Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program (STAMP)

Crowded tourist destination
Megan Epler Wood

It is becoming increasingly essential that we move beyond managing tourism demand and bring a whole new generation of management skills to the question of managing tourism’s impacts on global climate and fragile tourism assets, such as water, global heritage, biodiversity and protected areas worldwide. Megan EplerWood, Managing Director, STAMP

The Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program (STAMP) is developing a global knowledge base, online professional and student training, as well as the research and technical support for destinations to more effectively manage tourism assets in the face of endemic poverty, ecosystem degradation, climate change and public health crises. STAMP supports applied research and engagement to develop sustainable tourism models which incorporate the cost of managing vital destination assets in the development of all sectors of the tourism economy.

Launched in 2017 in partnership with EplerWood International (EWI), STAMP is committed to engaging the tourism industry to ensure it protects the environmental and social assets on which the industry depends – the reasoning for which is articulated in Destinations at Risk: The Invisible Burden, a report published in 2019, with support from the Travel Foundation

Sustainable Tourism on a Changing Planet eCornell Keynote Webinar Series

Our Earth is increasingly challenged by the impacts of human industry which have been accumulating since the dawn of the Industrial Age. One transformative change has been the growth of travel into a global, trillion-dollar industry, transporting and hosting visitors across national boundaries to enjoy the planet’s most exciting cultural and natural attractions.

Episode One: The Challenges of Transformation in a Global Industry

What you’ll learn:

  • What will be necessary to achieve a more balanced and sustainable tourism economy in the next 20 years
  • How data-oriented management systems will improve economic, environmental, and social impacts to address the real risks faced by some of the most important places on Earth
  • The ways in which tourism can provide social and economic benefits across its supply chain
  • How climate change will impact tourism destinations across the globe
  • Why natural and social capital are as important as financial capital
  • How to adopt a sustainable mindset


Episode Two: Creating Inclusive Destinations with Social Equity

What you’ll learn:

  • The ways in which shared value destinations are promoting social equity and the fair distribution of tourism revenue
  • How sustainable livelihoods and land equity can be woven into the DNA of tourism destinations
  • The efforts of conservation leaders to increase community benefits around conservation areas


Episode Three: Destination Management in a Carbon-Constrained World

What you’ll learn:

  • Insight into whether countries are accounting for carbon emissions as part of their tourism planning programs
  • What we can learn from the impacts experienced in 2019, when the word “overtourism” became synonymous with poor tourism planning and overly rapid growth
  • The current and future roles of destination management organizations (DMOs) in managing tourism growth
  • Examples of DMOs working with smart city and infrastructure planners to determine how to lower impacts and manage growth


Episode Four: The Skills Required to Future-Proof Tourism Destinations

The destination management and business community must transform their decision-making structures and begin to use trained experts who can guide the process of evaluating how the industry and government can work together to address the impacts of climate change, social equity issues, and the management of vital historic and cultural treasures. These new skills will maintain value, lessen impacts, and protect national assets for both people and the planet.

  • Which skills have been overemphasized in the travel and tourism community to date
  • The new skills that will be required to address climate change, global inequities, habitat loss, and other tourism impacts on destinations
  • How new systems of accounting are essential to tourism economies to review not only positive economic impacts but also total costs of management
  • Why systematic tools to track and monitor impacts will be required to address local needs and prepare for major new markets seeking clear evidence of climate action and destination protection
  • Why using science-based social and environmental accounting can help deliver future-proofed destinations
  • How updated management design for destinations can provide both advanced social equity and top-rated environmental response systems

Watch HERE

Publications and Guidance Documents

Destinations at Risk: The Invisible Burden of Tourism

A commissioned report which changed the global view of how destinations must manage their hidden costs, Destinations at Risk, The Invisible Burden of Tourism set out the challenge to tourism destination managers worldwide to better manage and protect vital destination assets. Published in 2019 with support from The Travel Foundation, the report summarized the risks brought about by tourism’s growing pressure on ecosystems, cultural wonders, and community life and how those risks weaken the tourism industry’s economic foundation over time.

The report uncovers root causes of problems facing the industry and offers logical and integrated analysis of why it is transpiring and delivers action strategies to enable change. It concludes with a call to action to destination managers to sit at the new nexus between data on tourism demand and the supply of resources to support the tourism economy.

