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Ecotourism Management

The IUCN definition of ecotourism is “environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features - both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact, and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations”. Ecotourism is a specialty segment of nature tourism. Nature tourism has been increasing at an annual rate between 10-30 percent a year. Specifically, areas within ecotourism that students might focus on include:

  • Creating direct links between the economic benefits of ecotourism and the protection of biodiversity, so that local residents who earn their living from ecotourism are more likely to protect their natural resources and support conservation efforts.
  • Integration of ecotourism policies into sustainable development plans and frameworks, land use planning, use of natural parks and protected areas, balance between development and conservation objectives in policies, development agency programs on ecotourism and their role in funding major pipeline investments related to ecotourism, plans for human resource development in ecotourism.

Career opportunities are in an early stage of development in this field, including positions with conservation organizations (e.g. Conservation International, RARE Center for Tropical Conservation, The Nature Conservancy), protected area management (national parks, nature preserves, marine parks, among others), ecolodge operations, ecotourism and adventure travel tour operators, consulting firms, multilateral/bilateral donor agencies and specialized niche marketing positions with destination management organizations (DMOs).

Possible Courses:

  • GEOG 230 – Environmental Issues in Development - A consideration of the differential regional implications of and responses to resource and environmental policy decisions due to regional differences in societal and physical parameters.
  • GEOG 222 – Resources and the Environment - Topics related to the spatial variations and interrelationships of resources and the environment; applications of geographic information systems and remote sensing. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Laboratory fee.
  • BISC 243 – Ecology Seminar - In-depth study of selected topics, including reports on original publications. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: BiSc 154 or equivalent. (Spring, even years).
  • MGT 216 – Cross Cultural Management - The cultural foundations of organizations and institutions, with an emphasis on managerial behavior. Cross-cultural differences as they affect work-related behaviors, such as communication, attitude, teamwork, negotiation, and decision making. (Fall, spring, and summer).
  • DNSC 265 - International Development for Project Managers - Foundations and methodologies for problem solving in multicultural project environments. (Fall, spring, and summer).
  • MGT 292 – Small Business Management - The start-up process and management of small firms. Field projects involve student teams as consultants to local businesses. Case studies. Emphasis on total customer service, international opportunities, and minority and women’s issues.
  • PPOL 201 – Politics and Public Policy - The role of policy analysts in public policymaking. The impact that the political, economic, cultural, and bureaucratic context has on the policymaking process and outcomes. Political and ethical issues raised by the intricate interface of the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors in public policy formulation and implementation. Same as PSc 229.
  • IBUS 275 – External Development Financing - Institutions, instruments, and theory of external development financing; financial flows to developing countries; development finance and the role of international and regional development banks; policies, methods, and practices of the World Bank, the IMF, and others; technical assistance, training, capacity building, and role of institutions in sustained development.