The George Washington University

Tourism & Hospitality Management

Newsletter Issue 1, fall Semester 2009

News and Events

Leadership Council Selects new Chair, Members

Dr. Larry Yu, Chair of the Master of Tourism Administration Program, is pleased to announce that The Master of Tourism Administration Program of the GW School of Business has selected Mr. Lelei LeLaulu, President and CEO of Counterpart International, as the new Chair of its Leadership Council. Dr. Yu says, “The Leadership Council plays an instrumental role in keeping our curriculum, research and development abreast of the global tourism industry. Mr. LeLaulu is a world-renowned tourism leader in sustainable development with a passion for education. His leadership will continue to enhance GW’s program as one of the premier tourism programs in the world.”

The Leadership Council also welcomes new members Dr. Ghassan Aϊdi, President of International Hotel & Restaurant Association and Chairman of Royal Regency International Hotels with hotel portfolios in Egypt, Lebanon, U.A.E. and the Republic of Belarus, and Margit B. Weisgal, President and CEO of the Trade Show Exhibitors Assocaition.

To learn more about the Leadership Council, contact Dr. Larry Yu at 202-994-8740 or

International Institute of Tourism Studies Celebrates 20 Years, Doesn’t Slow Down

This year IITS celebrates its 20th anniversary! It has been a busy year for IITS. As one of four management partners in the Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance, the Institute has projects on the ground in Ethiopia and the Dominican Republic, with plans to begin working soon in Montenegro and Uganda. IITS is working on two important pieces of research concerning the growing adventure tourism market: personnel has completed the second year of the Adventure Travel Development Index (ATDI) which ranked all countries in the world based on their adventure tourism competitiveness, and staff is also working with a grant from the Adventure Travel Trade Association to conduct a market sizing study to gauge the size of the soft and hard adventure market in six key source countries.

IITS and the GW Department of Anthropology hosted the first SAVE Tourism workshop in Cape Town, South Africa. The workshop invited stakeholders from South Africa, Angola and Mozambique to learn about the SAVE (Scientific, Academic, Volunteer and Educational) market niche, the SAVE Travel Alliance, and GWU’s current Southern Africa Slave Shipwreck and Heritage Route Project. The response was overwhelming positive and IITS staff members are following up with contacts in Africa to develop future programs.

IITs also received funding to further its work in two sports-related project. First, IITS, in collaboration with GW’s Department of Strategic Management & Public Policy and the Institute for Corporate Responsibility, is furthering its work on the “Green Scorecard” which is a means to evaluate the eco-friendliness of a sport entity, facility, or event. We are currently “scoring” thirty-eight sport facilities and events. Second, IITS has partnered with the organization that manages the EagleBank Bowl. IITS is helping to evaluate the economic impact of the bowl on DC as well as helping to develop the EagleBank Bowl FanFest, a kid-friendly interactive pre-party leading up to the EagleBank Bowl game.

The Event Management Certificate Program continues to train up-and-coming professionals in the event and meeting management profession. This fall the Event Management program offered over 15 courses covering various topics of the events industry such as event protocol, meetings and conferences and event fundraising. Classes are offered most weekends in November and start again in January.

Students Awarded Prestigious Tourism Cares/ASTA Scholarships

Three GWSB students were among the recipients of this year’s Tourism Cares/ASTA Scholarships. Tourism Cares is the tourism industry’s premier charitable organization for preservation, conservation, restoration and education and is the official philanthropy of the American Society of Travel Agents. “It is a top priority of Tourism Cares to provide financial support and educational opportunities for travel, tourism, and hospitality students, and it’s particularly important during these challenging times.” said Bruce Beckham, Executive Director of Tourism Cares, in the official press release.

Claire Shields was awarded the Avis Budget Group Scholarship, Ying Zhu was awarded the David J. Hallissey Internship, and Jamie Faulkner was awarded the Simmons Scholarship. “These scholarship awards are reflective of the high caliber students we attract,” said Dr. Larry Yu, DTHM Department Chair.

