Professional Certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism

Indigenous communities around the world are helping to maintain their traditional way of life and increase their livelihoods by promoting and sharing their cultural heritage with travelers.

This program is designed to assist practitioners and community leaders to identify and develop the assets that would most appeal to tourists and to plan and manage a successful cultural heritage and native tourism program. Participants have the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to leverage tourism as an engine for economic development in your community.

This online certificate program is designed to be a self-managed process that allows participants to learn the content at their own pace.

Students Can Expect To:

  • Gain an understanding of trends in cultural heritage and native tourism.
  • Learn successful models for managing tourism at the community level.
  • Learn to conduct a comprehensive tourism assessment to evaluate cultural heritage tourism as a fit for your community.
  • Gain the tools to craft a plan for cultural heritage tourism in your community.

Cultural Heritage Tourism is an Ideal Program for You If You Are…

  • Involved in tourism, including hospitality and gaming capacities, within your tribe or native community.
  • Responsible for economic and cultural development, including planning or tribal heritage preservation for your community.
  • Thinking about starting a native-owned tourism enterprise.
  • Working within the tourism private sector but interested in learning more about cultural heritage tourism.
  • Not working within native tourism, but charged with working with native tourism stakeholders, including hotels, casinos, cultural centers, etc.


Four Reasons to Earn Your Certificate Now:

  • Become a leader and facilitator of cultural heritage and native tourism.
  • Help drive sustainable and inclusive development in your community.
  • Support cultural preservation.
  • Learn trends from leading-edge professionals and expand your professional network.

Click here to apply to the program



The Professional Certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism program is comprised of six core courses. One course is scheduled per week during a six week block. Each course typically consists of a recorded main lecture, required readings, scheduled guest lectures, and discussion forums. Participants are required to complete a mastery exam at the end of each course.

Upon successful completion of the six courses, students receive a Professional Certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism from The George Washington University School of Business. This is a non-degree bearing program.

Click a course title for more detail:

Cultural Heritage Tourism

This course examines the range of cultural heritage assets that can help to draw and engage visitors and drive economic development and cultural preservation. The curriculum covers best practices for effective community-based participatory planning, management and shared stewardship, which are all components of successful cultural heritage tourism.

Participants Will Learn How To:

  • Develop cultural heritage resources as tourism attractions.
  • Link cultural heritage tourism and economic development.
  • Use collaborative techniques to ensure community objectives and heritage preservation goals are served.
  • Conduct a resource assessment.
  • Facilitate community participation in developing a community-based cultural heritage tourism planning process.
  • Market cultural heritage-related tourism services.
  • Create strategic partnerships for funding and resources.


Sustainable Tourism Assessment & Development

The rapid growth of tourism worldwide has created many challenges and opportunities for established and emerging destinations. This course focuses on conducting destination assessments to evaluate tourism potential and the costs and benefits of a sustainable tourism development program.

Participants Will Learn How To:

  • Use sustainable tourism to expand economic development and to improve the quality of life for a tourism destination.
  • Develop a sustainable community leadership model.
  • Compile visitor profiles and economic impact data.
  • Survey resident attitudes regarding tourism and its sustainable development.
  • 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.

Community-Based Tourism

Participants are introduced to the issues and challenges involved in community-based tourism and learn the steps for planning and implementing their own program.

Participants Will Learn How To:

  • Understand the concept, principles, and aims of CBT.
  • Identify the various actors involved in CBT, and the critical importance of participation when developing and implementing a CBT venture.
  • Lead the planning and implementation stages of a CBT venture.
  • Anticipate the positive and negative impacts and challenges of CBT.

Destination Marketing

This course covers the strategic and critical role that marketing plays in tourism development and introduces basic promotional techniques that can help to effectively sell a new or existing tourism product or destination.

Participants Will Learn How To:

  • Identify effective marketing strategies for tourism businesses, service providers, and destinations.
  • Link competitive tourism product offerings to relevant markets.
  • Understand contemporary traveler behavior and facilitate competitive travel experiences.

Customer Relations for the Hospitality Industry

This course covers the importance of outstanding customer relations in the hospitality industry and several strategies that can be used to deliver that level of service.

Participants Will Learn How To:

  • Refine their customer service approaches.
  • Put a special touch on hosting activities with all customers.
  • Apply different strategies to deliver high level of service.

Best Practices in Event Management

The focus here is on professional meeting and event management, including industry best practices around research, design, planning, coordination and evaluation.

Participants Will Learn How To:

  • Structure and manage an event planning schedule to improve profitability.
  • Conduct comprehensive needs assessments and feasibility studies.
  • Identify and prioritize event goals and objectives.
  • Identify all potential challenges to a successful event and choose appropriate solutions by using efficient planning scenarios.
  • Conduct mid- and post-event evaluations.
  • Create and present proposals and agreements that are advantageous to all parties of an event.
  • Appreciate the rewards of being in the Event Management profession.

Tips for Success

  • Set aside 6-10 hours of study per week for each course over the six week program.
  • Plan to self-manage your time:  this online certificate program is designed to learn the content at your own pace.
  • Complete your weekly assignments including the lecture, readings and discussion boards to successfully complete the mastery exam at the end of the week.


To be admitted to the Professional Certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism program, students must have completed the equivalent of a high school diploma. International students not proficient in English must have a TOEFL PBT score of 600 or a TOEFL CBT score of 100.

Because the Professional Certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism program is a non-degree program, federally funded student loan programs are not available, and the program is not eligible for deferment of such loans.

Registration Information

Please click here to register for the Professional Certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism program.

For all inquiries, questions, or to receive updates on the program, please email [email protected].

Program Fees

  • Program Fees with AIANTA Membership - $2,725
  • Program Fees without AIANTA Membership - $2,775

Important Policies

Extension & Reinstatement Policy

The Professional Certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism is a six week program. If for some reason during the six week period you need an extension, you can request an extension by forwarding a letter of explanation to [email protected]. Program staff will review your request and determine if the extension request will be granted. You can only receive one extension for a maximum of six weeks.

Refund Policy

If a student withdraws from the Professional Certificate in Cultural Heritage Tourism program thirty days before the start date, refund is 100% of tuition minus a $100 withdrawal fee. If a student withdraws from the program within fifteen days of the start date, no refund is granted. A student who withdraws between the thirty- and fifteen- day will either receive a full credit to the program the following year or a 50% refund.

Financial Obligation

All financial obligations to The George Washington University must be met to receive a certificate.