Sustainable Tourism Asset Management Program (STAMP)

Crowded tourist destination

“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 Destination Management Online Program

(Launching Fall 2022)

STAMP is creating an 8-module online program on Sustainable Tourism Destination Management for professionals and students. The program will be available through eCornell starting Fall 2022 and is being produced in partnership with the Travel Foundation, with funding support from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

The program will include award-winning faculty and practitioners who will share destination management expertise from across the globe on urgent themes including climate change and overtourism.  Participants will gain access to worksheets and downloadable tools to apply directly in professional settings, to informative targeted readings; graphics and animation to demonstrate complex issues; and research spotlights from top experts on cutting-edge destination management issues.

Every student who seeks to complete the program will undertake exercises that apply practical tools to real-world scenarios and test student’s comprehension on a range of key concepts.  Students who pass the course will be able to thoroughly evaluate the status of vital destination assets upon which tourism depends and make holistic recommendations that are informed by community and environmental needs, in addition to market demand.

The program modules include:

  • Tourism Industry Overview
  • The Invisible Burden of Tourism: Measuring Unaccounted for Impacts
  • Managing the Invisible Burden of Tourism
  • Managing Climate Impacts of Tourism
  • Defining and Achieving Key Economic Development Goals
  • Equitable and Inclusive Management of Tourism Shared Assets
  • Developing Dedicated Destination Management Capacity
  • Developing Long-Term Destination Management Plans

Students enrolled in this professional certificate will learn:

  • How the global tourism economy is structured, the role of destinations in securing long-term value, and the absence of efficient sustainable destination management programs.
  • Which social and environmental impacts cause the “Invisible Burden of Tourism” on destinations and how to begin to measure these impacts.
  • How to document water, waste, energy and natural capital management needs for the long-term well-being of residents and visitors, as well as review key components of a sustainable finance strategy.
  • How to protect a destination’s natural and cultural capital via participatory master planning and introduce assessments to identify how tourism can support essential economic development goals that secure economic health and achieve long-term benefits to local societies.
  • How to design a climate action plan for a tourism destination that is linked to science-based targets, local climate planning, and broader destination management goals.
  • How to track essential economic development goals that secure long-term economic health and develop systems to retain destination value in the long term.
  • Methods to facilitate an inclusive process where communities co-develop positive economic outcomes from tourism in a range of destination development settings which reach a broad range of society.
  • Transform destination governance by promoting public-private partnerships, data-driven decision making, and innovative financing to increase financial benefits from tourism, protect destination assets, and allow the private sector to benefit from sustainable destination management.
  • How to synthesize sustainable destination management tools and concepts to create a holistic destination management plan and provide opportunities to apply them to critical real-life case studies from the tourism sector

To receive upcoming announcements about the program, include information on launch dates, costs, scholarship support opportunities, and enrollment click here

To get on the list for the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise’s newsletter click 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

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

“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