Geography is fundamental to the study of tourism because tourism is geographical in nature. Tourism occurs in places, it involves movement and activities across geographic space (between places), and it is an activity in which both place characteristics and personal self-identities are formed through the relationships that are created among places, landscapes and people. Physical geography provides the essential background against which tourism places are created, and environmental impacts and concerns are major issues that must be considered in managing the development of tourism places.
Human geography provides an understanding of the social and economic relationships that exist in providing tourism and U.S. National Park Service nature-based outdoor recreation opportunities and activities, as well as the special meaning that these places have to individuals. A destination's sense of place is often a key element behind tourism development -- after all, without the uniqueness and diversity of places, tourism would be mundane and uninteresting.