CSU joins United Nations tourism program

Colorado State University recently became an affiliate member in the United Nations World Tourism Organization, an agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable, and accessible tourism. It’s a move that demonstrates the strength and scope of the university’s Master of Tourism Management program, and underscores CSU’s commitment to sustainability.

William “Sam” Martin, Master of Tourism Management faculty member and program coordinator in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, said CSU students and faculty have already benefited from a relationship with the United Nations program. Now, they’ll have access to even more data, the latest research reports, and an e-Library managed by UNWTO.

“We use a lot of their materials in our course work,” he said. “We also use their statistical framework to standardize data collection for tourism,” said Martin, who teaches “Natural Resource Management and Tourism,” among other classes.

CSU joins a handful of U.S.-based universities, including California University of Pennsylvania, Fairleigh Dickinson University, George Washington University, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and more than 130 universities worldwide in the program.

Other affiliate members include airlines, travel agencies, destination promotion agencies, hotel groups, business schools, trade unions, information technology companies, and environmental research organizations.

2015 Master of Tourism Management at UnionStation
MTM students get behind-the-scenes tours at places like Denver’s Union Station.

Tourism Naturally

Tourism can improve human health and well-being while serving as a catalyst for increasing appreciation and stewardship of the natural world. But tourism can also destroy the very destinations that draw travelers. Learn how to address the issues that arise as tourism businesses, infrastructure, travelers and hosts interact in overlapping economic, cultural, social, and environmental spheres. Colorado State University will host a conference on coastal and mountain systems in Alghero, Italy, in October 2016. Keynote speakers include Omar Valdez, executive director of UNWTO’s Themis Foundation and CSU Professor Joseph O’Leary, Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources.

UNWTO sees tourism as a development tool in many countries, Martin noted. “The organization is tied in with the United Nations Development Programme’s poverty reduction efforts,” he said. “It’s one of the main mandates along with conservation. Tourism supports poverty alleviation and conservation in the developing world.”

Martin said the affiliation will resonate with international students, who make up 50 percent of the Master of Tourism Management program’s enrollees. Joining this program will also help educate other members about CSU events and research.

“Our new affiliation with UNWTO gives recognition to the growing global reach of our graduate programs,” said CSU Professor Michael Manfredo, who is also the head of the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. “Going forward, we expect that our involvement with the WTO network will provide us with a host of new opportunities that will strengthen the quality and reach of our tourism programs.”

The MTM program at any given time has approximately 100 students enrolled, both online and on campus. The program is in its fifth year and its 100th student graduated in spring 2016.