Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Systems Ecology

Department or School/College

W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Sarah J. Halvorson

Commitee Members

Fletcher Brown, Dean McGovern, Keith Bosak, Elizabeth Covelli Metcalf


Afghanistan, Conflict-affected contexts, Higher education, Inclusive tourism, Sustainability, Tourism


University of Montana


Widespread consensus among the tourism and development studies literature suggests that higher education plays a key role in the achievement of sustainable tourism development. However, discussions on approaches to teaching sustainability in tourism at the higher education level are underdeveloped, especially in conflict-affected contexts. To address this gap, this study combines an examination of tourism stakeholders’ perceptions of inclusive and sustainable tourism development for a small tourism sector in Bamyan, Afghanistan, with an innovative approach to teaching sustainability in a tourism higher education program. Using mixed qualitative methods, this dissertation first examines tourism stakeholders’ perceptions of inclusive and sustainable tourism development, where I identified the importance of hospitality, gender empowerment, cultural heritage, and nature in tourism planning and education. Secondly, I document findings from a 2-year-long case study of a service learning (SL) course designed to teach sustainability and values-based competencies for tourism students at Bamyan University. This dissertation is conceptually informed by the theoretical literature on inclusive tourism, sustainability education, values of respect, and conflict-affected contexts.

Chapter 2 assessed tourism stakeholders’ experiences and perceptions of sustainable tourism development to provide recommendations for tourism implementation strategies and teaching sustainability in tourism higher education programs. Chapter 3 discussed the key design elements of the SL curriculum for tourism students at Bamyan University. Chapter 4 evaluated the impacts of SL on teaching tourism students sustainability competencies. Our results showed how the SL experience led students to self-discovery and strong conceptualizations of sustainability and built students’ social relationships with community stakeholders. Chapter 5 expands on the impacts of the SL course discussed in Chapter 4 to assess how the instructional approach of the SL course contributes to students’ values-based learning outcomes and building students’ relationships within the community. Results showed how the teachers and students shaped the course and defined their own values-based learning outcomes founded on themes of respect for autonomy, equality, and culture. In sum, this dissertation provides valuable information for developing effective tourism education programs, relationships of respect between teachers, students, and community stakeholders, and the empowerment of students to contribute to local solutions which serve a role in stabilization efforts in conflict-affected contexts.



© Copyright 2021 Kelly Elizabeth Franklin