Professional Certificate

Tourism Destination Management

We are proud to offer a professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Management, which is awarded jointly by The George Washington University and The International Ecotourism Society (TIES). This program has been developed through a partnership with the GW’s International Institute of Tourism Studies, which has provided professional tourism education for nearly twenty-five years.

Taking the Courses Online

These courses, designed as a self-managed process, can be taken online, on your own schedule, in the comfort of your home or office. Whether you enroll in one course or complete the entire certificate program, each course offers you an excellent opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills needed to improve your professional standing. Each of the units in a course contains a course workbook which can be downloaded, and other online resources. Some units contain multi-media presentations for you to listen to. After completing all of the units, you will be asked to complete a short quiz. Once you successfully complete the quiz, you have passed the course. Online students usually finish a course (the equivalent of 12 hours in the classroom) in about a month.

Certificate Requirements

In order to receive a certificate, you have to complete three core courses and three electives. The core courses are:

  1. Sustainable Tourism Assessment and Development
  2. Ecotourism Management
  3. Sustainable Tourism Destination Marketing

Registration Information

The cost for each course is $450, with TIES members receiving a $25 discount*. You must register for courses with our education office and, while you may enroll in any number of courses at the same time, you must complete the three core courses and three electives to receive the certificate. Once you register, you will be given access to GWU’s online distance learning platform, which include course outlines.


Course Descriptions

TIES 601 – Sustainable Tourism Assessment & Development

The rapid growth of tourism worldwide has created many challenges and opportunities for established and emerging tourism destinations. This course looks at how to conduct a tourism assessment to examine tourism potential, and how to measure the potential costs and benefits of a tourism development program.

Course topics include:

  • Expand economic development in your destination
  • Develop a community leadership model
  • Compile visitor profiles and economic impact data
  • Survey resident attitudes regarding tourism and its development
  • Conduct visioning and goal setting activities with your stakeholders
  • Assess tourism potential using a demand-driven marketing approach
  • Conduct a preliminary competitive-advantage analysis, using attraction and facility inventory techniques
  • Identify potential projects that contribute to economic development or investment promotion goals
  • Implement social, economic, and environmental project analyzes
  • Establish strategic alliances and partnerships

TIES 603 – Sustainable Tourism Destination Marketing

A practical, intensive, idea-packed approach to marketing tourism destinations. Examine how and why tourists make destination choices, and learn how to develop a strategic marketing system that emphasizes your destination’s distinctive appeal. The course features case studies, and practical tips for stretching marketing dollars through better monitoring, cost controls and evaluation.

Course topics include:

• Identify and attract profitable market segments
• Create appeals that resonate with visitor benefits
• Establish strategic alliances and public-private partnerships
• Prepare an action-oriented marketing plan
• Spot opportunities in tourist spending patterns
• Track preferences of target visitors
• Add value to natural and cultural attractions
• Create and link attractions together
• Benchmark and counter competitor strategies
• Measure the performance of your marketing campaign
• Determine your return on your marketing investment

TIES 608 – Ecotourism Management

Ecotourism has proven to be an economically viable alternative for attracting tourism revenue without compromising local community values or degrading the environment. This course provides the tools needed by tourism planners, conservationists, businesses and communities to work together to develop ecotourism plans and products that will attract and accommodate the ecotourist while conserving natural resources and benefiting local people. Designed to help you understand the unique structure of the ecotourism industry, the course provides the most recent information on ecotourism marketing approaches and product development.

• Understand the basic elements of ecotourism, the market and market trends
• Assess the potential of individual and group ecotourist specialty markets
• Use green guidelines for operating a successful ecotourism business
• Analyze and address the special needs of ecotourists and local communities
• Establish an ecotourism planning process at the local and regional levels
• Develop trip circuits and travel packages that are safe and offer a wide variety of experiences
• Understand the vital role of interpretation and education in adding value