MTA Students Pass CMP, Obtain Employment

Vanessa Ferragut, who is concentrating in Event and Meeting Management, has passed the test for her CMP (Certified Meeting Professional). The CMP is the foremost certification of the meetings, conventions, and exhibitions industry and recognizes individuals who have achieved the industry’s highest standard of professionalism. Congratulations, Vanessa! The CMP Program is administered by the Convention Industry Council. For more information about the CMP Program, visit this site:

Jessica Smith, who is also concentrating in Event and Meeting Management, was recently retained as the Meeting Planner in the American Bar Association, International Law Section, DC Offices. Congratulations, Jessica!

Welcome Back Reception a Success

Students, Staff, Faculty, and Alumni gathered at Tonic Restaurant on September 11 for a “Welcome Back to School” happy hour. Approximately 65 people attended this very festive event.

Faculty Updates

Dr. Boo’s Research Papers are accepted to scholarly Journals
Dr. Boo has recently had several research papers accepted to scholarly journals including Journal of Travel Research and Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Her research papers written with students and colleagues were presented at several conferences including the 14th Annual Graduate Education Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism in Las Vegas. She presented her accepted paper, “Event Group’s eWOM Intention in a Franchise Restaurant” at the EuroCHRIE 2009 Annual Conference in Helsinki, Finland in October, and received the Best Paper Award. In May, Dr. Boo was invited to join the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

As a doctoral committee member of the School of Business, Dr. Boo presided over several proposal defenses and final defenses of doctoral students, and she has also served as a committee member of students’ dissertations. Dr. Boo has participated in many local events of event/meeting associations including ISES, MPI, IAEE, and TSEA to discuss potential program partnerships. Currently, she is preparing papers for presentations at both ISES Eventworld 2010 in Baltimore, MD and the World Expo 2010 Shanghai, China.

Welcome to Dr. Bowen
Dr. Heather Bowen is the newest faculty member in the DTHM department. She brings with her a long career of industry experience, having grown up in an amusement park (Whalom Park) that her family owned in Lunenburg, MA. After receiving a BS in Psychology at Tufts University, Dr. Bowen returned to the amusement park to lead the Group Sales department. The park was able to seat and feed 5,000 people at the same time. She also conducted cold calls to bring new groups to the park and managed client relationships with existing clientele. Her next step was to become general manager of the entire park. Before she could do this she was encouraged by her father to get an MBA. Dr. Bowen packed up her things and headed to the lone star state to begin an MBA program at Texas A & M University. Once she finished her MBA, the GM position was not available so she continued her education and obtained a PhD in Recreation, Park and Tourism Services. Unfortunately, Whalom Park was closed by the time she had finished her schooling.

After graduation, Dr. Bowen was recruited at George Mason University as an Assistant Professor of Tourism and Event Management program. She was among four faculty members recruited to develop the tourism and event management degree. There she taught several tourism based courses. In search of a new challenge, Dr. Bowen moved to the University of New Hampshire to develop a commercial recreation concentration in the Department of Recreation Management & Policy. For the past four years, Dr. Bowen held the position of Senior Lecturer and Graduate Program Director at UNH. There she taught courses such as: Festival & Event Planning, Marketing, Management, Research Methods, Grant Writing, Cultural & Environmental of Interpretation and Entrepreneurship.

Dr. Bowen is excited for the new challenges that she will take on as Assistant Professor of Tourism here at GW. She has also been appointed as AMTA faculty adviser and chair of the AMTA Steering Committee. Dr. Bowen has been published in over a dozen journals and publications, including Event Management and Tourism Recreation Research. Currently, she is studying relationships between tourism marketing images and sustainability, and has an article under review titled “Hostelling and Cross Cultural Understanding”. Dr. Bowen is also conducting a three year review of the New Market Heritage festival, a local community music and heritage festival in New Market, New Hampshire. In her spare time, Dr. Bowen, enjoys spending time with friends and family, especially if it involves fishing. She also loves to hula hoop.

Dr. Bowen has wasted no time in making her mark on our students and program. Her TSDE297.DE (on line course) are working on their Applied Strategic Plan projects to develop strategies to solve critical issues for the following organizations: Dave Edwards Events!, Inc., Arlington, VA; Tourism & Hospitality Association of Guyana, Georgetown, Guyana, South America; Believers Church, Chesapeake, VA; Palm Garden Hotel, Thousand Oaks, CA; Environmental Adventure Company (EAC), Livingston, MT; Harrisburg Symphony, Harrisburg, PA; and Just Ladies Travel Club, Carnegie, PA.

