RESET is a multi-university and interdisciplinary effort conducted jointly by the Department of Geography and the Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management at the University of Tennessee, the Department of Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi, the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at Appalachian State, and the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at East Carolina University,. The concept of sustainability stresses responsible management of the social-cultural aspects of tourism development as well as its economic and environmental aspects. RESET is a research and outreach initiative that seeks to identify, study, and challenge patterns of social inequity in the current tourism industry. Special attention is focused on enhancing the role of racial and ethnic minorities in development, however the inequity and injustices highlighted through RESET can also include a broad swath of existing struggles such as human trafficking in hospitality, animal welfare in tourism, and the continuing power issues related to gender in economically developing and developed contexts. Little sustained work has been done on the preferences, characteristic, and challenges of minority travelers and there is a need to incorporate the natural and cultural heritage of racial and ethnic populations into tourism products available to the consuming public. In addition to being a convenient acronym, RESET captures the progressive nature of the initiative and the belief that tourism development, if done in sustainable and responsible ways, can be tools for racial reconciliation and minority empowerment- in effect pressing the “reset” button on the inequalities and insensitivity of the traditional tourism industry.
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