• Community Sense of Place Community Sense of Place Tourism Impacts and Second Home Development: A Sustainable Approach
  • Climate, Weather, and Tourism Climate, Weather, and Tourism Tourism destinations and their individual tourism businesses are all vying for tourists at their respective locations.
  • Engagement and Community Engagement and Community In partnership with the Office of Engagement, Innovation, and Economic Development.
  • Rural Tourism Rural Tourism Sustaining rural America is one of today's pressing issues.
  • RESET RESET Race, Ethnicity, and Social Equity in Tourism
  • US Travel Care Code US Travel Care Code The United States Travel Care Code has been developed and is managed by the Center for Sustainable Tourism.
  • RETI RETI The Renewable Energy in Tourism Initiative
  • Tourism and Entrepreneurship Tourism and Entrepreneurship Developing the local tourism industry as part of an economic development strategy.

Race, Ethnicity, and Social Equity in Tourism (RESET)

What is RESET?

RESET is a multi-university and interdisciplinary effort conducted jointly by the Center for Sustainable Tourism at East Carolina University, the Department of Geography at the University of Tennessee, and the Department of Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi. The concept of sustainability stresses responsible management of the social-cultural aspects of tourism development as well as its economic and environmental aspects. RESET is a research and outreach initiative that seeks to identify, study, and challenge patterns of social inequity in the current tourism industry. Special attention is focused on enhancing the role of racial and ethnic minorities in development. Little sustained work has been done on the preferences, characteristic, and challenges of minority travelers and there is a need to incorporate the natural and cultural heritage of racial and ethnic populations into tourism products available to the consuming public. In addition to being a convenient acronym, RESET captures the progressive nature of the initiative and the belief that tourism development, if done in sustainable and responsible ways, can be tools for racial reconciliation and minority empowerment- in effect pressing the "reset" button on the inequalities and insensitivity of the traditional tourism industry.

Initiative Coordinators:

Dr. Derek Alderman, University of Tennessee

Dr. Carol Kline, East Carolina University

Research Themes

The specific research focus of the RESET Initiative will always be a work in progress and actively (re)shaped by trends in the tourism industry, the needs of minority travelers, and the intellectual paradigms of tourism research.

Social Equity and the Representation of Slavery in Plantation Heritage Tourism

Traditionally, historic southern plantations have said little about the lives of the enslaved Africans and African Americans whose labor built and operated these estates. There are signs of a growing inclusion of the slave experience within plantation heritage, although this does not yet represent a wholesale change. RESET is carrying out research and outreach projects that determine what place the enslaved have in the current marketing and interpretation of plantation history, the expectations and perceptions of plantation visitors from different racial backgrounds, and the role of tour guides and managers in making for a more inclusive plantation heritage experience.   

Racial Diversity and Social Responsibility in Tourism Marketing

Tourism marketing, rather than simply a matter of promotion and responding to consumer behavior, is a cultural process that gives some social groups more power to be seen and heard than others. Scholars have observed in the past that tourism promotions often reflect a privileged white perspective that obscures the experiences of minorities and neglects their social and economic importance as travelers and community hosts. RESET is carrying out research and outreach projects that assess the visibility of African Americans in the marketing of the U.S. South, particularly the photographs published in state travel guide magazines and welcome center brochures.  

Constructing the African American Traveler Profile

Very little research has been conducted to learn about the African-American traveler. Visitor motivations, travel patterns, niche activities, sustainability practices, trip planning, and travel constraints are but a few categories of information that the tourism industry would need to better tailor an experience to the African-American traveler. The RESET program aims to compile existing information, and collect new profile information, about this important traveler segment.

Opportunities and Challenges Facing Civil Rights Movement Heritage Tourism

The creation of memorials and museums dedicated to the Civil Rights Movement is a watershed event in the southern and American heritage tourism, an important opportunity to reverse the way history has long been interpreted and marketed from a white-centric perspective. At the same time, these heritage sites have encountered challenges as managers decide how best to narrate the history of the Movement in ways that do justice to minority identities and struggles while also resonating with white America. RESET is carrying out research and outreach projects that analyze the historical narratives employed at Civil Rights heritage tourism sites and visitors’ reactions to these representations.

Research Associates

One of the goals of RESET is to serve as a place for professional collaboration and exchange between scholars who are doing work in the areas of race, ethnicity, and social equity in tourism.  Establishing this network of like minded scholars will facilitate the holding of conferences, joint projects and publications, and the connection of research professionals with community and industry groups.

East Carolina University

Dr. Carol Kline, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, Center for Sustainable Tourism

Dr. Paige Schneider, Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies

Other Universities, Agencies, and Organizations

Stefanie K. Benjamin, Doctoral Student, Foundations of Education, University of South Carolina

Dr. David L. Butler, Associate Professor & Director, International Development Doctoral Program, University of Southern Mississippi

Dr. Perry Carter, Department of Economics and Geography, Texas Tech University

Dr. Elizabeth A. Covelli, Department of Society and Conservation, University of Montana

Dr. Owen J. Dwyer, Department of Geography, Indiana University-Indianapolis

Dr. Steve Hanna, Department of Geography, Mary Washington University

E. Arnold Modlin, Doctoral Candidate, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University & Instructor, Department of History, Norfolk State University

Nicole A. Moore, MA, CIG, Historic Consultant, Historic Interpreter, Public Historian, Interpreting Slave Life:  www.interpretingslavelife.com

Dr. Amy Potter, Department of History, Armstrong Atlantic University

Sustainable Tourism | RESET

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