At a Glance
People-First Tourism is a marketplace for buying and selling genuine tourism experiences. This project links entrepreneurs trying to pursue dignified and sustainable livelihoods through tourism with adventurous and conscientious tourists interested in unique off the beaten path experiences and in making positive impacts on the communities they visit.
We invite you to join the People-First Tourism movement.
Who Are We?
People-First Tourism is a project of North Carolina State University and of North Carolina Cooperative Extension. The project leverages the work and insight of an eclectic group of committed faculty and students from almost every College in the university including technology development by the Institute for Next Generation IT Systems in the College of Engineering. As the project grows, the list of partners and collaborators has been expanding to include numerous academic institutions, community development organizations and businesses - in the US and internationally.
This project originated from the scholarship of select project founders, who have extensive research records on the ways individuals and communities respond to opportunities and challenges posed by tourism development. The project is proposed as a solution to the amply documented shortcomings of tourism to engender improved wellbeing and sustainability in destinations. People-First Tourism is a social venture, as it aims at maximizing social profit while breaking even financially. People-First Tourism is also a research paradigm focused on the study of tourism micro-entrepreneurship, of its role in the self-determination of individuals with vulnerable livelihoods, and of the desire for local genuine tourism experiences.
Initial seed funding for the development of People-First Tourism was provided by The North Carolina Rural and Economic Development Center and the North Carolina Sea Grant.
Ultimately, through this online marketplace, local communities are encouraged to own their tourism valuable resources and earn income that stays locally, while travelers enjoy more authentic interactions within the local community and environment.