On day 4, the internationally focused course took a step back and deeper look into local impact with guest lecturers Ann Nygard,  UVM professor Dave Kestenbaum and the Vermont Fresh Network’s Executive Director, Meghan Sheradin.  They also explored certification standards with Green Seal representative, Rani Bhattacharyya.

Guest lecturer, Ann Nygard, takes questions during the lecture on National Geographic’s Geotourism Program.

The morning began with an overview of National Geographic’s Geotourism Program.  Ann Nygard spoke on geotourism’s special niche within the sustainable tourism industry as a sub-category that adds to sustainability principles by emphasizing a destination’s distinct “sense of place,”  to benefit both the tourist and resident.

Kestenbaum provided personal insight to Vermont’s relationship with the National Geographic geotourism program and the opportunities and challenges associated with such a partnership.

UVM professor, Dave Kestenbaum, on geotourism and the Vermont Fresh Network's impact on the local farming economy.

In the afternoon, the students heard from Meghan Sheradin, Executive Director of the Vermont Fresh Network, a local NGO focused on building relationships among farmers, food producers and chefs to promote Vermont chefs and restaurants that use Vermont grown and produced foods.

Sheradin and Kestenbaum provided excellent insight into how these regional connections have contributed to stronger communities and their economies, the expansion of the colorful foodie culture and the growth in cuisine tourism that Vermont has experienced in recent years.

Meghan Sheradin on creating the Vermont Fresh Network.

Certification

In addition to exploring tourism’s local impact in Vermont, day 4 also featured guest lecturer, Rani Bhattacharyya of Green Seal, a non profit, independent certifying body whose role in tourism certification increased as they partnered with the lodging industry, the nation’s second largest employer, to promote environmentally responsible products and practices within lodging properties.

Guest speaker, Rani Bhattacharyya, on certification.

All the presenters have been very beneficial.  It’s great to get both the theoretical and practical view, and of course I loved hearing from the Vermont people!  - John, UVM grad student

Megan Epler Wood and Bhattacharyya spoke on the fundamentals of the certification industry, its role in the sustainable tourism industry and touched on specific certification items such as waste minimization, energy efficiency and water resource management.