Dr. Delpy Neirotti Prepares for 2010 Winter Olympic
With the 2010 Winter Olympics soon approaching, Dr. Neirotti is preparing to take students to Vancouver for the Games. The group will be staying at the Same Sun Backpacker Hostel located in downtown Vancouver. Alumni are welcome to arrange their accommodations independently at this hostel as well. It is inexpensive with a nice lobby and bar, with shared bathrooms located down the hall.

Same Sun Backpacker Hostel
1018 Granville St, Vancouver, BC, V6Z-1L5.
Tel 604-682-8226 or 1-877-9-SAMESUN
Please visit or e-mail for reservations.

Dr. Delpy Neirotti has been busy in other areas as well. The “Green Sports Score Card” is proving to be a great success. It allows sport organizations, events, and venues to assess their eco-friendliness. Over 70 enthusiastic participants have already completed it. Meanwhile, her TSTD 264 Sports Marketing class worked with the Washington Wizards, BikeDC, and the Eagle Bank Bowl, and was also involved with Eunice Kennedy Shriver memorial events. Dr. Delpy Neirotti was selected by the International Olympic Committee to serve on the faculty of their Executive Masters of Sport management Program, was appointed to the Disabled Sports USA marketing advisory board, was interviewed by Fox5 regarding the 2016 Olympic bid, was quoted in the Baltimore Sun about the Baltimore Marathon’s greening initiatives, and was interviewed on NPR about the US Olympic Committee’s leadership and organizational challenges.

Dr. Delpy Neirotti notes that this year’s SINC (Sports Industry Networking and Career) Conference will be held at The George Washington University on March 5 and 6, 2010. For more information visit

Dr. Elliott Brings New Tourist Attraction to Southern Maryland
March 15, 2009 was a big day for Associate Professor, Sheryl Elliott. She and her husband, Ken, saw the fruits of a year’s labor with the raising of the first residential turbine (windmill) at their home in Swan Point, MD. The windmill has become a tourist attraction in Southern MD; it is the first privately-owned windmill in the area, with boaters coming by to take pictures and ask questions. Local elementary school children from the “Green Club” as well as a draft horse were present March 15, 2009 to help put the windmill in place. Media was on hand to witness the “horsepower to wind power” event.

Dr. Elliott serves as a member of the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, and summer is always a busy time as she and the members of the Authority place $3 million in grant awards. Another major highlight of the summer is having her daughter, Hilary and family visit from Boulder, CO. Hilary and her husband, Scott, have two children, Desi age 5, and Quincy age 3. Dr. Elliott thinks they are brilliant!

In August, Dr. Elliott helped her husband launch his campaign for Charles County commissioner. The next eleven months will be busy as they work on fundraising and making door to door calls on approximately 11,000 voters.

Dr. Frechtling Presents Research Findings
Dr. Frechtling presented one of the Keynote Presentations at the 5th International Conference on Tourism Statistics, sponsored by the World Tourism Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. His paper entitled, “Clarifying and Extending the Tourism Satellite Account Brand,” was presented on March 31, 2009, to the 350 Conference delegates assembled in Bali, Indonesia, from more than 60 countries.

Dr. Frechtling co-presented a paper on “Measuring and Interpreting the Economic Impact of Tourism: 20/20 Hindsight and Foresight” at the biennial meeting of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism in Majorca, Spain, on June 7. The paper reviewed the development of models and accounts devoted to estimating the impact of visitor spending on national and local economies over the last 20 years. It also suggested directions for research over the next decade. He co-presented with Dr. Egon Smeral of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research.

Dr. Frechtling addressed the Eleventh Annual American Indian/Native American Tourism Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on September 23 on “Better Information for Better Management: Building a Tribal Community Tourism Information System”. His presentation recommended programs to improve the marketing information available to tribal communities to help them grow their tourism economies.

Dr. Hawkins Stays Busy
This fall Dr. Hawkins returns to campus as the instructor for TSTD 113 & 283, Field Work Practicum, and for TSTD 250, Administration of Tourism and Hospitality Services. In an exciting application of classroom technology, Dr. Hawkins and his co-professor in TSTD 250, Dr. Kristin Lamoureux, will be recording each lecture. These recordings will form the basis of an on-line version of the class for use by students in the Accelerated Master of Tourism Administration program.

