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United Nations Organization Selects USF College to Lead the First Global Sustainable Tourism Observatory in the United States

USF’s Patel College of Global Sustainability will be one of 16 observatories in the world.

TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2016) - The University of South Florida’s Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS) has been selected to join the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO), making the college the first observatory of its kind in the United States or Canada.
The observatory will be headquartered at USF’s Patel College, where it will monitor key metrics of sustainable tourism in designated study areas.  The study areas include parts of Florida’s Pinellas and Manatee Counties, two popular tourist destinations, working with more than a dozen communities within those counties, providing policy makers and tourism managers with regular updates related to environmental, social and economic impacts. 
USF researchers and students from the PCGS will work together to monitor a number of aspects: local satisfaction with the destination; seasonality patterns; energy, waste and water control; and food production.  The partnership aims to reduce plastic in the environment, prevent traffic congestion, foster sustainable food and energy sources and minimize the destination’s climate change impacts.
“We are honored to be selected as the first Sustainable Tourism Observatory in the United States,” said Dr. Ralph C. Wilcox, USF Provost and Executive Vice President.  “The impact of the research and best practices generated from this initiative will help to ensure that our coastal and marine environments are enjoyed and learned from for generations to come.”  
INSTO, established in 2004 as a way for UNWTO to further its commitment to sustainable tourism, is founded on the idea of creating international indicators of sustainability applicable to the tourism sector. Since the establishment of INSTO, 16 observatories have been recognized for their commitment to regular monitoring of tourism management. Observatories are located in China, Greece, Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Croatia and now the United States.
“This designation will offer new opportunities for study, research, experiential learning, and internships for all PCGS concentrations.” said Patel College Dean Richard Berman. “As a multidisciplinary research hub for USF, the Patel College of Global Sustainability focuses on developing new global sustainable solutions, to include sustainable tourism, amongst other sectors, making our college an ideal addition to the INSTO.”
More information about the UNWTO Network of Observatories can be found here:
More information about the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability can be found here:

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