Community-based Tourism Development: The Syllabus

Check it out – I’m an educator. After almost a year of developing an online course for the Certificate in Community-Based Development through Village Earth and Colorado State University, the 5-week course begins next week. It’s called Community-Based Tourism Development, and I’m pretty excited about it.


Here’s the syllabus:

Week 1: Introduction to tourism and theoretical frameworks

  • Tourism within the context of globalization and free-trade economics
  • The paradox of tourism and sustainable development


1) An Overview of Tourism. Rethinking Travel and Ecotourism, second edition. Deborah McLaren, 2003.

2) Richard Sharpley (2000): Tourism and Sustainable Development: Exploring the Theoretical Divide, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 8:1, 1-19

Optional: Authenticity, Giving Back, and the Awkward Case of Indigenous Tourism. Daniel Kreuger, Adventure Travel News. January 18, 2012.


Week 2: Community-based tourism labeling and certification

  • Meanings of labels like ecotourism, responsible tourism, sustainable tourism, community-based tourism, and pro-poor tourism.
  • Pros and cons of ecotourism certification


  1. Ecotravel Issues for a New Century. Rethinking Travel and Ecotourism, second edition. Deborah McLaren, 2003.
  2. Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. The Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Oct 2008
  3. Raising the Standards and Benefits of Sustainable Tourism and Ecotourism Certification. The Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council, March 2003
  4. Nine Labels for Ethical Travel. Tourism Review. Cynthia Ord, 2011


Week 3: Case studies and examples of community-based tourism

  • Examples of well-implemented community-based tourism “success stories”
  • Examples of community-based tourism case studies under critique


Choose TWO of the following affirmative case studies:

a)      Brenu Beach Resort, Ghana. Michael Kweku Commeh and Nico Schulenkorf. Innovation for Sustainable Tourism: International Case Studies, Chapter 8, 2008
b)     Wenhai Ecolodge, Northern Yunnan, China. Ginger Smith and Jiayi Du. Innovation for Sustainable Tourism: International Case Studies, Chapter 8, 2008
c)      Indigenous Communities and Tourism: The Benefits of Co-management in Chile. Marcela Torres. The Travel Word, 20 December 2011.
d)     Community agency and sustainable tourism development: the case of La Fortuna, Costa Rica.  David Matarrita-Cascantea, Mark Anthony Brennanb and A.E. Luloff. The Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19:7, 2011

Choose TWO of the following critical case studies:

a)      Issues from community-based ecotourism in the Bouma National Heritage Park, Fiji. Trisia Angela Farrelly. The Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 18:6, 2010
b)     The community participation process in ecotourism development: a case study of the community of Sogoog, Bayan- Ulgii, Mongolia. Sebastien Nault a & Paul Stapleton, The Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19:6, 2011
c)      Barriers to community capacity building for tourism development in communities in Shiraz, Iran. Fariborz Aref, The Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19:3, 2010
d)     Tourism in Maasai communities: a chance to improve livelihoods? Katherine A. Snyder a & Emmanuel B. Sulle. The Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19:8, 2011

Optional: VIDEO Bhutan – Tourism and Development


Week 4: Critical approaches to community-based tourism development

  • Arguments against community-based tourism initiatives
  • Should a community have the right to refuse tourism completely?


  1. A critical look at community based tourism. Kirsty Blackstock, Community Development Journal, Vol 40 No 1 2005
  2. Pro-poor Tourism: a critique. David Harrison, Third World Quarterly. Vol 29, No 5, 2008.
  3. The Possible Negative Impacts of Volunteer Tourism. Daniel A. Guttentag. The International Journal of Tourism Research, Vol 11 2009
  4. Amazon Town Bans Tourists. Tony Muse, The Guardian. 25 March 201l.


Week 5: Resources, student-led discussion, assignment

  • What have been the positive and negative impacts of tourism in your community/destination of interest?
  • Propose a community-based tourism initiative for your destination of interest



  1. says

    It is really nice to learn such an important lessons. I am doing my research on “The Potential of Developing Community Based Eco-tourism” and hence I find these lessons quite important.

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