Sustainable Tourism for Native Nations and Communities Certificate

Build your long-term sustainable tourism development plan

Begins Spring 2023
March 13 – April 28, 2023

Last day to register and submit fee: March 6, 2023

For-credit registration begins:  September 27, 2022

The purpose of the online Sustainable Tourism for Native Nations and Communities Certificate (STC) is to provide participants with an overview of sustainable tourism and how it can be incorporated into their community’s tourism planning and development. The certificate will provide sustainable tourism curriculum with a specific emphasis on American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian tourism efforts offered both as a professional development option and a university credit option.

The certificate is offered through the Arizona State University Center for Sustainable Tourism housed in the School of Community Resources and Development. The Center for Sustainable Tourism and its affiliated partners, faculty, and students seek to examine the role and contribution of tourism in the social, cultural, environmental, and economic well-being of communities. The Center’s research, education, and development activities focus on long-term, system-wide, sustainable strategies, and co-created solutions for community and tourism development. To learn more about the Center, click here.


The STC program will consist of seven modules plus an introductory module and a final project offered over a seven and half-week period, one module per week. Each module will require five to six hours of effort each week for seven weeks, two of which will be general content in class, will include a case study or other Tribal specific content offered in a variety of formats, and will include self-guided reading and assignments. Students enrolled in the program for credit will be required to complete a final project; the final project is optional for those enrolled as professional development. The course will be offered as pass/fail for both professional development and for-credit students.

The courses are designed to be progressive.  Modules include:

Introduction to the Program

An overview of the course, its requirements, and your faculty.

Module 1: Introduction to Sustainable Tourism

This module provides students with the foundations for understanding sustainable tourism. It introduces key terms, major actors, and current global contexts.  Students will look at how sustainable tourism is defined; what it means; and how key concepts of sustainability including trade-offs, systems dynamics (unintended consequences and cascading effects), long term development and stakeholder collaboration and participation apply to sustainable tourism.

Module 2: Tourism and Biodiversity

Protected areas (e.g., national parks) where nature-based tourism often occurs provide an array of benefits, including biodiversity protection, economic advancement of near-park communities, and opportunities for citizens to recreate and continue their connections with the natural environment. This module will help students identify and understand alternative strategies to mitigate and prevent environmental, cultural, and social impacts often associated with traditional forms of tourism in and around protected areas.

Module 3: Inclusive and Responsible Tourism

There has been increasing focus on inclusivity and diversity in tourism. This module will start with introducing the concepts of inclusive and responsible tourism and then discuss these notions in the context of agro-tourism and lifestyle entrepreneurs and share some notable examples/case studies.

Module 4: Marketing and Social Media

Marketing is a critical component of tourism development. It allows a community to match its tourism resources with the right visitors. In this module students will learn basic marketing concepts and components of a marketing plan including the importance and effective use of social media.

Modules 5 and 6: Sustainable Destination Planning, Development and Management (linked modules)

Sustainable tourism is not possible without thoughtful planning, development and management. This linked two-module sequence will provide students an overview of sustainable tourism planning, development and management which are all necessary for a robust sustainable tourism sector. The module will include community tourism assessment tools student can use to begin the planning process.

Module 7: Sustainable Tourism Strategic Plans

Students will be introduced to at least three sustainable tourism plans and learn about how to start to create a plan themselves.

Final Project: Students taking the class for credit will do a final project with a few options to choose from. The project is optional for professional development students.

Upon successful completion of the program, participants will receive a certificate of completion.


Certificate fees

The cost for the certificate is $2,450 for AIANTA members and $2,500 for non-members.

There is a 10% discount for three or more participants from the same organization.


Taking the program for university credit

Participants may take the class for one credit issued by ASU. Program participants seeking credit must apply to ASU as an undergraduate non-degree seeking student through ASU Online if not current ASU students. This requires a fee and will require submission of high school transcripts. For more information about nondegree students, click here. It will then require you to register for the class through ASU Online. The class name is TDM 294 Sustainable Tourism for Native Nations and Communities line number. To search for the class, click here. Your certificate fee will be paid to the Center for Sustainable Tourism and we will forward payment for credit to the university.


Please pay particular attention to the stipulations for payment-there is a deadline and once you have submitted payment you are committed. We cannot process refunds. If you register for credit you are also committed to receiving a grade that will be on your ASU transcript. Because we are locked in to the university time-line for classes, the certificate must be completed within the specified dates.

More Information

For more information, contact Bianca Mitchell at or 505-724-3592