MICHAEL SWEENEY, AICP is a certified environmental planner and primary instructor for the Certificate Program courses. Mr. Sweeney, formerly the director of the Institute for Ecological Tourism at HSU, is an active ecotourist that has traveled and worked in national parks and ecoprotected areas in Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Kenya, East Africa and China.
He has worked on a number of local ecotourism projects, including the Yurok Destination Lodge Feasibility Study, which identified a preferred site and conceptual configuration for an ecolodge at the mouth of the Klamath River. He also worked on the development and implementation of a sustainable tourism strategy culminating in the City of Arcata’s annual “Godwit Days” migratory birding festival.
He has presented papers on sustainable, community-based tourism at international conferences on ecotourism. And he has also consulted on ecotourism projects, including the Sastuun Resort in Quintana Roo, Mexico, a prototype for sustainable resort development along the Riviera Maya; and the Scarlet Macaw Trail Project, a community-based ecotourism model in northern Guatemala sponsored by Conservation International.
Recently, Mr. Sweeney was invited on a reconnaissance tour by Sierra Gorda Ecotours (Querétaro, Mexico) a network of ecotourism venues owned and operated by community cooperatives. A report was submitted summarizing observations and recommendations.