East Carolina University has created the nation's first interdisciplinary master's degree in sustainable tourism.
The university says the new degree reflects a growing concern about balancing the economic, ecological and social impacts of tourism on the world's vacation destinations.
“There is a close link and relationship between good science and good business,” said Patrick Long, director of ECU's Center for Sustainable Tourism, in a news release. “We need to train and educate our future leaders in this industry on how to best integrate those two major components.”
The UNC system's Board of Governors approved the degree on Jan. 8, and the full program is already in motion.
As the Center defines it, sustainable tourism “contributes to a balanced and healthy economy by generating tourism-related jobs, revenues and taxes while protecting and enhancing the destination’s social, cultural, historical, natural and built resources for the enjoyment and well-being of both residents and visitors,” according to the news release.
Students in the program will study under faculty with expertise in business, arts and sciences, human ecology, and health and human performance.