Learn more about the invisible burden of tourism in this animated infographic.


STAMP Industry-Sponsored Projects

STAMP offers public and private organizations in the travel and tourism sector short-term consulting engagements focused on a discrete organizational business challenge rooted in an environmental or social context. Leveraging Cornell graduate students, past teams have worked on projects in Barbados, Belize, Colombia, Palau and the US focused on issues such as strategic impact assessment, business model development, branding strategy, financial analysis, and more. In some cases partner organizations have also been involved such as Sustainable Travel International and the Tourism Area Protected Specialist Group (TAPAs).

To inquire about engaging on a project, email us

STAMP Research Programs, Forums, and Destination Technical Support

STAMP designs research programs which benefit destinations, facilitate local climate action planning, and support local application of the STAMP certificate training program on Sustainable Tourism Destination Management (Link Above).

STAMP seeks to bring the highest quality of research, governmental leadership, and science-based approaches to destination management. We organize research forums at Cornell’s outstanding campus facilities both in Ithaca, NY and New York City; invite global leaders in sustainable tourism to speak and interact with faculty and students; and offer webinars worldwide with our partners.  Our team attends key forums online and in person, including the Glasgow COP 26 Climate Summit.

Interest in supporting or getting involved in STAMP research programs should be directed to

Mark Milstein Headshot

STAMP has allowed EplerWood International and the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise to collaborate on travel and tourism business needs in the future. Our goal is to create practical, research-based tools to guide investment in maintaining the competitive value of critical destination assets- both natural and social — to assure long-term value for the industry. Dr. Mark Milstein, Clinical Professor of Management & Director, Cornell Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise

Cornell STAMP Presents Policy Case Study in Rwanda for Leaders & Educators To Debate & Define Next Generation Policies

October 26, 2023, The Cornell Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program (STAMP) leads a workshop on tourism and conservation policies for African leaders and professors in Kigali, Rwanda on October 31, 2023 at the African Leadership University (ALU). The case was written by Mark Milstein, Megan Epler Wood, & O’Shannon Burns and will be published in 2024.

Megan Epler Wood, Managing Director of the Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program (STAMP), at the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, at the SC Johnson College of Business states,

“Cornell STAMP has completed research for a case study on the policy mechanisms which led to creating a high value, low volume national tourism economy in Rwanda. The balance between tourism and conservation has been maintained via government policies, and the mountain gorilla population of Rwanda has benefited from these policies increasing to a new population high of over 600–due to the many individuals, NGOs, and businesses that contributed.”

“Mountain gorillas are a rare conservation success story that demonstrates tourism’s positive contribution to conservation,” states senior author, Cornell Clinical Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, Mark Milstein. The case will include a short overview of Rwandan history, the Rwanda Development Board, and tourism in Rwanda as well as the role investments play in local communities, the challenges of conservation tourism and the new Conservation Company concept.

This invitation-only workshop precedes the World Travel and Tourism Council Summit, in Kigali, Rwanda between November 1-3, which Cornell STAMP and SC Johnson College of Business leaders will attend as part of their work on the Hanga Ahazaza grant program which provided educational training for professionals in the hospitality and tourism sectors. The case research and hospitality training program were made possible with support from the Mastercard Foundation.

Case and Workshop for Rwandan Educational Leaders on Conservation and Tourism Policy

The Rwandan government works to advance and redesign current policy mechanisms to meet the demands of the 21st century. To develop the case, the Cornell STAMP program reviewed and interviewed national, regional and local stakeholders to understand their thoughts on current and future policies that impact conservation and tourism throughout the country.

Cornell STAMP aims to provide training and  support to up-and-coming hospitality leaders as they manage the tension between tourism and conservation. Therefore, this case is designed as an educational tool to be used by professors in educational institutions throughout Africa and the world. Thirty professors from Rwandan institutions will convene for the workshop in Kigali to enhance their research and teaching programs in sustainable tourism, biodiversity conservation, park management and other business and leadership disciplines. The workshop will equip local educators to use the business case study method, which immerses students in real world decision-making processes.


O’Shannon Burns

Program Manager

Cornell STAMP