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Tourism and Special Events

Tourism and Special Events is one of three concentrations in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism at Radford University. Upon successful completion of the program, you can find employment in resorts, municipal parks and recreation systems, convention and visitors bureaus, tourism marketing organizations, youth services nonprofit agencies, destination management organizations, cruise ships and private agencies.


Tourism and Special Events Concentration (12 credits)

In addition to the core curriculum and major requirements, students wishing to complete the tourism and special events concentration must complete the following:

12 credits of Principle Courses:

One 3-credit Principle Course (above) at RU and 9 credits from:

  • RCPT 480 - Global Exchange in Recreation, Parks and Tourism
  • RCPT 481 - Tourism Institute

Real-World Practice

All courses in the tourism and special events concentration incorporate “real world” practice. Practitioners visit classes to share their expertise and experience in the field. An opportunity for a four-week field course in locations such as the Bahamas, Florida Keys and France are also offered. These courses are aimed at exposing students to international tourism, island resort experiences and water-based adventure travel with sailing, snorkeling, diving and cruise ship experiences. Those taking RCPT 431, Managing Travel Resources, visit regional attractions and learn from managers and owners the challenges of operating a tourism establishment. Courses in tourism marketing, commercial recreation, and special event management, and sustainable tourism are also available.

Accreditation and Exams

Core degree requirements are accredited by the National Recreation and Park Association. Upon graduation, all students are qualified to take the Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP) examination. Courses in advanced recreation administration and ethical issues are also available for those interested in a career in recreation management.


Students are encouraged to network with leaders in their interest areas through conferences and professional development opportunities. The department supports student attendance at Virginia Recreation and Parks Association events and the National Recreation and Park Association annual congress. Tourism students are encouraged to network through Virginia Tourism Corporation events and regional destination management organizations.

Tourism Resource Lab

Students also work with the Tourism Resource Lab, designed to facilitate community and economic development opportunities throughout the areas such as the Appalachian region and island communities- both the Bahamas and Florida Keys. Specifically, the Tourism Resource Lab: is a partner in regional research projects including community tourism assessments and evaluations; provides students with research materials and equipment; promotes regional tourism attractions; provides resource materials for area tourism professionals; develops and facilitates training programs for regional tourism industry employees; and offers heritage interpretation programs for community members.

International Tourism

Those interested in international tourism can attend one or two semesters at Blaise Pascal University in Vichy, France. Courses are taught entirely in English and enable students to learn the French language and culture while studying international business. Courses transfer directly to Radford University and can be used toward their undergraduate degree and a degree in international business with French from Blaise Pascal University.