Professor Sarah Nicholls
Telephone: (01792) 602101
Room: Office 302 - 302
Third Floor
School of Management
Bay Campus

Sarah Nicholls is a Professor in the Department of Business within Swansea University’s School of Management, where she holds a Chair in Placemaking and Destination Management and serves as Director of the Centre for Visitor Economy Research. Prior to joining Swansea in April 2018, Sarah spent 16 years at Michigan State University, in the Departments of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Resources, Community Sustainability, and Geography. She holds a BSc in Geography from University College London and her MS and PhD degrees in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M University.

Sarah’s work focuses on the planning, development and management of leisure resources and tourism destinations, with the ultimate goal of understanding and promoting the role of tourism, recreation and parks in the creation of active, vibrant, resilient and sustainable communities. Her work has been funded by a variety of agencies and organisations including Travel Michigan/Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Office of the Great Lakes/Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Agriculture, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In 2013 Sarah was presented with the “Outstanding Achievement in Michigan Tourism Award” by Governor Rick Snyder in recognition of her contributions to the tourism industry in that state.

Areas of Expertise

  • Planning, development and management of parks, recreation and tourism resources
  • Implications of environmental and climate change for parks, recreation and tourism
  • Contributions of parks, recreation and tourism to sustainability and well-being
  • Positioning of public parks and recreation resources
  • Impacts of parks, recreation and tourism amenities on property prices
  • Role of international students as place/travel ambassadors


  1. Edwards, L., Tyler, R., Blain, D., Bryant, A., Canham, N., Carter-Davies, L., Clark, C., Evans, T., Greenall, C., Hobday, J., Jones, A., Mannello, M., Marchant, E., Miller, M., Moore, G., Morgan, K., Nicholls, S., Roberts, C., Sheldrick, M., Thompson, K., Wainwright, N., Ward, M., Williams, S., Stratton, G. Results From Wales’ 2018 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth Journal of Physical Activity and Health 15 s2 S430 S432
  2. Nicholls, S. Impacts of environmental disturbances on housing prices: A review of the hedonic pricing literature Journal of Environmental Management 246 1 10
  3. Nicholls, S., Kim, J. Spatial Is Special: The Need to Consider Spatial Effects in Leisure Research Leisure Sciences 1 21
  4. Kilungu, H., Leemans, R., Munishi, P., Nicholls, S., Amelung, B. Forty Years of Climate and Land-Cover Change and its Effects on Tourism Resources in Kilimanjaro National Park Tourism Planning & Development 16 2 235 253
  5. Nicholls, S. Influences on international student choice of study destination: Evidence from the United States Journal of International Students; Jonesboro 8 2 597 622

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  • MN-3565 Tourism Planning

    For people engaged in the tourism and recreation industries decision making at local and larger spatial scales normally takes place against a background of some form of strategic planning. This module will begin with an examination of tourisms contribution to development goals, and some of the issues surrounding this. This module will then introduce students to the components of planning and will look at the techniques and tools available to the planner and will consider examples of documentation associated with strategic planning. It will also critically assess the contribution of tourism to broader development objectives.