Mason professor receives Fulbright Award to study sustainable tourism in South Korea

headshot of min park
Min Park. Photo by Evan Cantwell/Creative Services

George Mason University associate professor Min Park received a U.S. Fulbright Award to study sustainable tourism in South Korea for the spring semester of 2023. Park said her research will focus on the mural tourism development in the context of urban revitalization in South Korea and its emphasis on equitable distribution of benefits from tourism growth. Park will be teaching a graduate course on global issues faced by many tourism communities and efforts to resolve those issues at Hanyang University in Seoul.

“I’m really excited to go to South Korea and learn what they are doing to make a success out of sustainable tourism,” said Park, academic program coordinator of Tourism and Events Management in the College of Education and Human Development. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to understand how tourism has benefitted there from the approach they have taken, and how we can benefit here from what they’ve learned.”

Park’s research has focused on tourism development and growth issues, visitor management in tourism and recreational settings and social impacts of tourism. As a member of the research team of Mason’s School of Sport, Recreation, and Tourism Management (SRTM), Park has also worked on a series of collaborative research projects with the National Park Service on the National Mall and the Memorial Parks Management Plan.

The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program offers opportunities for American faculty members and professors to conduct research, lecture and consult with other scholars and institutions abroad. Park said the Fulbright award will pay for living and travel costs while she’s in South Korea.

Park said that she applied to study in South Korea because the country has made great strides toward “equitable distribution in tourism growth.” Many local governments in South Korea passed an ordinance that fosters and supports fair tourism, and the Seoul city government has launched a global campaign on fair and sustainable tourism.  

“Tourism development can create conflicts within a community when it is not done in an equitable and responsible way,” Park said. “South Korea offers some interesting examples of best practices in fair and equitable tourism so that the entire community experiences the benefits.”

Laurence Chalip, interim director of SRTM and academic program co-coordinator of CEHD’s recreation management, recommended Park for the Fulbright award.

“The work on relations among equity, tourism development, and urbanization that Dr. Park will be doing addresses vital issues in tourism and urban development,” Chalip said.  “It will provide a substantial contribution to her field while also making a positive contribution to tourism policymaking.”