Additionally, Dr. Hawkins and Dr. Lamoureux are preparing for 2010’s Summer Study Abroad Practicum, which will take place in the Douro Valley of Portugal. This is the first time the practicum will be held in a developed country, and Dr. Lamoureux will be leading the program with Dr. Hawkins playing an advisory role. Participating students will consult on developing sustainable tourism in the Valley, which lies in northern Portugal and has been identified as the region of the country with the most potential for increased tourism development.

In an exciting development, the SAVE Travel Alliance, of which Dr. Hawkins is the chair, has recently become a member of VEGA, the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance. SAVE was developed in 2003 as a network for facilitating sustainable economic development through meaningful travel experiences, especially in the niche markets of Scientific, Academic, Volunteer, and Education travel. VEGA serves as a vehicle to allow USAID to work with organizations providing technical experts in private, public, and NGO sector development. Dr. Hawkins and the staff at SAVE are working towards leveraging their relationship with VEGA to communicate with potential clients, both tourists interested in meaningful travel and destinations which could benefit from such tourism.

In September Dr. Hawkins made a presentation to a group of Brazilian officials conducting research on tourism and infrastructure studies. His topic was “Addressing Destination Excellence in the Current Global Economic Crisis”.

Dr. Hawkins has been appointed to the Board of Directors for two organizations: Tourism Cares Foundation and The Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA). He also gave the Inaugural Lecture of the 2009/10 Academic Year for the University Rovira Virgili’s School of Tourism in Spain and also gave the keynote presentation for the COODTUR Congress on International Tourism Cooperation in Vila Seca, Spain in October.

Dr. Levy Conducts Sustainable Hospitality Research and Presents at the “Religion, Business and Peace” Conference
This fall, Dr. Levy is teaching the following courses: TSTD 290 Relationship Management in Hospitality and TSTD 143 Hospitality Industry Management. To learn about the current state of the industry as well as provide networking opportunities, Levy gave his students the opportunity to participate in HSMAI’S Affordable Meeting Conference on September 9 and 10, and the U.S. Travel Association’s Travel Leadership Summit on September 17.

On September 24, Dr. Levy presented “A Review and Exploration of Intergroup Contact in Group Travel Experience” in the Religion, Business and Peace Conference sponsored by the GW Institute for Corporate Responsibility. This conference marked the tenth in a series of conference on how business can contribute to the creation of peaceful societies.

Dr. Stuart Levy was selected as one of three Marriott 2009 Faculty Interns, which offered an “insiders view” on current hotel operations and corporate social responsibility efforts. Dr. Levy interviewed over a dozen Crystal Gateway Marriott managers and directors in various hotel departments including human resources, sales, finance, food and beverage, events, front office, and housekeeping. Many managerial insights were shared along with current business trends and challenges. Dr. Levy also spent time at Marriott International’s headquarters with Charlie Linaburg, Senior Director of North America Social Responsibility & Community Engagement. Discussions regarding sustainable hospitality may lead to opportunities for collaborative work between GW and Marriott. All of these experiences were invaluable for Dr. Levy’s teaching, research and industry networking.

Finally, Dr. Levy is working on a research project that will examine consumer and employee perspectives of environmental, social/economic, cultural heritage and sustainable management efforts in the hotel industry.

Dr. Yu Presents at the 2009 International Summit
Dr. Yu gave a keynote presentation at the 2009 International Summit on Globalization of Chinese Higher Tourism Education in Shanghai, June 19-21. His presentation, titled “Knowledge Transfer in the Internationalization of Higher Education in Tourism: A Proposed Conceptual Model”, identified organizational culture, faculty absorptive capacity, innovative learning and cooperative arrangement as the factors influencing effective knowledge transfer in internationalization of higher education in tourism. This Summit was sponsored by the Steering Committee of Business Administration Education, Ministry of Education, China and Sino-US League of Tourism Colleges. The Summit was attended by over 200 tourism college administrators and educators from China, Asia & Pacific, Europe and North America.

