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CPD Education

April 24, 2016
Harold Goodwin
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Education is what you get when you read the fine print; experience is what you get if you don’t.Folk singer Pete Seeger, quoted in The Times

Dr Harold Goodwin retired from Manchester Metropolitan University as Professor of Responsible Tourism at the end of July 2016, having completed 40 years of teaching in adult education and universities. Harold has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Adult and Continuing Education from London University (1982). Harold continues as an Emeritus Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University and as a Director of the Institute of Place Managment.

Over the last 15 years close to 400 students, most of them mid-career professionals, have taken the Masters programmes which Harold led at Kent, Greenwich, Leeds Met and Manchester Metropolitan Universities. The course has evolved rapidly, as the breadth and depth of Responsible Tourism have increased, to meet the needs of the professionals attracted by the course. The programmes were designed for mid-career professionals in employment and only able to study part-time. The first course, on Tourism and Conservation, was developed at the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent, in 1996, to meet the needs of national park wardens and others with responsibility for managing tourism in protected areas, studying at DICE full-time.

The posts on RT Notes from the Field convey something of what the students Harold has had the privilege to teach have achieved.

A Masters in Tourism, Conservation, and Sustainable Development* followed, designed for part-time study and attracting students engaged in tourism and conservation in  the Geography Department at Greenwich University in 1999. In 2003 following research work with the UK outbound industry, the 1st International Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations held in Cape Town in 2002, the founding of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism and advisory work with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in South Africa, the first MSc in Responsible Tourism Management was launched in 2003.

In 2007, Dr Harold Goodwin was appointed Professor of Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Metropolitan University and the Responsible Tourism Management MSc was developed there. In 2013 he moved to Manchester Metropolitan University - there is still an MSc in Responsible Tourism Management at what is now Leeds Beckett Univerity - it now has an emphasis on marketing communications. Leeds Beckett is not the home of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism. The ICRT is a network of sister organisations around the world all committed to furthering the aspirations of the Cape Town Declaration. The Cape Town Declaration reminded us of the world’s diversity: “Relishing the diversity of our world’s cultures, habitats and species and the wealth of our cultural and natural heritage, as the very basis of tourism, we accept that responsible and sustainable tourism will be achieved in different ways in different places.”

As Professor of Responsible Tourism at MMU 2013-2016 Harold developed a new distance learning  MSc in Responsible Tourism at MMU.  Harold Goodwin retired in 2016 and the course has been discontinued. Harold is now an Emeritus  Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The MSc in Responsible Tourism at MMU was designed as in-service professional education for those in senior positions or on the way up - it drew“students” from tour operating, destination and protected area management and a host of other associated professional roles, designed to take perhaps 15 students per year who over three years (2 years of taught modules and a dissertation) can achieve an MSc by part-time distance learning. There is one compulsory residential 10-day block in the course, Harold ha never wanted to graduate anyone he has not taught in the classroom because of the risk of impersonation.

For each module, the students are sent a manual composed of printed lectures and a USB stick with all the reading material. In addition, there were regular Skype seminars and tutorials.

Many of the students it attracted already had an MSc, some had no HE qualification at all. Students come from all over the world, recruitment was primarily through alumni and professional networks. The World Travel Market programme held in London each November  has 2000 people through it each year, the programme has now been extended to their trade shows in Dubai, Cape Town, and Sao Paulo.

Back in 2000, the students had day release and time off to do the course. No longer, Responsible Tourism courses now needs to be delivered very differently. Students want

  1. Professional skills - they are not looking for academic careers
  2. Cutting edge knowledge generated through engagement in the sector.
  3. Distance learning with material they can take with them on a train or plane  - they need to fit their studying around the many other demands of family and work
  4. Mentoring and career development support rather than supervision
  5. Option to take units as certified CPD and achieve an MSc over a few years with a portfolio and a final report.

The Responsible Tourism MSc at MMU 2014-2016 was completely rewritten and updated, it was composed of the following Units.

