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A Look Ahead

Sustainable Tourism Education Program

STEP offered in Wyoming by the Yellowstone Business Partnership and Sustainable Travel International

By: Anna Holden
Communications Coordinator
Yellowstone Business Partnership
for Mountain West News
Oct. 31, 2012

Are you an entrepreneur in the sustainability industry? A hospitality professional in the tourism sector? A federal/state public lands recreational site manager? Are you interested in sustainable tourism best practices?

If you can answer "yes" to any of the above questions, you are a candidate to participate in a six-day, hands-on educational experience designed to advance best practices in sustainable tourism hosted by the Yellowstone Business Partnership and Sustainable Travel International.

The training will take place from Nov. 27 through Dec. 2 at the Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, Wyoming.

The Training
Thanks to a generous grant from USDA Rural Development, Montana Office, the Yellowstone Business Partnership is collaborating with Sustainable Travel International to co-host up to 30 tourism and sustainability professionals, sustainability consultants, professional and aspiring auditors, and environmental planners and managers.

What is the Sustainable Tourism Education Program (STEP)
This specially designed Assessor and Consultant Training provides participants with in-depth information about the Sustainable Tourism Education Program (STEP) program and its eco-certification standard, including best practices and case studies that demonstrate the return on investment associated with sustainable operations. This professional course includes three days of technical training followed by a three-day hands-on site assessment. By the end of the course, attendees will be fluent in the navigation and implementation of the entire STEP program.

Participants who successfully complete the course will become STEP-Accredited Assessors, affording them the opportunity to provide consulting services or certify travel and tourism businesses.

The addition of new STEP-Accredited Assessors in your region will increase local capacity for sustainable tourism development. Also, accredited assessors/auditors can reduce third-party certification costs for businesses, reducing significantly the travel-related expenses typically associated with these audits.

How To Register
Simply access the YBP online form by clicking here.

Anna Holden is the communications coordinator for the Yellowstone Business Partnership.

Sustainable Travel International (STI) is a global nonprofit and industry thought leader since 2002 and offers innovative programs that support sustainable development through responsible travel. Its practical solutions help destinations and businesses of all sizes respond to sustainability challenges, while strengthening the positive impacts of tourism worldwide.

The Yellowstone Business Partnership (YBP)is a nonprofit which strives to create partnerships and programs that enhance the environmental, social and economic wellbeing of the Greater Yellowstone-Teton region and beyond. Working across jurisdictional boundaries to effect needed change across the 27-county Yellowstone-Teton region, YBP staff members work with a 14-member board and more than 150 business members, regional organizations and local governments to advance sustainable enterprise. YBP is incorporated in Montana with offices in Bozeman, and Idaho Falls, Idaho.

How does the Tuition Scholarship Work?
If you’re on a budget – who isn’t? – the good news is that a limited number of tuition scholarships are available for eligible small businesses!

The training is open to anyone, no matter where they are located. Tuition scholarships in the amount of $1,600 are available as a result of the USDA Rural Development grant.

To qualify for scholarship consideration, registered small businesses must operate in a community of less than 50,000 residents and have gross annual revenues less than $1 million.

Professionals not eligible will pay $2,000 for the course (plus lodging, some meals, and travel).

How To Register
Simply access the YBP online form by clicking here. Registering does not commit your attendance, but alerts the friendly folks at YBP of your interest. They'll promptly reply and get things set up for you.

"Y ou could say this looks like a D-minus report card. To us, this is how it is. We wanted to take a good, hard look and develop a strategy for how to work in that world. We don’t have all the money we’d want. We don’t have all the workforce we’d want. We don’t have the ability to take care of everything the way we’d like. This is the landscape we’re working in. Let’s see how to address this."

George Bain, Forest Service Region 1 director of recreation, lands, minerals, heritage and wilderness, discussing the “Northern Region Sustainable Recreation, Heritage, Wilderness Strategy 2015-2020” report.

- Missoulian

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