New Course on Global Sustainable Ecotourism Development

New Course on Global Sustainable Ecotourism Development

Professional Summer Program on Global Sustainable Ecotourism Development To Be Offered at University of Vermont


TIES Press ReleaseBURLINGTON, VT, March 15, 2010 - Megan Epler Wood, the founder of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), is initiating a new short-course, Global Sustainable Ecotourism Development, at the University of Vermont, July 12-16, 2010. This course is being launched in honor of the 20th anniversary of TIES.


In the past 20 years, ecotourism has emerged as one of the most dynamic and discussed tools for sustainable development. In the last 10 years, the field has been much enriched by a broad array of disciplines, particularly economic development and social/pro-poor development techniques. Ecotourism is now broadly and appropriately applied as a rural economic and sustainable development tool. Its successful application is based on a set of methodologies that all students and development practitioners require to be successful.


Ecotourism is a business, which requires business approaches to deliver sustainable development benefits. It therefore needs to be studied as a business model first and foremost. A full evaluation of private sector business financial and market requirements in the local context are necessary due diligence for any practitioner to develop ecotourism in the field. Economic impact analysis including review of ecosystem services is required.


Participatory development practices must be applied based on international guidelines and best practice. Biodiversity benefits are a key bottom line, leveraged via legal and concessionary arrangements in protected areas. Market opportunities for rural communities must be based on specific tourism supply chain methodologies. And triple-bottom line monitoring requires the presentation of valid data on economic, environmental and social benefits.


This course will look at the big picture of tourism development impacts and approaches to deliver low impact development. It will teach a holistic approach to planning and tourism development that reviews governments’ and international donors' role in rural land development, stressing bioregional planning as a key tool for governments and their donors to move rural areas into a more thorough process for sustainable regional development.


Speakers include; Bruce Poon Tip, CEO of G Adventures; Richard G. Edwards, Director of Planeterra Foundation; Ann Nygard, Associate Director of the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations; Seleni Matus, Director of the Belize Tourism Board and former Ecotourism Manager for Conservation International; and Erika Harms, Executive Director of the Tourism Sustainability Council and Senior Advisor at the United Nations Foundation.


This five-day intensive seminar will be held on the University of Vermont campus as a professional certificate program, or for three college credits. Fees depend on the enrollment option selected. Accommodations on campus can be acquired in a Leed certified facility for a modest fee. Off campus housing also includes "green housing" options.


In 2009, Vermont was rated as the 6th most sustainable destination in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine. Burlington, Vermont's largest city (with just 40,000 residents), is at the center of the sustainable development movement in the State. The Intervale, a 700 acre floodplain, was converted from a waste dump into a thriving agricultural center for the city with more than a dozen community supported farms raising over 500,000 pounds of food annually for the local community and schools.


Burlington’s electric plant, the McNeil Generating Station is powered by sustainably sourced wood chips. Many companies, such as Ben and Jerry’s and Seventh Generation were founded in Burlington, giving the city a global reputation for corporate sustainability practices. The city has won many awards for being one of the most healthy and livable cities in America. It was also rated as one of the top adventure towns by National Geographic Adventure. The State of Vermont supplies a vibrant location for students from around the world to see how sustainability practices can transform an economy and create a sustainable destination that is based on a wide range of sustainability practices.


Field trip opportunities will be available to learn more about Vermont’s well-known sustainable agriculture movement, recently featured on the Discovery Channel’s Emeril Green Program. Students attending Global Sustainable Ecotourism Development will learn new, more sensitive field based approaches that rely on a broader set of academic expertise and disciplines than associated with the topic in the past. It will help students to understand how tourism can play a broader role in sustainable development, and help transition economies away from destructive development practices.


About TIES

As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..




> The International Ecotourism Society 



The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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