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Pieces of Eight


Outreach Enhances Tourism

A new outreach position for ECU’s Office of Economic Development and the Center for Sustainable Tourism will strengthen the connection between the university and the state of North Carolina while improving efforts for sustainable tourism across the state.

As the new coordinator of sustainable tourism initiatives, Alex Naar will serve as a liaison between the university and tourism industry professionals statewide. He will work directly with the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development to encourage environmental stewardship in the travel and tourism industry.

His work will include assisting events and festival directors with incorporating sustainability, connecting the tourism industry with sustainable energy experts, and disseminating research conducted by the Center of Sustainable Tourism.

“Some specific projects that I am looking forward to working on are a collection of ‘How To’ resource sheets to be accessible on the Center for Sustainable Tourism’s web site, conducting educational seminars for tourism industry professionals, and creating a network of suppliers and vendors to support tourism businesses that desire to be more environmentally responsible,” said Naar.

In 2007, tourism employed 190,000 residents and generated a total of more than $1.3 billion in state and local tax revenues. With growing interest of travelers to select tourism destinations that have an environmentally-friendly record coupled with rising energy costs, the tourism industry has become proactive in managing its “footprint.” Naar will work closely with the Center for Sustainable Tourism at ECU to address what is commonly referred to as the Triple Bottom Line—balancing the economic, social and environmental dimensions of tourism.

The Center is the only one of its kind in the nation and was established to serve all of North Carolina. North Carolina is also the first known state to create such a position within a state tourism office.

Naar is a recent graduate in business and environmental studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

This page originally appeared in the Aug. 1, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at