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The Sustainable Tourism division embodies innovation in graduate education, leadership development, community consultation, and collaborative research. Devoted to implementing sustainable practices in business operations, public policies, and personal travel behaviors, the Center offers solutions to challenges facing the tourism industry and destination communities as they balance economic viability with socio-cultural and environmental enhancement and equity.
The Sustainable Tourism division emphasizes analyses of tourism's net impact on economic, natural, and social issues. Research at the Center utilizes the concepts of financial, environmental, and social accounting to quantify the impacts, ascertain potential tradeoffs, and identify synergy among these dimensions of sustainable tourism. While many opportunities exist to promote economic, environmental, and social objectives simultaneously, it is also often necessary to make choices between them, especially in the short term. As planning horizons lengthen, protecting and enhancing the environment and socio-cultural objectives become more important in sustaining economic growth. Over time these three dimensions of sustainability, often referred to as the "Triple Bottom Line," reinforce each other by creating long-term approaches that simultaneously promote better jobs, higher profits, better natural environments, and stronger social/cultural dimensions.
All projects and programs should satisfy four inter-related criteria in order to increase the relevance of the division's research efforts.
They should contribute to developing, testing, and refining analytical models and research tools to better explain the benefits and costs of travel and tourism in terms of net impacts on financial, environmental, and social capital formation.
They should add to a collection of local, national, and international tourism data sources, case studies, best practices, and other information to ensure that the academic and business research is based on solid and up-to-date information.
They should encourage collaboration within and outside the university to develop innovative means (electronic newsletters, on-line forums, simulation, and visualization technologies, etc.) to help students, businesses, decision-makers and the general public to better understand tourism's sustainability issues.
They should create interesting learning opportunities for students.