Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management

Sustainable Tourism Destination banner

Well-planned and sustainably managed tourism can contribute to the environmental, social and economic health of destinations. In fact, the United Nations declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism because of the industry’s ability to contribute to key Sustainable Development Goals.

The George Washington University’s Sustainable Tourism Destination Management program provides a strategic overview of responsible destination management along with practical applications. The certificate is designed for tourism professionals and career changers who want to advance their careers and take advantage of the increasing opportunities in the field. Participants will learn strategies and tools for recognizing and developing tourism products, creating visitor markets, minimizing the potentially negative effects of tourism and enhancing the sustainability of destinations so that they remain viable and attractive to visitors, and support their host communities.

What can you expect to gain from the program?

  • Strategies to sustainably develop and manage tourism destinations
  • Essential information on effective promotion
  • Guidance on designing tourism policies and working with stakeholders
  • Instruction on developing new tourism experiences and products
  • An overview and introduction to key players in the field
  • Skill sets that you can apply to your career right now

Is the program right for you?

Sustainable Tourism Destination Management is an ideal program if you are:

  • Working in the tourism industry and would like to deepen your understanding of sustainability
  • Interested in joining the sustainable tourism industry
  • Starting or changing your career
  • Planning to start your own sustainable tourism business

"This is a world-class, cutting-edge professional course which is highly regarded in the tourism industry for sustainability and growth across the globe. The program is more interactive and educational than other courses, and the instructors are highly knowledgeable in their areas of expertise. The course will definitely scale up your professional standing in the tourism industry."

Bafoday Keita

Compass Group



"I recommend this program to anyone interested in obtaining a deep understanding of sustainable practices in the tourism industry. As an international development professional, I have seen first-hand the increase of tourism-related procurement in business development. This certification gave me more credibility as a tourism specialist, and on the job I am often thought of first when it comes to tourism research, meeting and interviewing different stakeholders in the value chain, and delivering reports on findings.
This certificate also provided a holistic view of the actual tourism industry, as the class topics covered the foundation areas of the industry really well. If you are like me and considering a potential Master of Tourism Administration degree in the future, the certificate can also be applied for a certain amount of credits towards that degree — a nice bonus if you intend to further your studies. "

Jonathan Mariano

Proposal Manager, Nathan Associates, Inc.


Sustainable Tourism Destination Management Certificate Requirements

Students must complete all six courses in the program in order to receive a certificate. Individual course completions will be emailed to students to indicate the completion of each course. A paper certificate signed by the university will be mailed to students upon the completion of the entire certificate program. Paper certificates will not be mailed for each individual course. All financial obligations to the George Washington University must be met in order to receive a certificate.

Required Courses

To earn a Sustainable Tourism Destination Management certificate, students are required to complete a total of six online courses, which are offered in sets of three throughout the year. Each course offers participants the opportunity to improve their professional standing, expand their industry network, and deepen their understanding of tourism’s ability to contribute to environmental, social and economic goals. The courses are offered over the course of a week and each one should take students about eight hours to complete. Coursework includes presentations, readings, online mentoring, discussion boards and guest lectures by tourism professionals.

This course provides an overview of the ways in which tourism can contribute to sustainable development in tourism destinations. Participants are introduced to a range of tourism products and services and learn how they can be applied to help alleviate poverty, stimulate economic growth, conserve natural resources and mitigate climate change. Participants will gain insight into niche tourism markets that promote sustainability and gain a solid foundation on the issues that surround tourism development.

This course provides an introduction to destinations that have become increasingly competitive through the creation of environmentally and socially-friendly tourism attractions, products and services. Students will learn about new models used in destination management, including successful public-private management approaches, which include broad stakeholder engagement and support. And they will study ways of establishing local destination management organizations (DMOs) that successfully coordinate a various tourism activities including product development, marketing and quality assurance.

Sustainable tourism products and services ultimately need well-targeted marketing efforts that convey consistent messages to potential customers. This course will cover sustainable destination marketing with a particular focus on e-commerce, internet marketing, and social media. Participants will learn about key marketing, branding and positioning strategies for sustainable tourism products, including web-based tools.

Critical to the success of tourism destinations is the quality and variety of the attractions, accommodations and activities they offer. This course equips participants with the tools needed to develop sustainable tourism products and services that will attract and accommodate visitors while conserving natural resources and benefiting local people. Participants will learn how to turn sustainable tourism assessment information and concepts into full-fledged business plans.

Mobilizing investment and finance to develop, manage, and market sustainable tourism is a challenge for many tourism destinations. This course introduces participants to the different models used by the public and private sector to work together to establish and finance destination management and marketing organizations. It also includes an overview of different government financing mechanisms used to develop major tourism infrastructure including municipal bonds, tax-based funding, service fees, special assessments and land use related financing including concessions.

This course prepares students to:

  • Understand why governments invest in tourism development and their expectations
  • Identify different models used to establish and fund Destination Management and Marketing Organizations (DMOs)
  • Government financing mechanisms used to develop major tourism infrastructure
  • Understand how to attract funding from international development organizations
  • Tactics and tools to attract private investment

The rapid growth of tourism worldwide has created both challenges and opportunities for tourism destinations.

This course explores:

  • policies and planning strategies that are helping to generate sustainable benefits for people who depend on tourism
  • resources and tools used in conducting sustainable tourism assessments, land-use planning, project development, and monitoring and evaluation initiatives

Admissions

To be admitted to the Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management program, students must have completed the equivalent of a high school diploma. A bachelor’s degree is strongly recommended. International students not proficient in English must have a TOEFL PBT score of 600 or a TOEFL CBT score of 100.

The Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management program is a non-degree program that provides continuing education credits (CEUs). Federally funded or other student loan programs or scholarships are not available, and the program is not eligible for deferment of such loans.

Program Fees & Financial Aid

Each required course costs $495, but courses may be purchased in a three-course bundle for a discounted rate of $1,350. Students typically purchase two course bundles to complete the certificate program for a total cost of $2,700.

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

Grades

The grading system is Pass or Fail. Course completion letters will be emailed to students to indicate the completion of each course. A paper certificate signed by the university will be mailed to students upon the completion of the entire certificate program. Paper certificates will not be mailed for individual courses. All financial obligations to the George Washington University must be met in order to receive a certificate.

Refund Policy

If a student withdraws from the Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management program thirty days or more before the start date, a refund of 100% of tuition costs (minus a $100 withdrawal fee) will be granted. 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 period will receive either a full credit for a future session or a 50% refund.

Registration

Sustainable Tourism Destination Management courses are offered in bundles of three a few times a year.

For more information about the Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management, please email us at [email protected].