About IITS

As one of the world’s largest industries, tourism provides one in eleven jobs globally and has an enormous environmental and social impact on communities everywhere. If practiced responsibly, however, tourism can be an engine for innovation, drive sustainable consumption and production, generate revenue and incentivize communities to protect their valuable natural and cultural resources.

“Through the program, I gained access to contacts and networks that I otherwise would not have found on my own. Guest lectures, events, and course projects allowed me to further explore career options.”

Tania Curry, January 2013 Graduate
World Wildlife Fund’s Travel, Tourism & Conservation Fund

The International Institute of Tourism Studies (IITS) is widely recognized as a global leader in tourism education and research. Our programs prepare students for a wide range of careers in the tourism industry and provide practicing professionals with advanced and specialized training in the management of destinations; sports philanthropy and marketing; meetings and events; hospitality; and cultural sites and parks.

We also provide practical guidance to businesses, organizations and communities, helping them to operate responsibly and derive maximum benefit from their tourism-related investments. And we encourage students to actively participate in these ongoing opportunities.

Professional Certificate Programs

Tourism Destination Management

Students learn about best practices and current trends in sustainable tourism development. Through exposure to practicing professionals, they gain an understanding of the practical approaches and methods that lead to successful planning, development, management and the marketing of tourism destinations.

Tourism Destination Management

Event Management

This program introduces students to the research, design, planning, coordination, site analysis, feasibility studies and evaluation processes of event and meeting management. Industry professionals share best practices in organization, promotion and risk management for seminars, conventions, conferences, trade shows, expositions and special events.

Event Management

A pioneering curriculum tailored to the unique needs of those who work for professional sports teams, leagues, athlete foundations and sport-related companies with an emphasis on corporate social responsibility, nonprofits using sports for social good and those looking to enter the field.

Sports Philanthropy

Current Projects

The IITS is currently involved in a number of research, community development and tourism governance projects that provide tourism industry decision-makers with the relevant guidance and information they need to help solve critical industry challenges.

  • Adventure Travel Development Index

In collaboration with the Adventure Travel and Tourism Association, the IITS produces the Adventure Travel Development Index, which ranks the readiness of countries to compete in the global adventure tourism market.

  • Walkable City Tourism Research Project

A joint initiative of the GW Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis and the IITS, the Walkable City Tourism research project takes an interdisciplinary approach to the urban planning and considers how walkability stimulates economic development and enhances the overall attractiveness and sustainability of cities.

  • Economic Plan for Tourism Development

In collaboration with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, the IITS has been developing an economic plan for tourism development with an emphasis on the creation of stronger local level governance and leadership.

  • Sustainable Culinary Tourism Enterprises

The IITS is supporting the Elliott School of International Affairs’ Sustainable Culinary Tourism Enterprises project in Peru, which is helping disenfranchised women to develop sustainable businesses and sell food prepared on clean and efficient stoves. The long-term goal is to develop a new business model for local sustainability and expand the use of clean cook stoves in women-owned enterprises.

Program Partners

  • United Nations World Tourism Organization
  • Adventure Travel and Trade Association
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association
  • National Park Service
  • Organization of American States
  • The International Ecotourism Society

International Institute of Tourism Studies

Seleni Matus staff profile

Seleni Matus, Director
International Institute of Tourism Studies



The George Washington University
2201 G. Street, NW, Suite 301,
Washington DC 20052

Phone: 202-994-8197
Fax: 202-994-1630
Email:  selenim@gwu.edu



Laura CalderLaura Ortiz-CalderDirector
Enrollment & Student Services
Master of Tourism Administration


The George Washington University
2201 G. Street, NW, Suite 301
Washington DC 20052

Phone: 202-994-9326
Fax: 202-994-1630
Email:  mta@gwu.edu