Sustainable Touris

With the explosion of tourism into western gateway and natural amenity regions (GNARs), communities have benefitted from the tourism sector of the economy but have also faced unprecedented pressures on their existing resources and infrastructure. Sustainable tourism is a form of environmentally and socially responsible travel that allows communities to both benefit economically from natural resources as well as maintain and improve these areas, thus maximizing the advantages of tourism while reducing its negative impacts. Particularly relevant to GNAR communities is ecotourism, which is a subset of sustainable tourism that focuses on natural areas that has a strong potential for marketability.

This page provides resources, tools, and case studies that may be helpful to GNAR communities interested in creating plans for more sustainable tourism. Many of the resources focus on park management of tourists, but may still hold important concepts for GNAR communities to consider and understand.

Think we're missing something or have feedback for us? Please reach out to liz.sodja@usu.edu.

Resources & Tools








Research & Case Studies


Sustainable Tourism in the USA: A Comparative Look at the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria

This study applies a set of 37 criteria from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council on standards for tourism businesses to 13 statewide certification programs for sustainable tourism. The results indicated that some of these international criteria are not applicable or emphasized in US states,  resulting in a need for additional education, training, and access to resources.

Sustainable Tourism Planning and Transportation in Texas

This document analyzes the problems facing three gateway communities in Texas from tourism and examines potential solutions to these issues through sustainable tourism, emphasizing in transportation. The study also emphasizes the importance of connecting tourism providers/businesses to host communities to establish sustainable tourism practices and activities

Sustainable ecotourism management and visitor experiences: managing conflicting perspectives in Rocky Mountain National Park, USA

This study focuses on sustainable ecotourism management and visitor experiences in Rocky Mountain National Park from both a management and service provider / private operator perspective. While results showed an agreement on the value of ecotourism and its positive impacts, the study provides an insight to how management can be out of sync with their communities on sub-issues carrying capacity, horse use, and visitor conflict.