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Professor educates military leaders, students on Pacific tourism

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Professor educates military leaders, students on Pacific tourism

Members of the National War College with Professor Jerry Agrusa (pictured in the middle with the NWC Challenge Medal)

Military leaders and students from the National War College (NWC) in Washington, D.C. tapped a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa professor for guidance in tourism across the Pacific region.

The group of nine traveled to Hawaiʻi in early April 2022 and requested to meet with Professor Jerry Agrusa from the School of Travel Industry Management in the Shidler College of Business. He was selected due to his expertise in tourism, specifically in the region, and was asked to share the importance of tourism to the region’s economic vitality and the impacts of climate change.

Agrusa spoke to the group about how tourism is vital to the economies of most Pacific island countries, the effects of COVID-19 on the area, and how eco-tourism is a growing facet of tourism that is presenting an opportunity to expand tourism while promoting sustainable business practices and climate change consequence mitigation.

The NWC mission is to educate future leaders of the Armed Forces, Department of State and other civilian agencies for high-level policy, command and staff responsibilities by conducting a senior-level course of study in national security strategy. The curriculum emphasizes the joint and interagency perspective.

The group was particularly interested in opportunities to strengthen the U.S. presence, engagement and partnerships with countries in the region, and gaining a deeper understanding of the role of tourism as a regional economic engine. The group appreciated Agrusa’s time and expertise, awarding him the NWC “Challenge Medal” as a token of their appreciation.

“Dr. Agrusa’s presentation highlighted the vital role of tourism in the Pacific island economies and the financial impacts of global pandemics,” Lt. Col. Josh Goodrich said. “Climate change poses an existential threat to several Pacific islands; however sustainable tourism offers a two-pronged strategic opportunity for economic growth while mitigating the impacts of climate change.”

This outreach is an example of UH Mānoa’s goals of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF) and Building a Sustainable and Resilient Campus Environment: Within the Global Sustainability and Climate Resilience Movement (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

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