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Tourism Management

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Degree Overview Open Accordion

CSU's online master's in tourism management helps you develop your business management acumen, enhance your knowledge of industry practices, and understand the social and environmental impacts of global tourism — so you can live the lifestyle you love while working to create positive experiences for others.

Global events, an evolving market, and new technology have all changed the way people engage in tourism activities. As a result, more consumers now seek regional experiences with greater personalization and a focus on sustainable, meaningful, and authentic experiences.

Start building the industry-specific knowledge you need to become a well-rounded leader in a tourism management role.

Learn a whole-system approach

Gain foundational skills as you study a holistic, integrated approach to sustainable tourism management. Explore technological and strategic business solutions that can help you operate a more agile, streamlined operation. Investigate the social and environmental impacts of this evolving industry as you learn to balance the ethical treatment of people and resources while running a profitable venture.

Throughout this master’s program, you will learn:

  • Financial management processes and tools
  • Effective marketing and communication strategies
  • How to use data to gain insight and guide business decisions
  • How to strategically and ethically manage both people and resources

Customize your education with a related graduate certificate

As a student in this program, you may choose to replace up to six credits with courses in Ski Area Management or Adventure Tourism to gain specialized knowledge. Speak with your academic advisor to learn more.

Requirements and Curriculum Open Accordion


The Master of Tourism Management requires completion of 30 credits, with 26 credits in the required courses and a minimum of four credits of directed business electives. This is a coursework-only degree and does not require completion of a thesis.

It is suggested that NRRT 600 be taken in the first or second semester. All courses are eight weeks with some courses offered the first part of a semester and others in the second part of a semester.

Required courses (26 credits)

If you are interested in learning more about tourism in the ski industry, you may substitute some of this program's required courses with ski area management courses. The following options are available:

Take: In place of:
NRRT 523 – Strategic Ski Area Marketing and Management NRRT 655 – Tourism Marketing Concepts and Applications
NRRT 524 – Ski Area Finance and Investment NRRT 650 – Financial Management in Tourism

A third ski area management course of your choice may serve as an elective.

Directed Electives (4 credits)

Students can take the electives listed below or other electives may be approved by an advisor.

Course Descriptions Open Accordion
NRRT 600 – Tourism Industry Concepts and Practices

This course will help improve your understanding of tourism industry concepts, applications, processes, and practices across multiple domains of the industry. The focus is on principles for creating experiences in the experience economy and their implication on the supply and demand components of the industry.

Course objectives:

  • To increase awareness of the multi-layered essence of the tourism phenomena
  • To improve understanding of main principles for developing tourism experiences
  • To develop skills of how to base decision-making processes in the tourism industry on theoretical foundations and a systemic approach
  • To develop awareness of how human motivations and environment influence industry trends
NRRT 601 – Quantitative Analysis in Tourism I

This course will help you understand statistical concepts and applications of decision methods in tourism. Emphasis is placed on understanding data manipulation techniques and what statistics are appropriate for addressing applied decision-making problems.

Course objectives:

  • To provide an overview of the major statistical techniques used by tourism researchers
  • To provide guidelines for understanding what types of statistical techniques are appropriate for analyzing selected types of tourism research questions
  • To learn how to conduct data analysis using IBM SPSS (i.e., Statistical Package for the Social Sciences)
  • To provide experience interpreting SPSS computer printouts and constructing data tables/figures for communicating with technical and non–technical audiences
  • To provide assistance and experience in critically evaluating statistical analyses presented in published tourism literature
NRRT 602 – Quantitative Analysis in Tourism II

In this course, you will explore sources and applications of data for decision-making and solutions in tourism using both domestic and international resources.

Course objectives:

  • Students will analyze the quantitative and qualitative issues and approaches to decision making in tourism.
  • Learners will identify and prioritize quantitative and qualitative resources that are employed in the tourism industry.
  • Learners will be able to use quantitative and qualitative tourism resources and applications as they apply to regions and countries throughout the world.
NRRT 610 – Natural Resource Management and Tourism

This course will help you understand the impact and dependence on natural resources the tourism industry has on a local, regional, and global scale. The potential for tourism growth, diversification, and sustainability at any destination is linked to how natural resources are currently being used locally and globally, and potential changes in land, sea, and natural resource use and condition. Natural resource risks must be taken into consideration for tourism planning.

Students will gain the understanding of:

  • the dependence of tourism on sustainable natural resource management,
  • the types and extent of tourism impacts on natural resources,
  • the impacts of poor natural resource stewardship and climate change on tourism activities and destinations,
  • methods for reducing the ecological footprint of tourism activities and destinations, and
  • methods for increasing tourism's contribution to natural resource conservation and management and improving human welfare and livelihoods.
NRRT 615 – Sustainable Tourism Development Foundations

This course is designed to provide an understanding of sustainable tourism development. Theory, practice, history, terminology, and issues in sustainable tourism planning and management will be examined in the context of sustainable livelihoods. Additionally, a comprehensive survey of sustainable tourism components, including motives and behaviors of tourists, natural resources as attractions and destinations, social and resource responsibility, and policies and principles for sustainability will be covered.

Students will be able to:

  • synthesize the definitions, terminology, and concepts of sustainable tourism and how it relates to tourism, livelihoods, and community development via course essays and online discussions;
  • understand the history and development of natural resource attractions and demand for recreation and tourism opportunities at such destinations;
  • identify impacts associated with multiple uses of natural resources for tourism development and apply intervention strategies to mediate the impacts identified;
  • learn and apply planning and management guidelines for sustainable practice in tourism development from a local, national, and international perspective; and
  • learn, apply, and discuss ethics (codes of conduct, compliance, and eco-labeling) in sustainable tourism development for policy development.
NRRT 625 – Communication/Conflict Management in Tourism

This course will improve your understanding of managerial communication skills, negotiation tools, and their implications for effective organizational communication and management of potential conflicts faced by managers in the tourism industry.

Course objectives:

  • To increase the students' awareness of the multiple communication options available to the effective manager
  • To strengthen the students' abilities to assess the communication situation and understand the consequences of making organizational communication choices and different conflict management strategies
  • To improve the students' understanding of and ability to communicate change and apply organizational communication strategies in the context of tourism practice and industry
  • To improve the students' understanding of how oral and written communication functions in tourism organizations
  • To develop the students' skills in analyzing situations, synthesizing the course information, and utilizing the knowledge for effective communication and conflict management in a tourism organization
NRRT 655 – Tourism Marketing Concepts and Applications

This course will provide students with an understanding of the marketing process as it applies to travel and tourism. While general concepts of marketing for travel and tourism are similar to the marketing of other products and services, the travel and tourism industry has unique characteristics that create a variety of challenges and opportunities specific to and important for tourism marketing professionals.

Students will gain an understanding of:

  • traditional marketing terminology and concepts,
  • unique application of marketing principles to the travel and tourism industry, and
  • marketing strategy and planning in the travel and tourism industry.
NRRT 662 – Global Tourism Policy

This course explores the major international policies, trends, and challenges facing tourism and provides an understanding of policies, programs, and regulations and how international tourism is affected.

Course objectives:

  • To develop an awareness of the multitude of factors influencing international tourism policy
  • To understand the important policy and planning issues in international tourism
  • To identify tourism policies and trends across regions and countries across the world
NRRT 671 – Strategic Management for Travel and Tourism

This course will provide students with an understanding of concepts related to starting and and strategically managing businesses within the travel and tourism industry.

Students will gain an understanding of:

  • the strategic process in business management within the context of travel and tourism,
  • internal and external analysis of a travel and tourism business,
  • strategic choices and what those choices mean within the context of a travel and tourism business, and
  • the importance and application of an analysis of risk and its management within the context of a travel and tourism business.
NRRT 679A/B – Current Topics in Nature-Based Tourism

This course explores the integration of course topics of the M.T.M. degree, as well as connection between the travel and tourism issues with broader economic, social, technological, and political issues throughout the world.

Students will increase their understanding of:

  • the connection with and integration of the topics covered by required coursework;
  • the connection and impact of the travel and tourism industry on the economic, social, technological, environmental, and political issues important in the world from a historical, current, and future perspective; and
  • the impacts of economic, social, technological, environmental, and political changes throughout the world on the domestic and international travel and tourism industry.
Faculty Open Accordion

Alan Bright, Ph.D.

Alan's teaching responsibilities include on-campus and distance coursework for the M.T.M. program and courses in the natural resource tourism program. Alan's primary research interests center around theoretical applications of social psychological constructs toward the management of natural resources, including values, attitudes, behavior, and the complexity with which people think about issues. These constructs are also considered in the context of attitude and behavior change. Alan's teaching interests focus on development and administration of coursework in the tourism undergraduate and graduate programs.

Stuart Cottrell, Ph.D.

Stuart teaches courses in ecotourism, sustainable tourism development, protected area management, and research in human dimensions of natural resources. His research focus includes sustainable tourism, travel and tourism behavior, visitor impact management, and public perceptions of landscape disturbance issues. Present projects involve a National Science Foundation grant to examine land management agency and water provider perception of pine beetle impacts on water quality. As a former resident fellow with the School for Global and Environmental Sustainability, Stuart conducted a preliminary study of the impacts of mountain pine beetle infestation on recreation and tourism, which led to the present NSF project. One of the highlights of Stuart's teaching involves the monitoring of diseased corals and volunteer based conservation projects for an NGO in the Bahamas.

David Knight, Ph.D.

David has developed a unique transnational skill-set in sustainability and tourism management living and working in the U.S., Spain, the Philippines, Peru, and China. Drawing from experience as director, educator, researcher, consultant, collaborator, and confidant, David’s growing university-level leadership underscores his passion for partnerships and diversity in working with real-world organizations and communities to provide tangible, experiential learning opportunities for students. His research and consulting projects for organizations operating from local to international levels have analyzed a variety of sustainability and tourism issues pertaining to National Parks, Chinese tourist behavior, marine protected areas, and rural (e.g., Machu Picchu) community development. Ultimately, David hopes to employ his experience, compassion, and intellect to support institutions of higher learning in empowering diverse communities through exceptional outreach, student recruitment/retention, advising, teaching, and research activities.

Mike Manfredo, Ph.D. Head

Michael’s research focus is on understanding human thought about wildlife and natural resources. The goals of his current research program are: to increase the availability of human dimensions information relevant to wildlife and natural resource management; to provide for increased understanding of the role of human dimensions information in natural resources decision-making; to facilitate the integration of human dimension information into the natural resource decision-making process.

Sam Martin

Sam has more than 25 years of industry experience, having owned and operated several tourism-oriented businesses. He has also held senior marketing and management positions in upscale resort and lodging properties, and in institutional fundraising. Sam is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Heritage Tourism in the department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, with a focus on heritage values, learning theory, and their relationship to visitor motivation.

Dr. Bastian Thomsen

Dr. Bastian Thomsen is a conservation social scientist whose research intersects conservation, social responsibility, and tourism. He was most recently an Assistant Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Boise State University, and holds a Ph.D. in Management from Central Queensland University. He is nearly finished with a second Ph.D. in Environmental Anthropology from the University of Oxford. Bastian is the Strategy & Innovation Editor for the Journal of Ecotourism and has recently had articles accepted for publication in top tier journals such as the Journal of Sustainable Tourism and Annals of Tourism Research. He taught in the MTM program as an Affiliate Faculty last year and is eager to teach in the program full-time, engage with community stakeholders, and to work collaboratively with board members to tie industry needs to classroom lessons. His wife, Dr. Jennifer Thomsen will start her second doctorate in CSU’s DVM program this fall and they love to travel and get outdoors with their two border collie rescues, Bella and Zoey.

Dr. Sarah Walker

Dr. Sarah Walker’s research uses an environmental justice lens to investigate the role well-being can play in helping us better understand people’s relationships with their environments. Specifically , she studies human well-being in the context of climate resilience and adaptation in vulnerable communities around the world. Her work also investigates the well-being benefits of spending time in nature. Sarah received her PhD from Colorado State University and is currently completing her post-doctoral training at University of Colorado Boulder. She’s an avid hiker and cyclist, and loves being in the classroom with students.

Lina Xiong

Lina Xiong, Ph.D.

Lina Xiong is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. She is also called "Dr. Bear," because her last name in Chinese means bear. Dr. Bear came to the U.S. in 2006 from mainland China. Lina completed her Ph.D. in Business Administration from Temple University in Philadelphia. Before coming to CSU, Dr. Bear had taught many business courses in the College of Business at Marshall University. Her teaching assignment at CSU includes tourism strategic management, tourism marketing, and advanced lodging in the Master of Tourism Management program. She is also responsible for developing several M.T.M. courses in mandarin. Dr. Bear's research interests include service management, internal branding, employee brand motivation, and customer loyalty. She has published several articles in hospitality management journals. Recently, Dr. Bear's dissertation, titled, "Employee Brand Internalization: The Central Route to a Brand Aligned Workforce," has received a Highly Commended Award of the 2014 Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Awards in the Hospitality Management category. This is a prestigious international annual award presented by Emerald and the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). She has worked in hospitality and tourism businesses in both China and the U.S.

Career Opportunities Open Accordion

Inspired by exploring the outdoors or regional cultures? Looking to align who you are with what you do? Tourism offers many options for shifting into a new career or advancing into a management role within the industry.

Build the specialized skills to make a meaningful impact on the world while doing something you love.

Gain a competitive career advantage with employers specializing in:

  • Hospitality and resort management
  • Outdoor and adventure travel
  • Tourism management
  • Destination management or marketing
  • Event management
  • Cruise management
  • Agritourism

Start your own tourism venture

Exciting and lucrative opportunities in tourism exist for professionals with the right entrepreneurial skills. Business course electives in marketing strategy, managing human capital, supply chain management, and more have been integrated with tourism-specific coursework in this program to provide you with a solid foundation.

Frequently Asked Questions Open Accordion
What is tourism management?

Tourism management is a field of study that explores the theory and practice of creating, overseeing, and marketing tourism ventures. Management professionals in the tourism industry typically require skills in leadership, finance, and business operations. The online tourism management program offered by CSU has a unique focus on natural resource management and tourism policy.

What can I do with a degree in tourism management?

As the industry continues to evolve, there are many new and unique opportunities for professionals with an advanced tourism management degree. Graduates of the online Master of Tourism Management program will be qualified to work in fields that include: hospitality and resort management, outdoor and adventure travel, event management, agri-tourism, ecotourism, and more. Anyone intending to create their own tourism enterprise will also benefit from completing this program.

Why study tourism management?

There are numerous rewarding career opportunities in the tourism industry for people with the right skills. In the U.S. alone, tourism supports more than 15 million jobs and generates nearly $2 trillion in economic output, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Working in this industry is often appealing to individuals with a passion for travel, exploration, adventure, and the outdoor lifestyle. The primary goal of tourism ventures is to provide customers and clients with positive experiences.

What jobs can I get with a tourism management degree?

Graduates of the tourism management master’s program gain the managerial skills to create entrepreneurial ventures, or take leadership roles in the industry. Career opportunities in tourism management range from agri-tourism to hospitality and resort management. Students gain the skills to build careers as tourism program directors, event coordinators, sales managers, account executives, marketing managers, customer experience managers, and many others. Visit the Career Opportunities page to learn more.

What is the average salary for hospitality and tourism?

Salaries vary widely in the hospitality and tourism industry depending on the specific job, region, and other factors. According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary (U.S.) for a tourism marketing manager is $80,673, and the average salary for a hotel manager is $59,461. The median annual salary for a resort manager is $46,342, according to

What is sustainable tourism management? What is ecotourism management?

Sustainable tourism management is an approach to the business of tourism that values the environment and social responsibility as much as profit. Ecotourism is a subset of sustainable tourism that primarily focuses on exotic, remote, and/or threatened natural areas such as rainforests, coral reefs, and other fragile ecosystems. The typical goal of ecotourism is to promote the conservation of these areas by helping tourists experience them while creating minimal or no environmental impact. A portion of profits from some ecotourism ventures may also be used to help fund various conservation efforts.

Can I get a graduate certificates along with this master’s degree?

