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California Launches First Handbook on Sustainable Tourism

SDSU hospitality and tourism professor Jess Ponting co-authors handbook
California's new online handbook provides businesses with introduction to sustainable tourism and best practice examples
California's new online handbook provides businesses with introduction to sustainable tourism and best practice examples

Going green is now easier than ever for the California tourism industry, as the state launched its first ever handbook on sustainable tourism. The California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC), acknowledging San Diego State University’s successful sustainable tourism program, commissioned SDSU professor Jess Ponting and tourism consultant Dr. Sandra Ponting to head the project.

The handbook is an online resource written in easy-to-follow language. Based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria, it provides a broad, user-friendly introduction to sustainable tourism principles and provides suggestions and examples of how they can be implemented in California.

Successful program lends a hand

Ponting was chosen to work on the handbook after he and Vinod Sasidharan, who founded SDSU’s sustainable tourism program, attended a CTTC sustainable tourism workshop in Sacramento earlier this year.

“What became obvious at the workshop was a belief in the need for sustainable tourism in California, but a lack of understanding as to how this might be achieved,” said Ponting. “The CTTC asked us to address this by producing an accessible introduction to sustainable tourism. I think it’s a testament to SDSU’s sustainable tourism program that we were commissioned to produce this, the first of its kind in California.”

Sustainable tourism destination

The handbook comes at a critical time, as sustainable tourism becomes of greater importance, especially within California. The state is the ideal destination for sustainable tourism, with a range of innovations and initiatives making it easier for travelers to take eco-friendly trips. California residents are also becoming more proactive about maintaining a sustainable lifestyle, a goal that the state hopes to make easier by providing resources such as the handbook.

“The handbook puts us all on the same page in terms of understanding what is meant by sustainable tourism and provides a way forward for businesses wanting to become more sustainable,” said Ponting. 

Handbook already in use

The handbook on sustainable tourism has already been adopted by SDSU's School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) as an introduction to sustainable tourism for hospitality students. It will also be a required component for HTM student interns and course work assignments. In SDSU’s recreation program the handbook has been widely adopted as the first point of entry into the world of sustainability for students.

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