Tourism Advising Guide

If you are a Recreation Management and Leadership major or are applying to the program and would like to have tourism as an emphasis area, the following information should help you with course planning. Make sure to keep in touch with an advisor in the program to insure that all program requirements are being met. An advisor can also be an important resource for course, fieldwork, and internship planning.

Employment in Tourism

Professional positions in tourism are varied and broad in scope. There are jobs in both "Inbound Tourism" (hosting visitors) and "Outbound Tourism" (taking people other places). 

Recreation Courses

The following two electives are available as part of your required course work:

  • Phase II: Recr 379 Tourism Planning and Development
  • Phase IV: Recr 479 Ecotourism: Principles and Practices

Other ways within the program that you can further focus in the area of tourism:

  • Whenever possible, choose topics for projects and papers that have relevance and/or application in tourism.
  • Seek an internship that is in the area of tourism that you are interested in
  • Seek summer employment in tourism
  • Do some of your 240 required fieldwork hours in a tourism-related organization
  • Select support area courses wisely

Support Area

The Recreation Management and Leadership Program requires the completion of a 25 credit hour "support area," a grouping of varied courses to strengthen your knowledge base related to tourism. Support area courses may be taken from a variety of departments, but must be approved by a Recreation advisor. A related minor (or second major) would fulfill the support area requirement. Any of the following minors would be a good complement for recreation/tourism:

  • International Studies (listed under Interdisciplinary Programs in the WWU Catalog)
  • Business Administration
  • American Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Communication
  • Sociology
  • Geography
  • Environmental Education

Support Area Course Selection

Although your support area is best designed to meet your individual needs and interests, the following recommendations should help with your selection of courses. Keep in mind that support area courses should be predominantly upper division, although there are select courses at the 200 level that are acceptable.

A list of some recommended courses is provided below to help you get started with course planning. THIS IS NOT AN INCLUSIVE LIST, and I encourage you research other classes that might apply to your interests as courses change with visiting faculty and fluctuations in department resources. Make sure to get the classes approved for your support area before making final plans.

In general, the following departments offer courses with a clear link to the study of tourism: Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Business, Communications, American Cultural Studies, Sociology, and Fairhaven College.

Some classes have prerequisites; these are not listed below.

Courses in Tourism

These are not offered on a regular basis; check the time schedule for availability.

  • Anth 417G: The Anthropology of Tourism
  • A/Hi 431: Popular Culture, Tourism and Leisure
  • ESTU 440: Ecotourism and Sustainable Development

Related Courses

  • AMST 301 Comparative Cultural Studies


  • COMM 224 Small Group Process
  • COMM 318 Professional Communications
  • COMM 325 Introduction to Intercultural Communications
  • COMM 327 Interpersonal Communications


  • ESTU 303 Human Ecology
  • ESTU 305 Environmental History and Ethics
  • ESTU 371 Environmental Education
  • ESTU 385 Environmental Sociology


  • FAIR 242 The Art of Play: Reclaiming imagination and spontaneity for the adult
  • FAIR 344 Cross-Cultural Psychology


  • GEOG 209 Geography and World Affairs
  • GEOG 351 Map Reading and Analysis
  • GEOL 214 Environmental Geology


  • MIS 220 Intro: Business Computer Systems
  • MIS 304 Fundamentals of Web Development


  • MGMT 319 Business Communications
  • MGMT 311 Introduction to Management and Organizational Behavior
  • MGMT 482 Business and its Environment


  • MKTG 380 Principles of Marketing


  • PLSC 271 Introduction to International Relations


In addition:

  • Second-year language classes can count toward the support area requirement
  • Study abroad courses can often count toward the support area requirement
  • Many departments, especially Fairhaven College, have courses where the specific topics change each year. Topics in these variable courses are sometimes related to tourism and can be a good option for the support area. Check the time schedule rather than the course catalog for possibilities.


Recr 473 (15 credits) OR Recr 472 (12 credits) + Recr 471 (3 credits)

One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of a tourism focus is finding and securing a substantial internship. The problem is not that they are hard to find, but rather that the field is so broad (and interesting), that narrowing your focus to conduct a search is sometimes difficult. Here are some general steps to follow:

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with internship requirements (website)

Step 2: Define your interest by area (guiding, ecolodge, CVB, event planning) or location (Whatcom County, Bolivia, anywhere warm, San Diego to live with my aunt/uncle)

Step 3: Develop a resume and template cover letter

Step 4: Write internship goals

Step 5: Inquire about past internships

Step 6: Use faculty, internet, and guide books to identify possible organizations, facilities, businesses, communities, or programs that match your goals/interests

Step 7: Familiarize yourself with their programs and/or services

Step 8: Make an initial contact by e-mail or phone; follow-up 1-3 weeks later

Step 9: Negotiate terms, develop an internship description, and complete the Internship Agreement Form

Tourism Websites: Internships/Jobs

The following list is designed to help you get started with your tourism internship search. You should work closely with your faculty advisor to identify ways to explore your particular interests and restrictions.

Previous Internships

This is just a sampling of substantial and successful internships.


Ecolodges/Small Resorts

Ecotourism Projects

Tour Companies

Convention and Visitor Bureaus