Responsible Business: Tourism

This introductory unit framed the course in the context of the sustainability challenges of development in a finite world; the challenges  posed by climate change, food and water shortages, peak oil, population growth and the conflict between the exercise of rational self-interest and the common interest. Tourism is discussed as both a consumer experience and as business.  The concept of responsibility was central to the course; we looked at the development of CSR and the linkages between CSR and Responsible Tourism and the difference between sustainable tourism and Responsible Tourism. The unit introduced chaos theory, emergence  and complexity, entrepreneurship, marketing and communications, discussed the difference between economic and political approaches to effecting change and addressed the co-operate or compete dilemma. These themes recurred throughout the course as we addressed fundamental questions about sustainability, resilience and the purpose of tourism – how can tourism be used responsibly to make better places for people to live in and for people to visit?

Tourism and Local Economic Development

Pro-poor and inclusive tourism development strategies use the same approaches as those used to maximise local economic benefit – the difference is that they focus on those with low incomes or those who are economically poor, using local income and poverty benchmarks.

There has been rapid growth in tourism as living standards have risen; tourism is a priority form of consumption in developed and emerging economies. Tourism satellite accounts have been widely used to establish the importance of the sector. We looked at the concepts of economic development, modernisation and underdevelopment theory; and debated how tourism contributes, or not, to economic development. The focus then shifted to look at how the tourism industry, through procurement and employment, can contribute to local economic development and at how tourism businesses and tourists can be encouraged to make a larger contribution to local economies. Drawing on the work of the Pro-Poor Tourism Partnership we looked at whether tourism can successfully be used to address poverty and its contribution to the Millennium Development Goals. We discussed the success or otherwise of community-based tourism approaches and other emerging alternative models including social enterprise.  The unit concluded by looking at how an initiative can best be planned and implemented and the ways in which the economic impacts of tourism can be monitored and reported

Social Responsibility

The environmental agenda has dominated sustainable tourism since Rio in 1992. Here the  focus was on the social rights of people in destinations and those who work in tourism. There is often a wide gap between the incomes and life chances of those who travel as tourists and those who provide services for them. We travel in part to experience other cultures and it is said that travel broadens the mind. Does it? We looked at the host-guest relationship, the social impacts of tourism and the social anthropology of tourism with a focus on how to manage tourism and tourists so as to minimise negative social impacts and enhance positive impacts. The Unit moved on to look at the processes of engaging with local communities and issues of consultation and empowerment. It concluded by looking at the challenges of social inclusion in tourism, both in host and potential guest communities – and asked is a holiday a human right?

Environmental Responsibility

The environmental impacts of tourism are well known but they are acuter than many realise. Carbon pollution and climate change, water and waste are major issues for the sector. We shall also look at the environmental impacts of tourism activities and individual tourists. Tourism transport and accommodation contributes to the problem but the effects of the changes on destinations have consequences for the viability of destinations, many of these changes will impact on destinations within the lifetime of investments being made now. How should the sector be planning to address these issues? The future is upon us. What can tourism businesses, tourists, and governments do?

Tourism and Conservation

This Unit looked at the contribution which tourism can make to the conservation of the natural and cultural heritage and at how visitor impacts can be managed so as to minimise the negative ones. The management challenges posed by tourism for heritage conservation are similar and increasingly the focus is on the natural and cultural elements being conserved and interpreted for tourists at heritage sites. We looked at the international and national frameworks for heritage conservation and at current debates about conservation, the economics of managing tourists and sites for tourism, interpretation and evaluation and site assessment from a tourism management perspective.

Achieving Change: Leadership for Responsibility

Most, if not all, of the people who enrolled on this MSc programme, do so because they want to change tourism, they are change makers. This unit brings together approaches to leadership from business and politics to enable participants to apply the knowledge which is in the books to people and situations with which they are familiar. The reading  takes the student from the ancient Greek philosophers, through Machiavelli, political science , the Harvard Business Review and Malcolm  Gladwell. Leaders have followers at all levels of organisations and there are a host of different approaches and styles. Over two residential weekends students have the opportunity to apply their reading to the analysis of the approaches taken by the leaders who will be joined them in the seminar room  to talk about how they have achieved change in the tourism sector.  Our advisory panel were a major part of this.

