Tourism Programs Continue to Grow Expertise and Industry Affiliations

The nature-based tourism programs at Colorado State University have a long-standing tradition of expertise, innovation, and industry grounded acumen.  The advisory board that shepherds and enriches these programs provides further momentum through several yearly meetings, as well as spending time with students twice a year, and traveling to CSU on an individual basis to transmit their industry expertise through lectures, seminars, and live or recorded interviews.

This year, the advisory board has added two stalwart advocates of the outdoor recreation and tourism industry. Patrick Long, Professor Emeritus Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder and Luis Benitez, Director Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office both join a laudable roster of industry innovators and experts.

The advisory board was initially established to advise the Master of Tourism Management (MTM) program, but has since expanded to serve all of the tourism programs offered by The Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources(HDNR), in the Warner College of Natural Resources.  Besides MTM, HDNR offers Online Graduate Certificates in Adventure Tourism, Agritourism Management, and Ski Area Management, and an on-campus B.S. in Natural Resource Tourism with concentrations in Global Tourism or Natural Resource Tourism, the latter is also offered online.

The tourism programs in HDNR are excited to welcome Pat Long and Luis Benitez to the advisory board. Having strong industry leaders on the board such as Long and Benitez ensures that this program will prepare the next generation of socially and ecologically aware influential tourism leaders. This aligns with established history of these programs as they are actively engaged in shaping the future of the tourism industry and how people can responsibly recreate outdoors.


Pat Long, PhD. Professor Emeritus, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder.
Pat Long, PhD. Professor Emeritus, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder.

Pat Long is the founding director of the Center for Sustainable Tourism established at the University of Colorado at Boulder in the mid-1990s and then re-located to East Carolina University (ECU) in 2007. Most recently he served as Director of ECU’s university-wide Center for Sustainability: Tourism, Natural Resources, and the Built Environment.

He has served in the capacities of President/CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Rural Tourism Foundation authorized by Congress (Public Law 102-372) to support tourism development in rural America and served two terms as President of the American Leisure Academy.  He has been a member of the World Meteorological Organization’s Commission for Climatology Open Panel of Experts on Climate Information for Adaptation and Risk Management and developed both the Colorado and Intermountain Rural Tourism and Recreation Initiatives.

Long served as a “Tourism Scholar-in-Residence” with the Western Governors’ Association and on the advisory committees for the National Rural Tourism Development Project and the National Cultural Tourism Development Project. He was also a member of the National Tourism Design Team for the Department of Agriculture and served as a consultant for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Heritage Tourism Initiative. He has conducted research for the Cuba Policy Foundation, the Japan Travel Bureau Foundation, and the National Park Service and has lectured in Costa Rica, China, South Korea, Japan, Germany and England. His work has been formally recognized by the National Recreation and Park Association and the American Association for Leisure and Recreation.


Luis Benitez, Director, Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry
Luis Benitez, Director, Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry

Luis Benitez is an experienced leader in outdoor recreation, with a history in holding positions that vary from Talent Management and Leadership Development for Vail Resorts to creating consulting groups to support people to “Be Their Own Leader.” He is not only an industry leader but he is an expert in outdoor recreation as well. Benitez has summited the highest points of every continent a total of 32 times, including 6 summits of Mt. Everest. His recreation experience combined with his leadership experience in governmental and industry positions makes him an extremely qualified member of the advisory board.

Benitez lives his passion for helping others achieve their goals. He has led many different leadership development courses for different schools including Outward Bound Leadership School in Colorado and Adventure Consultants in New Zealand. Benitez has a lot to offer and comes with years of experience consulting future recreation tourism leaders.

Benitez brings a new set of diverse experience and professionalism to the advisory board, and plans to contribute to the leadership development skills of the program. His position as Director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry gives the HDNR tourism programs a direct connection to the office that manages outdoor recreation for the state.