Recreation, Parks and Tourism 481

RCPT 481: Tourism Institute

Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

Credit Hours: (9) Lectures, labs and field trips integrated into an experiential, primarily off-campus, course

An overview of the field of tourism, with emphasis placed on tourism development, destination management/marketing organizations, and the social and environmental issues that impact management policy. This course involves networking with professionals, touring facilities, and practical field experiences in areas such as tourism marketing, commercial recreation operations, customer service, and government operations.

Detailed Description of Course

Radford University's Tourism Institute is a four-week intensive course, offered in the summer term, which uses a regional destination as its teaching environment. The course is designed to utilize experiential learning to promote the development of an individual's leadership skills and ability to work within a group. The Tourism Institute exposes its participants to a variety of experiential activities while developing an understanding of tourism development and related economic development.

Tourism Institute incorporates a broad overview of the field of tourism. Emphasis is placed on tourism development, destination management organizations, commercial and public agencies and the social and environmental issues that influence tourism management. After being exposed to a variety of examples, students are given the opportunity to develop their own tourism plans.
The Tourism Institute plus 3 hours from available tourism and special event courses will complete the Tourism and Special Events concentration. The Tourism Institute is equivalent to (but not the same as) RCPT 350, 431, and 435; however Tourism Institute does not preclude one from taking these courses.

Week 1: Radford University campus
    Overview of tourism industries
        Tourism development policy
        Destination management organizations (DMOs)
        Sustainable tourism
        Mass tourism

Weeks 2 and 3: Off-campus destination
Destinations will rotate annually. Examples of destinations include: Myrtle Beach, SC; Branson, MO; Pigeon Forge, TN; Sun Coast, FL; North Little Rock, AR
Introduction to attractions, events, commercial operations, sustainable practices and mass tourism at the destination        
Students will meet with local business owners, tourism operators, government representatives, and other tourism professionals; participate in events; volunteer at attractions; develop sustainable concepts and other tourism development policies

Week 4: Radford University campus
    Reflection projects including:
Multi-media presentations for other RCPT majors
Written reports, including policy, marketing, and management recommendations for attractions visited.

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Tourism Institute will be a primarily experiential course. While in the field, students will hear from many professionals (guest speakers). Students will be responsible for journaling reflections on their experiences. The journal entries will be useful as they develop presentations and reports after the destination experiences.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this course, the student will be able to...
a.    Objectively analyze positive and negative tourism experiences
b.    Understand the importance of sustainable tourism development
c.    Design constructive tourism policies
d.    Practice successful customer service

Assessment Measures
Students will be evaluated using peer and instructor assessment, projects, and written reports.

Other Course Information


Review and Approval

March, 2010