Professor Sheela Agarwal

Professor Sheela Agarwal


Plymouth Business School (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



At present, I am Associate Head of School of Research and Innovation for Plymouth Business School and Co-Director of the Centre for Coastal Communities, having previously been Head of the Department of Tourism and Hospitality and Acting Head and Deputy Head of the School of Tourism and Hospitality.  Currently, I lecture at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in a wide range of subjects including 'Sustainable Tourism and Crime', 'Tourism Development and Culture', 'Film, Literary and Heritage Tourism', and 'Disaster and Crisis Management in Tourism and Hospitality'. Additionally, I supervise a number of MSc and PhD students in a range of subjects including resilience, sustainability, climate change, plastic pollution, disaster and crisis management, medical, heritage and dark tourism.   


I completed a PhD at the School of Geography, Exeter University, UK in 1995 and before arriving at Plymouth University in 2000, I worked for the Centre for Tourism, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Tourism Management.

Professional membership

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Former Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society / Institute of British Geographers

Former Co-opted Executive Member of the Association of Tourism in Higher Education (2003-2007)

Member of the Association of Tourism in Higher Education

Roles on external bodies

Former Trustee of Victim Support Devon

Co-opted Governor for St. Andrews Primary School, Cullompton, Devon



Teaching interests

Specialise in the teaching of tourism and the environment, tourist behaviour, sustainable tourism, tourism planning, tourism development and culture, heritage, screen and literary tourism, and disaster and crisis management in tourism and hospitality at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Staff serving as external examiners

External Examiner for BSc Tourism Degree, University of Ulster, Ulster

Former External Examiner for the BA Tourism Degree, Trinity College Carmarthen, Carmarthen

Former External Examiner for Tourism and Hospitality Undergraduate degress, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds

External Examiner for several PhDs (15 in total):

  • Newsome-Magadza, S. (2020) Just passing through: stakeholder constructs and value in overland truck tourism in NW Zimbabwe, PhD Thesis, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
  • Alhomaid A. (2018) The impact of advertising on Young Female Consumer Behaviour in Saudi Arabia, PhD Thesis, Exeter University, UK.  
  • Braim, K. (2017) Managing Cultural Tourism in Post-Conflict Areas: The Case of Kurdistan Federal Region in Iraq, PhD Thesis, Nottingham University, UK.
  • Buaban, M. (2016) Community based creative tourism management to enhance local sustainable development in Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand, PhD Thesis, Exeter University, UK.
  • Alharbi, M.M. (2015) The potential impact of transnational franchising in promoting and developing tourism business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, PhD Thesis, Exeter University, UK.
  • Mark Speakman (2014) Embracing the Edge of Chaos: Tourism Crisis Management in the UK and Mexico from a Complexity Perspective.
  • Wai Lee Chen (2013) An Analysis of the Tourism Cluster Development Model and the Links Between Destination Competitiveness and Socio-Economic Prosperity. The Cases of Two Small Developing Economies: Bali and Brunei.
  • Jarrett, D. (2013) A Socio-Cultural Analysis of the Traditional Seaside Resort and its Contemporary Meaning to Tourists with Specific Relevance to Morecambe, UK, PhD Thesis, University of Central Lancashire.
  • Buddhichiwin, P. (2013) Marketing Strategies of UK Universities to International Students: The Decision-Making Process and Experiences of Thai Students, University of Exeter, UK.
  • Wayika, T. (2011) Overcoming the Barriers Towards the Inclusive Design of Tourism, PhD Thesis, University of Surrey, UK.
  • Akkaranggoon, S. (2011) Supply Chain Management Practice in the Hotel Industry: An Examination of Hotel Food Supply Chains in South West England, PhD Thesis, Exeter University, UK.
  • Hewlett, D. (2009) Community Participation in Local Decision-Making in Protected Areas: the Case of the New Forest National Park, Hampshire, England, PhD Thesis, Bournemouth University, UK.
  • Wang, Y. (2008) Actor Perspectives and Tourism Policy Networks in Hangzhou, China, PhD Thesis, Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, Sheffield Hallam University, UK.
  • Mosedale, J. (2007) Corporate Geographies of Transnational Tourism Companies, PhD Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.
  • Tetley, S. (1997) Visitor attitudes to authenticity of literary and TV related destinations, PhD Thesis, Department of Leisure and Food Management, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK.



Research interests

I am interested in the ways in which space and place may be theorised. Beginning from primarily an economic foci, particularly around the effect, influence and consequences of processes of structural change on nations, regions and local areas, this line of research is expanding to explore other areas of geographic interest, notably the nature of tourism consumption and production, the changing role of the state, local governance, social exclusion, collaboration, collective action and other issues associated with the planning and sustainability of tourism. I have a wealth of expertise in socio-economic issues associated with seaside towns including multiple deprivation and inequality. In addition, I also have a developing interest in climate change and adaptation and mitigation strategies, in plastic pollution, disability, and in disaster and crisis management focusing in particular on security risk management and resilience.  

