Online Sustainable Tourism Master’s Degree


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Tourism makes up 9 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product and produces one in 11 jobs, according to the World Tourism Organization. Environmental issues, however, are threatening to devastate some of the world’s most popular destinations. A chief concern among both private and public sectors in the tourism industry is how to protect these natural resources while still being economically profitable.

An online master’s degree in sustainable tourism will teach students how to balance business and environmental concerns to make effective decisions that will mutually benefit the community and the economy.

Course Work

Example courses
Principles of tourism
Environmental systems and sustainability
Sustainable society destination planning
Quantitative methods in geography
Global tourism policy

Core course work for an online sustainable tourism master’s degree is based off of the three pillars of the sustainable tourism industry: economic, environmental and social viability.

Students complete foundational course work in environmental policy, business and science. Other courses may include natural resource management, social statistics and sustainable tourism management. In most programs, students complete a thesis or research capstone project.

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Job Outlook

Median salaries*
Urban and regional planner $52,000
Sustainability consultant $55,500
Lobbyist $71,000
Sustainability manager $79,000


Going “green” isn’t just a food and diet trend anymore, but a critical need in order to save the environment. As a result, millions of sustainable jobs are being created to fill the gap, both within and outside of the tourism industry. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report found that green jobs account for nearly 3 percent of all employment and about 170,000 of these jobs were created in the private sector between 2010 and 2011 alone.

An online master’s degree in sustainable tourism can be applied to a wide range of jobs within both the private and the public sector. While some graduates may find jobs working directly within the tourism industry, others may find employment through the education, finance and science industries. Construction and manufacturing account for the largest percentage of green jobs, according to the BLS. Median salaries range from about $52,000 for urban and regional planners to around $79,000 for sustainability managers, according to PayScale, an online salary database.

Professionals looking to network with other ecotourism professionals can become a member of The International Ecotourism Society, a professional organization dedicated to uniting conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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