Hospitality & Ecotourism

Grays Harbor and Pacific counties are full of natural wonders, cultural experiences, local events, and outdoor activities that have transformed the Twin Harbors region and greater Olympic Peninsula into the premiere destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Washington State. Westport, Seabrook, Long Beach, and Ocean Shores host several wonderful festivals and cultural events each year with many large events during the summer season. The local chartered fishing expeditions, beach attractions, casinos, and Olympic National Park bring well over 3 million visitors per year, creating a high demand for customer service oriented hospitality, ecotourism, and recreational workers, who appreciate nature, promote conservation, and are environmentally and culturally responsible.

The Grays Harbor College Hospitality and Ecotourism program is designed to prepare students to work in fields that serve visitors in Pacific & Grays Harbor counties and the greater Olympic Peninsula. Foundation courses introduce students to hospitality, ecotourism, marketing, and human relations. Core courses expand student knowledge and skills in hotel facilities and technology, event management, marketing, ecotourism, tourism policy and planning, and accounting. Capstone courses provide practicum experience and opportunities for service learning projects with local employers.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts related to the tourism sector and hospitality services.
  • Plan, organize and facilitate recreational and business related events.
  • Apply customer relations in a business setting.
  • Develop an operational plan for hospitality services, tourist accommodations, green lodging, facilities, technology and sustainable ecotourism.
  • Evaluate technology utilized in the Hospitality industry.
  • Apply critical thinking skills to solve problems related to hospitality, tourism and food service management.
  • Communicate in writing for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Program Format & How to Apply

Students are required to have access to a computer, with internet access and an up-to-date browser. This AAS degree can be completed entirely online, but there are also many in-person opportunities planned.

The Hospitality and Ecotourism Program is offered in partnership with Peninsula College.  The degree requirements for the general education and business courses are offered through Grays Harbor College.  The hospitality courses are offered online through Peninsula College. 

To get started visit to apply to the college.

Career Examples

  • Casino Host
  • Conference Manager
  • Convention Planner
  • Event Planning/Management
  • Front-of-House Manager
  • Guest Relations Manager
  • Outdoor Recreation Guide

Faculty Advisor

Melanie Israel
Phone: 360-538-4021

Degree Requirements

The requirements for the Hospitality & Ecotourism AAS degree are available in the GHC Catalog.

Program Outcomes 

Upon successful completion of Hospitality & Ecotourism requirements, students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts related to the tourism sector and hospitality services.
  • Plan, organize and facilitate recreational and business-related events.
  • Apply customer service and critical thinking principles to solve guest/associate(s)/owner challenges.
  • Develop an operational plan for hospitality and tourism services through proper fiscal principles.
  • Understand and adapt hospitality technology to facilitate the guest experience and business objectives.
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and concisely in personal and business communication across the appropriate avenues.