Adjunct Faculty Notes

Adjunct Faculty Laura Mandala Announces Studies, Plans More
Laura Mandala, adjunct faculty in the MTA Program, has announced the completion of two tourism studies. The first looked at International Shopping Travelers to the US. Highlights of the findings include: nearly 20% of travelers say they have already booked their next trip to the U.S. and an additional 50% are very likely to visit and shop in the next 12 months; for a large number of travelers, shopping influences destination choice (30% said it was a factor in their choice of destinations, while 23% said it was a key reason for the trip); travelers allocated a sizeable portion of total trip spend to shopping activities, spending on average $1063 per person on shopping out of a total average of $3692 per total trip, per person. While spending varies by market, the percent of shopping spend reported in the total trip spend was an average of 29%, and as high as 40% with Mexican Shopping Travelers.

The second study pertained to Cultural and Heritage Travelers and was completed in partnership with the US Department of Commerce and Heritage Travel, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We discovered that an impressive number of U.S. travelers seek out cultural and heritage experiences,” said Helen Marano, Director, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, U.S. Department of Commerce. “With 78% of all domestic leisure travelers participating in cultural and heritage activities, their expenditures confirm that this is a strong market, and they are contributing significantly to our communities during these challenging economic times.”

Ms. Mandala welcomes your involvement in any capacity in the two upcoming studies that follow. The International Traveler Study will take a comprehensive look at needs, behaviors, and experiences of international travelers in the United States, with focus on the top five inbound markets: Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and the UK. This study is being conducted by the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council and Shop America Alliance in conjunction with Mandala Research.

The African American Traveler Study will segment the market, identify African American travelers’ interests, and measure propensity to visit destinations that reflect and preserve African American heritage. The study is being conducted by the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council and Mandala Research. Sponsors for both studies will receive the full research report and have input into the study, as well as be able to submit proprietary questions. For more information about the completed or planned studies, contact Laura Mandala at or (703) 798-5452.

Adjunct Faculty Michael Altman
Student groups in Professor Altman’s Advanced Topical Studies course are hard at work on developing applied strategic plans designed to resolve selected client critical issues for a diverse group of hospitality and tourism related organizations that include: The Special Olympics, Verizon Center, Wild China Travel, Potomac Hospitality Services, Destination DC, A. Dominick Events and Marriott Hotels.

Through Professor Altman’s branding, design and communications firm Trialogue Studio, he is presently engaged on several interesting assignments including developing a destination brand for the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA, which is presently putting the finishing touches on a 100 million dollar expansion that will triple its size and is designed to enrich every aspect of the visitor experience. Meanwhile, one of the Advanced Topical Studies students, Melanie Wendt, is interning with a team on a new project to conduct research and provide options and recommendations for the design and operation of a new Washington, DC Visitor Center to be located inside the Carnegie Library at 801 K Street, NW at Mount Vernon Square. Professor Altman is also facilitating a series of community-wide input meetings designed to bring residents, business, the Navy, property owners and other stakeholders to consensus on a vision for the The Lower 8th Street corridor in SE Washington, DC. You can check out the progress on the blog at Elsewhere, Professor Altman is providing strategic advice to DC’s Office of Planning and the DC Economic Partnership on the branding, content and marketing for its upcoming Actionomics Fall Forum – and event designed to galvanize business, education and community leaders to accelerate “transformer” opportunities intended to grow the economy of the District of Columbia.

Tyra and Phil Hilliard Welcome an Addition
Adjunct Faculty member Tyra Hilliard and her husband Phil recently welcomed Warner James Hilliard to their home. Warner was born on October 22 in Orem, Utah. He weighed 5 lbs. 11 oz. and was 17.5 inches long. He is in good health and Tyra says “he’s a beautiful baby, however, the dog and cat are withholding judgment until they get to know him better.”



Alumni Notes

MTA Alumni Ramon Escudero and his wife, Stephanie, welcomed their second child, Sofia June, into the world on June 2, 2009. We offer our congratulations.

Do you have other news items?

Do you have exciting personal or professional news to share with your DTHM community? Email it to and be sure to include “Student News/Newsletter” in your subject line.

The Master of Tourism Administration Program wishes everyone a productive academic year.