Are you passionate about nature and travel? Learn how Oregon State University’s Sustainable Tourism Management program helps students make a positive impact on the environment while pursuing a rewarding career in the tourism industry.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism can be described as a form of tourism that thoroughly considers its present and future effects on the economy, society, and environment. It aims to cater to the requirements of not only visitors, but the industry, the environment, and local communities involved as well.

Oregon State University offers a Bachelor of Science in Tourism, Recreation, and Adventure Leadership (TRAL) degree in the College of Forestry. Within this major, there are 4 concentrations that a student can choose to focus on:
1) outdoor recreation management,
2) adventure leadership education,
3) nature, eco and adventure tourism, and
4) sustainable tourism management. 

The sustainable tourism management option aims to equip students with the skills to effectively plan, develop, and manage nature-based tourism across the globe in collaboration with communities, non-governmental organizations, and governments. Nature-based tourism refers to when visitors travel to a destination to experience and enjoy nature. Students in sustainable tourism management will learn and focus on these things:

  • Sustainability– learn about the triple bottom line (social, environmental, economic)
  • Natural Resources– learn about the relationship between visitors and ecology
  • Business and Management– learn how to apply the best practices
  • Monitoring and assessment tools– learn how to create and interpret data
  • Physical and Social Sciences– learn how multiple disciplines work together
  • Equity– learn about the cultural resources and complex histories of communities
  • And more!

Upon completing the program, graduates can follow various career paths, working in either the public or private sector. Below are just a few examples of agencies and positions of what someone with a sustainable tourism management degree could pursue:

  • US Forest Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • National Park Service
  • Naturalist positions
  • Resource planner
  • Tourism specialists

For more information, check out the College of Forestry advising guide!

In 2022, a staggering $13.9 billion was generated by Oregon’s travel and tourism industry. This industry not only brings immense revenue but also offers over 117,000 jobs to Oregonians, as reported by Travel Oregon

So, how exactly does tourism thrive in the state? The following three organizations are important to tourism in Oregon: Travel Oregon, the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, and the Oregon Destination Association. 

Travel Oregon serves as the official tourism destination marketing organization (DMO) for the state. With a mission to encourage economic growth and enhance the quality of life in Oregon, this agency focuses on promoting tourism on a statewide level. Travel Oregon partners with Oregon’s regional and local DMOs across the state to effectively execute their strategies for success in Oregon.

The Oregon Destination Association (ODA) serves as a membership association that creates a statewide network of regional and local DMOs. ODA acts as a unifying force, through connecting tourism-related businesses and services with not only each other but entities such as Travel Oregon and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. As a leading voice of the tourism industry in Oregon, ODA fosters collaboration and serves as a platform for education, leadership development, and industry advocacy. 

The Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association (ORLA) is the primary business association representing the food service and lodging sector in Oregon. ORLA advocates for over 10,000 foodservice locations and more than 2,400 lodging establishments in the state, with over 3,000 members. ORLA plays a pivotal role in protecting, improving, and promoting hospitality in Oregon. 

Oregon’s tourism industry owes much of its success to the collaborative efforts of key organizations such as Travel Oregon, the Oregon Destination Association (ODA), and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA). 

These organizations work to promote Oregon as a premier travel destination, foster industry partnerships, advocate for the interests of tourism-related businesses, and enhance the overall visitor experience. As the state continues to attract travelers from around the world, these organizations will remain crucial in shaping and sustaining Oregon’s tourism industry. 

Do you work with Extension agents or want to learn more about Extension supported tourism projects from across the country. Join the National Extension Tourism Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 24-27, 2023!

This year the NET Conference will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the first time. Wisconsin is known as a prime agritourism destination and is situated near two great lakes.

The theme of the conference is “Envisioning the Future of Extension in Tourism” and will focus on social justice issues, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other related tourism topics. The NET conference encourages Extension professionals, academic faculty, industry professionals, students, and people working in tourism and recreation to join. 

Register here: