“At the same time that I began the Certificate process, I started what is now THE COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABILITY-RIVIERA MAYA, with more than 30 productive, social, academic, and governmental authorities. That would definitely not have been possible without all the magnificent information that I found through the course.”

– Beatriz Barreal Danel, Riviera Maya Sostenible


“This course has helped me immensely – these courses are of great value”
Vanessa Byrne

Sustainable Tourism Certificate Details

Taking the Courses Online: These courses, designed as a self-managed process, can be taken online, on your own schedule, in the comfort of your home or office. Whether you enroll in one course or complete the entire certificate program, each course offers you an excellent opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills needed to improve your professional standing. Each of the units in a course contains a course presentation which can be downloaded, and other online resources. Some units contain multi-media presentations for you to watch. After completing all of the units, you will be asked to complete a test. Once you successfully complete the test, you will have passed the course. Online students usually finish a course (the equivalent of 12 hours in the classroom) in about two weeks to a month.

Certificate Requirements

There are three certificates awarded with this program:

TIES Green Certificate:

To receive this certificate, you must take and pass the four core courses

— Introduction to Ecotourism
— Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Assessment & Development
— Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Management
— Marketing Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Part I

TIES Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Management:

To receive this certificate, you must take and pass the four core courses and six additional course electives.  

TIES Master Certificate in Sustainable Tourism:

To receive this certificate, you must take and pass the four core courses and twelve additional course electives.  

To be listed on TIES website as a certificate holder, you must have been awarded a certificate and be a current member in good standing with TIES.   You do not need to be a TIES member to hold the certification.  

Registration Information: The cost for each course is $140 USD, with TIES premium members receiving a $40 discount*. You must register for courses with our education office and, while you may enroll in any number of courses at the same time, you must complete at least four core courses to receive the certificate. Once you register, you will be given access to TIES online distance learning platform, Teachable, which include course outlines.

Course Descriptions

TIES 601 – Introduction to Ecotourism

This course has been written to convey the fundamentals of modern ecotourism as it is being practiced now.  Ecotourism is, by many estimates, an 800 billion to 1 trillion USD segment of the travel and tourism industry, and is regarded as one of the fastest growing, if not the fastest growing, segment of that industry.  As such, it is impossible to encapsulate all that ecotourism is in one course.

The goal of this course is to give the student a way to evaluate and understand ecotourism in their context.  It is hoped that this initial course will prepare the student to partake of and benefit from additional learning opportunities. The course will address the definition of ecotourism in its applied sense, both from the perspective of the definition shaped by academic and policy experience, and from the definition derived by observed practice.  We expect that students completing this course successfully will be able to determine genuine ecotourism when they interact with it, whether it is in plan form or extant. 

TIES 602 – Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Assessment & Development

The rapid growth of tourism worldwide has created many challenges and opportunities for established and emerging tourism destinations. This course looks at how to conduct a tourism assessment to examine ecotourism potential, and how to measure the potential costs and benefits of a sustainable tourism development program.

Course topics include:

• Expand economic development in your destination
• Develop a community leadership model
• Compile visitor profiles and economic impact data
• Survey resident attitudes regarding tourism and its development
• Conduct visioning and goal setting activities with your stakeholders
• Assess tourism potential using a demand-driven marketing approach
• Conduct a preliminary competitive-advantage analysis, using attraction and facility inventory techniques
• Identify potential projects that contribute to economic development or investment promotion goals
• Implement social, economic, and environmental project analyzes
• Establish strategic alliances and partnerships

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TIES 604 – Marketing Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Part I

A practical, intensive, idea-packed approach to marketing tourism destinations. Examine how and why tourists make destination choices, and learn how to develop a strategic marketing system that emphasizes your destination or attraction’s distinctive appeal. The course features case studies, and practical tips for stretching marketing budget through better monitoring, cost controls and evaluation.

Course topics include:

• Identify and attract profitable market segments
• Create appeals that resonate with visitor benefits
• Establish strategic alliances and public-private partnerships
• Prepare an action-oriented marketing plan
• Spot opportunities in tourist spending patterns
• Track preferences of target visitors
• Add value to natural and cultural attractions
• Create and link attractions together
• Creating and managing social media campaigns
• Measure the performance of your marketing campaign
• Determine your return on your marketing investment

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TIES 604 – Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Management

Ecotourism has proven to be an economically viable alternative for attracting tourism revenue without compromising local community values or degrading the environment. This course provides the tools needed by tourism planners, conservationists, businesses and communities to work together to develop ecotourism plans and products that will attract and accommodate the ecotourist while conserving natural resources and benefiting local people. Designed to help you understand the unique structure of the ecotourism industry, the course provides the most recent information on ecotourism marketing approaches and product development.

Course topics include:

• Understand the basic elements of ecotourism, the market and market trends
• Assess the potential of individual and group ecotourist specialty markets
• Use green guidelines for operating a successful ecotourism business
• Analyze and address the special needs of ecotourists and local communities
• Establish an ecotourism planning process at the local and regional levels
• Develop trip circuits and travel packages that are safe and offer a wide variety of experiences
• Understand the vital role of interpretation and education in adding value

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a deadline for registration?
No. You can register any time throughout the year.

What are the steps I need to take to register? Do I receive confirmation for my registration?
Follow the online links to sign up for classes and make payment. Yes, you should receive an email confirmation.

What is the cost per course?
Each Course is $140 with TIES premium members receiving a $40 discount*.

Can I pay one course per time or should I pay for all courses at once?
It is suggested that you pay for all courses at once, because you’ll receive a discount, but you can register for all or just one course if you wish.

Is a refund available?
No, there are no refunds on distance learning courses.

Is there discount for taking more than 4 courses?
Yes. The prices for additional courses are listed, with the discounts incorporated.

Is there discount available if two or more people from one organization sign up for the program?
Yes. Contact us at education@ecotourism.org to find out more.

How soon after I register will I be able to start the courses?
Your log in information will be provided in the registration confirmation that you will receive. Your registration is usually processed within 72 hours (except on weekends). Registration is available now

What kind of certificate will I receive upon completion of all certificate requirements?
You will receive a professional Certificate in Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Management issued by The International Ecotourism Society (TIES). You will further, if you are a member of TIES in good standing, be listed on our website as a certified expert, should you wish it.

Do I get a certificate if I take only one course?

Yes, you receive a Letter of Completion for the specific course.

To achieve the Certificate in Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Management, you must register and complete ten courses. Each time you complete a course you will receive a Letter of Completion.

Where will my certificate be mailed? When?
No. You will be sent a certificate suitable for printing by email.

Could these courses be counted as credits if I start a Master in Tourism Program?
Not automatically.  If you wish to take these courses for university credit, you must first arrange it with your institution and with TIES.

Is there a deadline for completing one course or the four courses for certificate? Are extensions available?
Each course must be completed within two years. The entire certificate program must be completed within two years from the date you enrolled in your first course. Beyond two years, you may be asked to pay a $55 update fee.

Is there a certain pace I have to follow while in the courses? Are there deadlines for logging in and out and completing the sections within courses?
No, you can cover the course materials with your own pace. There are no log in requirements as long as you complete each course within two years.

Should the four core courses be taken before the electives?
Yes.  We recommend that you take the core courses first as they provide the base of knowledge for the program, however, you are not required to take the courses in any particular order.

Who do I communicate with if I have questions during the course?
The courses are self-managed courses. There is an education manager at TIES (education@ecotourism.org) that is available to answer any questions you might have.

Is any material mailed to me or everything is accessible online?
All of your material is available on-line. Nothing is mailed to you.

If I score less than the required passing score on my test can I retake it?
Yes, you may retake the test after a seven day waiting period. To do that, please contact us at (education@ecotourism.org) to reset your score. You may take the test as many times as you need.

Do I need to buy any textbooks?
No, all of your materials are included in the on-line course. Any readings that are mentioned throughout the courses, but not provided to you are just recommended readings.

What are the career opportunities for me after completion of the certificate? Are there any networks of job/internship opportunities that I can access?
Career opportunities in the travel and tourism fields are varied. We suggest you investigate whether this industry is a good fit for you and considering to join TIES as an individual member.

Is the program completely online or at some point I have to travel to another country to take the exams for example?
The entire program is taken on-line.

What happens if my e-mail changes?
You should alert the us if your email changes.

Who do I contact in case of technical problem with my access to online course materials?
If you are experiencing technical difficulties with the access to your course contact us at education@ecotourism.org.

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