Sustainable Tourism

2 credits / 6 weeks weeks
10 Jan 2022 - 13 Feb 2022

Professor Felipe Zalamea
Professor Mary Elizabeth Little

In this course, students will critically examine contemporary issues of tourism as a tool for sustainable development as well as the historical development context that has shaped the current tourism environment. The aim is to present sustainability perspectives on the economic, social, cultural, political, and environmental aspects of broadly defined tourism development that students can apply to their research and professional settings. We start by presenting tourism strategies as a tool for economic development including tourism’s role within the UN model and the SDGs. We then examine how gender, race and class influence tourism experiences and potential power imbalances. Finally, we focus on case studies of food security in tourism communities and community-based tourism used as a local development strategy in Costa Rica.
This class is relevant to students and professionals working in community development, international cooperation, research, programming and policy that want to deepen their understanding of sustainable and regenerative tourism and to acquire tools and frameworks applicable in this field.




Felipe Zalamea

Felipe Zalamea is an economist from Sorbonne University (Masters, 2010). After a 1-year ground research on social innovation (finance, agriculture, fair trade and tourism) traveling across South America (2011), he moved to London where he worked 6 months for a social venture intermediary, acquiring valuable experience within the social enterprise sector. Then he founded Sumak Sustainable Travel (2012), a social enterprise specialised in community-based tourism and sustainable tourism in Latin America. He has visited and promoted hundreds of local sustainable tourism projects. Occasionally, Felipe works as a consultant for tourism and local development projects, for clients like the UNDP, BIOFIN, Impact Hub and local NGOs. Lastly, Felipe is a PhD student at the University for Peace, where his research focuses on finance, community-based tourism and entrepreneurship in rural Costa Rica.

Mary Elizabeth Little

Mary E. Little is an associate professor of Environmental Ethics at the School for Field Studies in Costa Rica.  As a human rights lawyer she has worked to improve gender equality through micro-entrepreneur programs in China and to support survivors of domestic violence in Japan. Her current research focuses on environmental and social justice issues, particularly the roles of regenerative tourism and food security initiatives in protecting the environment while strengthening local communities.  



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