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The International Institute of Tourism Studies at The George Washington University is a world class educational institution that has been involved with tourism development and education for over 20 years. Situated within the School of Business, GW’s Tourism Programs include several professional development programs targeted at building human capacity in a relatively short time frame. Additionally, GW offers an on-line master of tourism program ranked in the top 25 on-line business degrees in the US. GW is known for its experience in international tourism development at the national, regional, and local levels. This includes tourism destination management, event management, hospitality management, conservation, parks and protected areas, and other areas. GW just completed its tenure as Chair of the World Tourism Organization Education Council, a council of the world’s leading tourism educational institutions. GW is now serving on the Board of Directors for the new UNWTO Center of Excellence on Destinations, which is sponsored by Tourism Montreal, National Geographic Society, Canadian government agencies and selected government tourism authorities.
Customized Tourism Training Programs: GW has developed over 40 short professional development courses that can be customized and delivered anywhere in the world through tradition learning models or through internet-based education. The program will enable a local institution to continue offering quality tourism education, without US assistance once the program has been completed. Other customized training programs have been conducted in Brazil, Mozambique, Bulgaria, Honduras, among others.
SAVE Travel Alliance: The Alliance is an effective mechanism to provide on-site, needs-driven technical assistance to catalyze collaborative activities that engage international sources of capital (financial and human) in partnership with local tourism sector stakeholders.
Consulting Practicum: This is a collaborative activity involving GW and selected local universities to build capacity locally. Funded by different entities each year, GW and local university faculty work with advanced graduate and undergraduate students to address real tourism development issues and identify strategies, products and markets for developing destinations. This program has involved tourism development in Morocco (funded by the Ministry of Tourism, Morocco); Tourism Development in Protected Areas in Panama (funded by USAID through AED); Rural tourism development on the North Coast of Honduras (funded by the Ministry of Tourism, Honduras), Biodiversity Conservation and Economic Growth in Bulgaria (funded by USAID through DAI); Montenegro (funded by the UNEP, Montenegro); and Istanbul, Turkey (funded by a consortium o local stakeholders from the Historic Peninsula World Heritage Site with support from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism).
Linking Communities and Conservation – A Tourism Assessment Process: GW and Conservation International (CI) recently published Linking Communities and Conservation: A Tourism Assessment Process. This publication offers a step by step guide and “toolkit” for destinations or communities seeking to develop tourism in biodiversity-rich or rural areas. The process has been tested in several countries by GW and other organizations. This assessment process makes up on piece of a training program developed in partnership with CI focused on Tourism Destination Management for Parks and Protected Areas.