Yes. You can apply up to 6 credits from a certificate program toward the online Master of Tourism Management. There are two certificates offered online:

What is the average timeframe to complete the program?

The online Master of Tourism Management can be completed in two semesters. However, for students who are working full-time, this is likely an unrealistic timeframe. The average student completes the program in two years, but some students may take longer. The flexible, online program allows you to earn your degree at a pace that suits your lifestyle and goals.

Are summer classes an option?

No. All coursework in the program is during the fall and spring semesters.

What fees should I expect to pay in addition to tuition?

In addition to the tuition, students will pay a $32/semester technology fee. There will also be an added cost for books and texts.

Learning Experience Open Accordion

As a student in CSU’s online tourism management master’s program, you receive the same education, learn from the same faculty, and earn the same regionally accredited degree as students on campus. Additionally, you can expect:

  • The Ability to Graduate in Less than a Year: In just nine months you can earn an industry-specific master’s degree that helps set you apart when seeking employment or advancement in the tourism industry.
  • A Focus on People and the Planet: Learn to provide meaningful travel experiences for clients while making business decisions grounded in sustainability and social responsibility. Explore the types and extent of tourism impacts on natural resources. Discover methods for reducing the ecological footprint of tourism activities and destinations. Learn how to increase tourism's contribution to natural resource conservation while improving human welfare in the process.
  • Preparation in Fact-Based Decision-Making: This program incorporates courses in global tourism policy (NRRT 662) and two courses in quantitative analysis (NRRT 601 and 602) to equip you with the knowledge needed to make smart, meaningful business decisions driven by data.
How to Apply Open Accordion

Application Deadlines

Fall semester July 15
Spring semester December 1

Start your application online and upload materials directly into the online system. You can save your progress and return any time.

Apply Now

Applications are reviewed once they are completed. You can expect to be notified of your application status within two weeks of submitting all application materials.

1Review Admission Requirements

The tourism management master's degree requires that students have the following:

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution.
  • A 3.0 GPA on all undergraduate coursework. Exceptions to this are made on a case-by-case basis.
  • GRE scores are not required.

2 Prepare Application Materials

Three letters of recommendation (professional and/or academic):
Three professional recommendations are required. You will provide information about your recommenders in the online application. CSU will contact them with instructions and a link to a secure form they will submit on your behalf.

Statement of purpose:
Please provide a one-page letter addressing: 1) why you selected this program, 2) what you hope to gain from the program, and 3) your future career goals.

3 Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application and pay the nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online). As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete and all required materials have been received.

  • Select "Tourism Management (M.T.M.) – Distance" when choosing the program of study.

4 Request Official Transcripts

Request one official transcript of all collegiate work completed from all institutions attended. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required. Transcripts must be received directly from the originating institution to be considered official.

Electronic (preferred):
Digital Transcripts must be submitted by the originating institution using a secure service such as parchment, eScrip-Safe, the National Student Clearinghouse, or e-Quals. Transcripts received via emails are considered unofficial.

Use institution code 4075 for Colorado State University or if the secure service requires an email address.

Mail (if necessary)
Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Information for International Students

Official transcript translation

Ensure official copies include a certified translation into English (only one set of transcripts is required).

Official test scores

Colorado State University requires that proficiency in English language be demonstrated either by the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE academic tests prior to admission. Please submit one of the official scores from the list below. Tests must be taken within two years prior to admission and submitted directly from the Educational Testing Service (select institution code: 4075).

  • The minimum TOEFL score for admission without condition is 550 (paper-based), or 80 (internet-based).
  • The minimum IELTS score for admission without condition is 6.5.
  • The minimum PTE Academic score for admission without condition is 58.

All applicants who are citizens of countries in which English is not the official language, and who do not have an undergraduate degree from the U.S. must submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores.


We love learning about your goals and answering any questions to help you on your journey.

Conor McLean
Tourism Management
Student Success Coach
Schedule Time to Talk

Program Details

$771 per credit
Degree Awarded
Master of Tourism Management
Time Frame
Can be completed in 9 months

Application Deadlines

Fall semester
July 15
Spring semester
December 1

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