A Referential Methodology for Education on Sustainable Tourism Development
Published: 01 November 2013 by MDPI in The 3rd World Sustainability Forum session Sustainable Development Policy, Practice and Education
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to describe an international student project as a referential methodology for sustainable tourism education. Sustainable tourism is widely accepted and advocated as a tool for sustainable development of local communities by international organizations and scientific community (Castellani and Sala, 2010). It has the potential of contributing to local development while protecting natural environment and preserving cultural heritage. In spite of this potential, there are serious obstacles in sustainable tourism development, some of which include inadequate policy framework and an accompanying institutional structure to support stakeholder involvement. Removal of these obstacles seems to require human resources that can assume effective leadership in sustainable development. The purpose of the international student project described in this paper is to develop and implement an educational methodology to fulfill this need. This international student project, which is a joint student project of the Department of Tourism Administration at Bogazici University and School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at San Diego State University, took place in August 2013 in the study setting of Kastomonu, Turkey. Kastamonu is one of the areas designated for tourism development according to Tourism Strategy 2023 Report of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In this project students have worked on developing a Sustainability Guide to help the community of Kastamonu to implement sustainable tourism development. In developing this guide, students were asked to evaluate whether residents of Kastamonu community can achieve sustainability through tourism development. In this guide assessment of sustainability is based on The Happiness Initiative, a US program, currently being coordinated by Sustainable Seattle. This Happiness initiative measures the level of welfare and development in a community along nine dimensions, namely Environment and Nature; Good Government; Material Well-being; Psychological Well being, Physical Health; Time and Work-Life Balance; Social Vitality and Connection; Education; and Arts and Culture. Students have worked in mixed groups of four and followed a program that enabled them to make observations on each of the above mentioned dimensioned dimensions. At the end of the program, they made presentations to a group of local stakeholders. The impact of this educational methodology on the leadership qualities for sustainable tourism development, a survey instrument was administered both before and after the project implementation. The Global Citizenship Scale developed by Morais and Ogden (2011) was used in this survey instrument. The results indicate a change in global citizenship score of the students along some dimensions of this score, as well as their conceptions about sustainable tourism development. An educational project with specific aims that incorporate dimensions contributing to sustainability seems to offer an innovative approach in generating the qualities supporting effective leadership for sustainable tourism development.
Keywords: Sustainability, Higher Education, Tourism