Yellowstone Business Partnership and Sustainable Travel International Announce Sustainability Consultant Training at Grand Targhee Resort

USDA Rural Development Offers Small Business Scholarships in Support ofSustainable Tourism and Job Creation in the Greater Yellowstone Region
The Yellowstone Business Partnership and Sustainable Travel International will co-host 15-30 tourism and sustainability professionals November 27 – December 2, 2012, at Grand Targhee Resort for a hands-on educational experience designed to advance best practices in sustainable tourism.

The course is designed for tourism and hospitality professionals, sustainability consultants, professional and aspiring auditors, and environmental planners and managers.

The Assessor and Consultant Training will provide participants with in-depth information about the Sustainable Tourism Education Program (STEP) program and its globally lauded eco-certification standard, including best practices and case studies that demonstrate the return on investment associated with sustainable operations. This professional course includes three days of technical training followed by a three-day hands-on site assessment. By the end of the course, attendees will be fluent in the navigation and implementation of the entire STEP program.

Participants who successfully complete the course will become STEP-Accredited Assessors, affording them the opportunity to provide consulting services or certify travel and tourism businesses in the Greater Yellowstone region and beyond. The addition of new STEP-Accredited Assessors in the region will increase local capacity for sustainable tourism development and reduce third-party certification costs for businesses, reducing significantly the travel-related expenses typically associated with these audits.

The Yellowstone Business Partnership is convening the STEP Assessor and Consultant Training thanks to a generous grant from USDA Rural Development – Montana office.  The training is open to anyone, no matter where they are located. Tuition scholarships in the amount of $1,600 are available as a result of this grant. To qualify for scholarship consideration, small businesses registering for the training must operate in a community of less than 50,000 residents and have gross annual revenues of less than $1 million.

Sustainable Travel International’s flagship program - STEP - is among the first global standards to be recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The program complements the Yellowstone Business Partnership’s UnCommon Sense program, a 2-year leadership program focused on helping businesses become more sustainable in all aspects of their operations. Graduates of this program are immediately eligible for STEP eco-certification.

"We are excited to partner with Sustainable Travel International in bringing the STEP program to the Northern Rockies region,” said Heather Higinbotham, YBP’s Sustainability Programs Manager. ”STEP aligns well with our UnCommon Sense program and provides a great opportunity to build capacity for assessors and consultants, as well as offering a credible third party verification for tourism businesses in the region to validate their sustainability efforts.”

As the host property, Grand Targhee Resort has enrolled in the STEP program, and will work toward its own eco-certification during an on-site assessment conducted by course participants.

“We are pleased that Sustainable Travel International and YBP have picked Grand Targhee Resort as the destination for this STEP Assessor and Consultant Training Program,” shared Ken Rider, Director Marketing & Sales at Grand Targhee. “We are excited to begin working on our eco-certification with this group.”

Interested participants can enroll by clicking this online link to the application:


Sustainable Travel International

A global non-profit and industry thought leader since 2002, Sustainable Travel International offers innovative programs that support sustainable development through responsible travel. Our practical solutions help destinations and businesses of all sizes respond to sustainability challenges, while strengthening the positive impacts of tourism worldwide.

Yellowstone Business Partnership

The Yellowstone Business Partnership (YBP) creates partnerships and programs that enhance the environmental, social and economic well-being of the Greater Yellowstone-Teton region. Working across jurisdictional boundaries to effect needed change across the 27-county Yellowstone-Teton region, YBP staff  members work with a 14-member board and more than 150 business members, regional organizations and local governments to advance sustainable enterprise. YBP is incorporated in Montana with offices in Bozeman, and Idaho Falls, Idaho. Learn more at,, or call 406.600.6617

Grand Targhee Resort

Grand Targhee Resort is a year round mountain resort situated on the western slope of the Tetons in Alta, Wyoming, accessible only through Teton Valley, Idaho. Tucked among spectacular Teton views and national forest land, Grand Targhee is an intimate summer getaway for adventure-seekers, with miles of lift-accessed hiking, running and mountain biking trails, renowned music festivals and a variety of activities in a pristine high alpine environment. During the winter, the abundance of light powder snow (more than 500 inches annually) and virtual lack of lift lines creates an uncrowded skier and snowboarder paradise, continually recognized for great snow, genuine western hospitality, scenic beauty and excellent value. A leader in environmental resort practices, Grand Targhee Resort has twice been honored with the prestigious Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence, most recently in 2011.  For more information, please visit our website at

Media Contacts

Sustainable Travel International
Jeremy Sampson, Senior Director, Marketing and Communications
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Yellowstone Business Partnership
Anna Holden
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Grand Targhee Resort
Ken Rider, Director Marketing & Sales
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307.353.2300 ext. 1312


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