Responsible Destination Management

It is in destinations that tourists and locals meet and although outbound operators can make a difference it is in destinations where tourism has to be managed by inbound and outbound tour operators, accommodation and attraction  providers, local communities and their governments. We addressed the confusion which lies behind ‘DMO’ and the difference between marketing and management and addresses the challenge of securing a “whole of government” approach to managing destinations. Sustainability is essential to maintaining a competitive destination, avoiding decline and generating increasing yields.  How does destination planning relate to local authority and national park planning? Is growth what it is all about and what do we mean by growth? How can people use tourism to make their place a better place to live in and a better place to visit?  How can destinations use tourism and avoid being used by tourism? A distance learning course with five days in a destination discussing with practitioners the challenge of managing a destination.


This was designed as an opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability to undertake an in-depth investigation of an issue relevant to Responsible Tourism. This investigation can took the form of a traditional dissertation OR an industry based change management project OR an industry focused feasibility study. Projects were generally undertaken with the active cooperation of industry partners. Students were  encouraged to undertake a project which would advance their  career and/or contribute to using tourism to make better places for people to live in.

What the students say

Starting the course with an introduction to a broad range of disciplines all related to sustainability has been really beneficial. It’s felt like a very pertinent way to lay the foundations for the course and to introduce us to the wider debates that underpin any study of sustainability and consequently responsibility; such debates are key to any understanding of Responsible Tourism but also contribute to understanding how to create meaningful change in the future in all industries, not just tourism. Megan Devenish Product and Responsible Tourism Manager, Exodus

The opportunity to study with Harold Goodwin and learn the process behind his approach to Responsible Tourism is truly invaluable for anyone who is taking responsibility for making tourism more sustainable. His availability for his students, passion for RT and years of experience set this program aside from the rest. The distance nature of the course allows for interactions with classmates involved in various projects around the world and It’s flexible nature also allows you to manage coursework around your own commitments. – Sheena Khan, Consultant working for the Abu Dhabi Green Building Council

The Masters in Responsible Tourism is a great opportunity to broaden my view on responsibility and sustainability in the tourism industry. The moment I write this I have only been on the course for five months and I have learned a lot in these months. I must admit that I have been a bit sceptic about distance learning but be sure that fades away once you start this course. The seminars we have on Skype and the interaction on Facebook is excellent. And if you do require some more feedback or guidance, Harold is always available for a chat.
Melvin Mak  Medewerker Duurzaam Toerisme TUI Benelux Sustainable Development Manager TUI Benelux

I feel very inspired by what I have learnt so far on the MSc and what I will be able to achieve in my career with the knowledge  I am acquiring. It is incredible how empowering the last three months have been and I am looking forward to the next unit. I know there is a lot of work to be done to improve the  tourism industry and I am more motivated than ever to be part of that change.
Hannah McDonnell Entrepreneur


The Advisory Board

  • Martin Brackenbury (Chair)  (President International Federation of Tour Operators 1990-2010, Chairman UK Federation of Tour Operators, 1984 – 2006; Chair of the UNWTO affiliate members and a Special Professor at Nottingham University; Councillor City and Guilds, 1998 until 2013. Director of Classic Collection Holidays.
  • Jane Ashton Director of Sustainable Development at Tui Group
  • Manda Brookman Director, CoaST One Planet Tourism
  • John de Vial Director International Centre for Responsible Tourism
  • Stephen Farrant  Director at Business in the Community & International Tourism Partnership
  • Justin Francis CEO responsibletravel.com    and a former student
  • Dr Rebecca Hawkins Responsible Hospitality Partnership
  • Debbie Hindle Four bgb
  • Nikki White  Head of Destinations and Sustainability, ABTA

*This course resulted from the three-year research project (1994-1997)  on the relationship between tourism, conservation, and local community benefits in and around national parks in India,  Indonesia, and Zimbabwe.


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