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Ph.D completions: (13 in total):

  • Ghatnekar, P. (2017) Persuasive Technology in Tourism Online Experiences and Implications on Tourist Buying Behaviour. PhD Thesis, Faculty of Business, Plymouth University, UK.
  • Kroger, H. (2016) The role of sustainability in enhancing place performance through an identity-based approach to place branding.  PhD Thesis, Faculty of Business, Plymouth University, UK.
  • Ali, M.F.S. (2015) Critical firm-based enablers-mediators-outcomes (CFMESO): a new integrated model for performance innovation, performance drivers in the context of US restaurants. PhD Thesis, Faculty of Business, Plymouth University, UK.
  • Jakes, S. (2015) Social exclusion, resort decline and the English seaside. PhD Thesis, Faculty of Business, Plymouth University, UK.
  • Wight, A.C. (2014) A discourse analysis of representations of genocide in museums and sites of memory. PhD Thesis, Faculty of Business, Plymouth University, UK.
  • Elbaz, A. (2013) Actor network theory, tourism organisations and the development of sustainable community livelihoods. PhD Thesis, Faculty of Business, Plymouth University, UK.
  • Semley, N. (2012) An evaluation of community perceptions of tourism and crime. PhD Thesis, Faculty of Business, Plymouth University, UK.
  • Stansbie, P. (2011) Internship design and its impact on satisfaction, intrinsic motivation and student career choices. PhD Thesis, Faculty of Business, Plymouth University, UK
  • Murphy-Underhill, C. (2005) The influence of nationality on interpretations of Ireland's destination imagery. PhD, Thesis, Plymouth Business School, Plymouth University, UK.
  • Gutic, J. (2003) Stakeholder identification and assessment in a Venezuelan National Park. Ph.D Thesis, School of Leisure and Food Management, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK.
  • Yuksel, F. (2003) Centre-local relations and tourism planning in Belek, Turkey. Ph.D Thesis, School of Leisure and Food Management, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK.
  • Medeiros de Araujo, L. (2002) Stakeholder assessment and collaborative tourism planning. The Costa Dourada Project, Brazil. Ph.D Thesis, School of Leisure and Food Management, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK.
  • Yuksel, A. (2000) Food service experience and tourist satisfaction: implications for destination management. Ph.D Thesis, School of Leisure and Food Management, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK.

Grants & contracts

Developing indicators of sustainable tourism (European Research Network of Sustainable Tourism, European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme, c. £30,000, with Whittlesea, E.)

Disability typology and differences in information needs (with Lee, B., 2011, Korean Research Foundation)

Global-local interactions in English seaside resorts (British Academy, 2003-2004, £3237)

Differential Economic Performance in Rural Areas (DEFRA, 2003-2004 £c. 80,000)

MARKETOWNS: the role of small towns in rural development (European Commission 2001-2004, 1.2 million Euros)

The South Yorkshire Tourism Business Development Project (European Union, Objective 2, 1998-1999).



Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Mould S-J & Jakes S (2023) 'Economic performance amongst English seaside towns' Current Issues in Tourism , DOI Open access
Agarwal S-J, Page S & Mawby R (2021) 'Tourist security, terrorism risk management and tourist safety' Annals of Tourism Research , DOI Open access
Agarwal S, Jakes S, Essex S, Page S & Mowforth M (2018) 'Disadvantage in English Seaside Resorts: a typology of deprived neighbourhoods' Tourism Management , DOI Open access
Kroger-Knight H, Megicks P, Agarwal S & Leenders MAAM (2018) 'Firm resources and the development of environmental sustainability among small and medium-sized enterprises: Evidence from the Australian wine industry' Business Strategy and the Environment , DOI Open access
Agarwal S (2016) 'Tourist Persuasion and Crime prevention' Crime Prevention and Community Safety Open access
Agarwal S, Kim HJ & Lee B (2012) 'Influences of Travel Constraints on People with Disabilities' Intention to Travel: An Application of Seligman's Helplessness Theory' Tourism Management 33, (3) 569-579 , DOI
Agarwal S (2012) 'Relational Spatiality and Resort Restructuring' Annals of Tourism Research 39, (1) 134-154 , DOI
Agarwal S, Rahman S & Errington A (2009) 'Measuring the determinants of relative economic performance of rural areas' JOURNAL OF RURAL STUDIES 25, (3) 309-321 , DOI
Agarwal S & d'Hauteserre A-M (2008) 'Tourism in the New Europe. The Challenges and Opportunities of EU Enlargement' Tourism Geographies 10, (3) 403-408 , DOI
Agarwal S & Brunt P (2006) 'Social exclusion and English seaside resorts' TOURISM MANAGEMENT 27, (4) 654-670 , DOI Open access
Agarwal S (2005) 'Global-Local Interactions in English Coastal Resorts: Theoretical Perspectives' Tourism Geographies 7, (4) 351-372 , DOI
Agarwal S & Brunt P (2005) 'Social Exclusion and Crime in English Seaside Resorts: Implications for Resort Restructuring' Tourism Culture & Communication 6, (1) 19-35 , DOI
Agarwal S (2002) 'Restructuring seaside tourism: The Resort Lifecyle' Annals of Tourism Research 29, (1) 25-55 , DOI
Agarwal S, Ball R, Shaw G & Williams AM (2000) 'The geography of tourism production: Uneven disciplinary development?' Tourism Geographies 2, (3) 241-263 , DOI
Shaw G, Agarwal S & Bull P (2000) 'Tourism consumption and tourist behaviour: A British perspective' Tourism Geographies 2, (3) 264-289 , DOI
Agarwal S (1999) 'Restructuring and local economic development: implications for seaside resort regeneration in Southwest Britain' Tourism Management 20, (4) 511-522 , DOI
Agarwal S (1998) 'What is new with the resort cycle?' Tourism Management 19, (2) 181-183 , DOI
Agarwal S (1997) 'Book Reviews' European Urban and Regional Studies 4, (2) 183-184 , DOI
Agarwal S (1997) 'The resort cycle and seaside tourism: an assessment of its applicability and validity' Tourism Management 18, (2) 65-73 , DOI
Agarwal DS & Shaw PG (2017) Heritage, Screen and Literary Tourism. Channel View Publications , DOI Open access
Agarwal S; Shaw G (2007) Managing Coastal Tourism Resorts: A Global Perspective (Aspects of Tourism). Channel View Publications
Agarwal S & Shaw G (2007) Managing coastal tourism resorts: A global perspective.
Hewlett D, Gunton R, Gray D, Terradillos A, Bryne D & Mould S (2024) 'Tourism and Visitor Management in Protected Areas Post-Pandemic: The English Context' Managing Protected Areas: People and Places Open Access Palgrave Macmillan 267-294 , DOI Open access
Mould S, Hewlett D, Gray D, Gunton R, Munro T, Breed M, Skelley C, Weinstein P, Terradillos A & Lavrushkina N (2024) 'Significant Spaces: Exploring the Health and Wellbeing Impacts of Natural Environments' in Finneran N; Hewlett D; Clarke R Managing Protected Areas People and Places Open Access Palgrave Macmillan 167-192 , DOI Open access
Shaw G & Agarwal S (2018) 'The development of Service-Dominant Logic within Tourism Management' in Cooper C; Volvo S; Gartner W; Scott N The SAGE Handbook of Tourism Management Applications of Theories and Concepts to Tourism Oxford Sage 173-173
Mould S & Shaw G (2012) 'Changing geographies of coastal resorts: development, processes and tourism spaces' in Wilson J The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Geographies. London Routledge 240-247
Mould S & Shaw G (2012) 'Disability, Representation and Access to Tourism' in McCabe S; Minnaert L; Diekmann A Social Tourism in Europe: Theory and Practice. Channel View Publications 145-162 Publisher Site
(2007) 'Preface and Acknowledgements' Managing Coastal Tourism Resorts Multilingual Matters xi-xii , DOI
Agarwal S & Shaw G (2007) 'Conclusion: Future implications for the development and management of coastal resorts' Managing Coastal Tourism Resorts: A Global Perspective 270-284
Agarwal S (2007) 'Institutional change and resort capacity: The case of southwest English coastal resorts' Managing Coastal Tourism Resorts: A Global Perspective 56-70
Shaw G & Agarwal S (2007) 'Introduction: The development and management of coastal resorts: A global perspective' Managing Coastal Tourism Resorts: A Global Perspective 1-18
Agarwal S & Shaw G (2007) 'Re-engineering coastal resorts in Mexico: Some management issues' Managing Coastal Tourism Resorts: A Global Perspective 216-232
Agarwal S (2006) 'Coastal Resort Restructuring and the TALC' The Tourism Area Life Cycle, Vol. 2: Conceptual and Theoretical Issues 201-218
Conference Papers
Whittlesea E, Hurth V & Agarwal S (2015) 'GREENING THE HIGH-SPEND VISITOR Implications for destination marketing' 303-320


Reports & invited lectures

I have been an invited key note speaker on many occasions all around the world, delivering presentations on various socio-economic aspects of coastal tourism and seaside towns.  

Conferences organised

Co-organised with South West Tourism, NECSTouR Sustainable Tourism Conference, 17th-19th June 2009, University of Plymouth, Plymouth.