Ecotourism and Adventure Travel in a Threatened Biosphere


Fall 2013 quarter

Taught by

This interdisciplinary 16-credit program focuses on ecotourism, culture-based tourism and adventure travel. Ecotourism offers wildlife and nature experiences in protected habitats and pristine areas. Participative tourism is based on visits to traditional rural communities where travelers share in the daily lives of unique host cultures. Adventure travel involves endurance sports and high-skill challenges in natural settings. Ecotourism is often touted as a contributor to the conservation of ecosystems and wildlife habitats, and to economic development in rural communities. We explore the history, outcomes and future potential of ecotourism in different parts of the world.

We study historic travel accounts and the literature of travel, changing modes of tourism, including solo travel and the global trend toward leisure travel. Creative writing and storytelling allow students to share their own travel experiences and goals. Travel media and journalism, books, films and the internet provide sources for discussion and writing, and topics for research.

We study current theory of ecotourism, including policy and case studies, and acquire tools for critical analysis. Students study the ecotourism market, including planning, management, operations, and project outcomes. Sustainability criteria for ecotourism is a key topic. We study impacts of culturally-focused “participative” travel in developing countries, and the relationship of tourism to environmental changes. Students’ weekly essays, journals and narratives serve to elaborate on diverse topics and the learning process.

The program includes a Spanish language component.  Students are encouraged to study the language for the full 16 credits (or to take another foreign language or elective course, as a 12-credit option).

Students collaborate in groups or work individually to design and present models for ecotourism and adventure travel. Term projects can focus on business development, operations, outdoor safety and environmental education, travel writing, eco-lodge design, photography, travel films, internet and other media, applied research in tourism, or other related areas of interest.

Guest speakers relate their experiences in the adventure travel and ecotourism businesses. Day-long outdoor experiences and multi-day class trips add an experiential component to the program, and films and videos round out our learning about ecotourism and adventure travel.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

ecotourism and culture-based tourism; business planning and management; environmental education and outdoor recreation; and travel media, writing, and journalism.

Academic Website

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Required Fees

$250 for one-day field trips, multi-overnight field trips, and museum fees.

Internship Possibilities

Internships possible with faculty's approval.

Research Possibilities

Applied research term projects and presentations in student-chosen topics.


Date Revision
September 18th, 2013 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall)

Variable Credit Options

12-credit option available to students who choose not to take 4-credit Spanish language component.

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 25


Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 10274
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 10468

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