This three-week, six-credit course aboard our Tall Ship in Cuba will examine economic and environmental issues through the lens of tourism, which is poised to significantly rise in Cuba in upcoming years. The program focuses on the fundamentals of sustainable community tourism development, maritime tourism, and marine trade skills.
The Winter Term course will explore how Cuba can navigate tourism development, and students will experience first-hand the overdue re-engagement between Americans and Cubans. The program operates from the ship’s Cuban homeport of Cienfuegos harbor, one of the most captivating bays in the Caribbean, and the course includes excursions to coastal communities along the island’s southern shore. The course is led by Dr. Tracy Michaud-Stutzman, Chair of the Tourism and Hospitality Department at the University of Southern Maine; Dr. Robert Steneck, Professor of Oceanography, Marine Science and Marine Policy at the University of Maine; and Dr. Jeffrey Boutwell, a specialist on Cuban history and politics, U.S.-Cuba relations, and Cuban science with a Ph.D. from MIT in political science and a 30+ year career in international science and public policy.
For the students and crew, the schooner Harvey Gamage serves as both home and mobile classroom. The low-impact platform of a self-sustaining schooner is an ideal vantage point to explore this low-lying archipelago of sandy islands, studded with coral lagoons and hemmed by stands of red mangrove, with some of the most pristine marine habitat in the Atlantic. Students will also have the opportunity for land excursions to such locales as the Cienfuegos Botanical Gardens, the Bay of Pigs historical site, and the Zapata peninsula nature preserve, as well as discussions with local and regional Cuban tourism officials and academics. Along the way, students will meet Cubans working diligently to hone entrepreneurial skills to shape their nation’s future.