues whilst developing a critical understanding of theoretical arguments used to explain global social and cultural patterns of relevance to heritage and tourism. Topics include intercultural perspectives on work and leisure, hospitality and language, gender and feminism.  

Destination Expereince and Attraction Management

Semester 1 (mandatory)

The course will provide you with a thorough understanding of the underlying principles of the management and operations of visitor attractions and their role in the wider development of experiences at a site and a wider tourist destination. 

Performing Identities: Festivals and Global Heritage

Semester 1 (mandatory)

This course will develop your understanding of current challenges and opportunities in the heritage sector on a global scale. It will equip you with a critical understanding of the impact of global organizations such as UNESCO and ICOMOS. Topics include heritage and sustainability, festivals and commodification, museums and marketing. See our student blog.

Research Philosophy and Practice

Semester 2 (mandatory)

Research Philosophy and Practice outlines the central theories, approaches and processes to research in the social sciences. You will learn practical techniques for quantitative and qualitative data analysis, allowing you to transform raw data into information to guide conclusions and strategy.

Issues and Trends in Tourism 

Semester 2 (madatory)

Issues and Trends in Tourism will introduce you to critical perspectives on tourism marketing management and enhance your understanding of the complex nature of the destination with specific focus on its importance as the core element of international tourism supply.

Intercultural Perspectives on Sustainable Development

Semester 2 (mandatory)

Intercultural Perspectives on Sustainable Development focuses on the economic and environmental issues addressed by applied anthropological methods and theories in various contexts. It assesses the ambiguities of economic environmental issues and explores the implications for individuals, minorities, majorities, institutions and intercultural relations by way of case studies.