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Welcome to the Center for Sustainable Tourism. The Center advances research and outreach aimed at affecting changes in tourism business practices, public policies, and individual traveler behaviors that lessen any negative impacts of travel while enhancing travel's positive outcomes for both travelers and their host communities. The Center was originally established in 1998, and relocated to East Carolina University in the fall of 2007. The Master of Science in Sustainable Tourism degree program began its course offerings in the fall of 2009.
Our philosophy is that all participants in the tourism experience can, together, protect the environmental health and socio-cultural distinctiveness of tourism destinations while contributing to economic vitality. At the Center, we work across disciplines, often supporting inter-disciplinary teams for teaching, research, and outreach. Our collaborative approach capitalizes on the intellectual wealth and institutional capacity that East Carolina University can bring to the study and practice of sustainability in tourism. We are proud that our MS in Sustainable Tourism-the first such degree program in the nation- is multi- and inter-disciplinary, and that the degree is conferred by the ECU Graduate School. We welcome you to join us in ensuring that travel remains an integral part of everyone's life and that the special places travelers hold dear are enjoyed with dignity and respect.
NC Green Travel Tips: Get the complete list here!
UPDATE ON THE STATUS OF RESPONSIBLE TOURISM: Earlier this month, the Center for Responsible Travel published the 2nd edition of The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends and Statistics factsheet. The report provides a robust collection of data from many different sources on questions about consumer demand for responsible travel, the business case for responsible tourism, and why destinations should be involved in the responsible tourism discussion. It includes a wide range of topics within the umbrella of responsible tourism, which it defines as "Tourism that maximizes the benefits to local communities, minimizes negative social environmental impacts, and helps local people conserve fragile cultures and habitats or species" from the Cape Town (South Africa) Declaration on Responsible Tourism. As expected, the report found a general consensus that travelers prefer green attractions and accommodations. It also found sustainability continues to become an integral part of doing business in the tourism industry as well as identifies support for collaborative sustainability efforts at a destination level. This indicates a trend away from focusing only on individual attractions and accommodations, and toward adopting green and socially responsible initiatives destination wide. The report recognizes that this move toward a more holistic approach, while still in early development, has already resulted in greater attentions from the media and travelers as well as tackling some of the most pertinent long-term issues in the tourism industry. The Center for Responsible Travel website also offers a number of additional resources on responsible travel. For more information about how an attraction, accommodation or destination can integrate responsible practices and be recognized for the practices already adopted, contact NC GreenTravel program manager Tom Rhodes, or Alex Naar with the Center for Sustainable Tourism at ECU at (252) 737-1346.