Fall 2021: ENVR E118A Ecotourism Businesses Development, Monitoring, Market Research & Investment Preparation

Instructors: Megan Epler Wood and O’Shannon Burns

This course stresses the fundamentals of developing a tourism business in the 21st century which is managed with social and environmental indicators – from start-up to longer-term management systems primarily for small and medium sized enterprises.  Students analyze local needs, regional and international markets, the thriving digital tourism economy, impact financing, and the wide range of supply chains all ecotourism businesses manage.

Each week students take on a new course component to build out their business model, by reviewing competition, evaluating conservation goals, and integrating social and community-based planning indicators, all based on the local context of their chosen project.  The Integrated Annual Reporting system will be taught to create dynamic, triple-bottom line business plans.  Class discussions will dig into financial, climate, conservation, and social enterprise indicators and management. 

Speakers will include leading ecotourism business owners from Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and North America and an interactive Harvard Business School case discussion will focus on the new, three-part HBS business case on the company Wilderness Safaris, designed for the course. Instructors and guest speakers will address the historic impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the travel sector, profile recent examples of ecotourism business growth, acquisition and consolidation, and share the latest outlooks on impact and climate investment.

Registration information to come.

Spring 2022: ENVR E-118B Sustainable Tourism, Regional Planning, & Geodesign

Instructor: Megan Epler Wood, Dr. Vicente Molés, & Dr. Stephen M. Ervin

This course introduces the basic principles of tourism master planning, enabling students to learn how communities, governments, business, and civil society can take a more inclusive and sustainable approach to planning tourism destinations worldwide. Students learn to present quantitative and qualitative economic, sociocultural, and environmental data, to determine the best management of vital natural and social resources, and to build scenarios that include the impacts of climate change, including approaches to mitigation and adaptation, over the next 20-30 years. A live interactive session is held using interactive geodesign methods to address key decisions in the process of design for tourism growth. Students participate in applying digital tools and analyses to a specific case. Each student generates scenarios and learns how to manage these scenarios through new approaches to governance.

Registration information to come.

"118b is an engaging course that offers hands-on experience through state-of-the-art technology in a real-world project environment. We obtained a deeper knowledge and understanding of the issues confronting tourism development throughout the world."
Frans W. (Fall 2019)

Fall 2022: ENVR E-118 Environmental Management of International Tourism Development

Instructor: Megan Epler Wood

This course lays out the significance of the international tourism industry, which represents approximately 10.4% of the global economy. It provides students with an understanding of how the tourism business operates, primarily focusing on mainstream tourism, its supply chains, and how each sector of the business approaches environmental management.

The course looks at the growth of tourism as an industry, how digital sales and marketing are transforming the sector, and its part in the rapid globalization of world economies. It discusses the industry’s particular impacts on emerging economies, its role in employment generation and economic development, and the current status of global dialog on green tourism growth. Speakers from business and government reflect on the management of sustainability for tourism. Students learn how the industry is presently managing air, energy, water, waste water, solid waste, sprawl, and ecosystem impacts, and how new systems for environmental management can be deployed at the business and destination level.

Each week a different sector of the industry is covered, including hotels, tour operators, air carriers, airports and transport. Special attention is given to the impacts of climate change on the tourism industry, as well as on issues of carbon management of the different sectors of the industry. A set of environmental and carbon assessment tools and methodologies is presented. Students learn how governments presently manage tourism, discuss how governance is changing, and review prospects for further reform and consider innovative new systems for management of growth. 

Each lecture in the course will address COVID 19 impacts on the sector of the industry and the destinations covered. In addition, there will be overviews of the pandemic’s effects on the economic, social, and environmental conditions being faced by tourism-related businesses, government authorities, and local society in key destinations worldwide. 

To learn more about the course and to get a feel for Megan’s teaching style, watch her 9-minute video that introduces the course.

Registration information to come.

"ENVR E-118 at Harvard Extension School should be a required course for anyone in a decision-making position within the tourism industry. I'm looking forward to HES offering more of these types of courses in the near future."
—Sheree M. (Fall 2020)
"Thanks for a really fascinating semester! I came out with unexpected new interests and an eagerness to explore work in this field in the future. This course provides amazing insights and experience."
—Sarah D. (Fall 2019)
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