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Mechelle Best, PhD

professor & department chair

Barbados uh cum from ... and I love to travel!

Ph.D. Tourism, University of Florida (2008), Fulbright & OAS Scholar for the Eastern Caribbean 

M.Sc. Natural Resource Management, University of the West Indies, Barbados (2002)

B.Sc. Hotel Management, University of the West Indies, Bahamas & Jamaica (1995, First Class Hons.)

Curriculum Vitae


I was born and raised in Barbados, a beautiful island in the Eastern Caribbean. I joined CSUN in fall 2008 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation & Tourism Management. It has been a marvelous challenge thus far, allowing me to use my professional experience in managing and consulting in the tourism industry to really engage my students in the classroom and in the field. 

I have had the pleasure of both visiting and working in many of the countries of the Caribbean and plan to share my home with my students as much as possible. This plan got off to a great start with a study trip to the Cayman Islands during spring break 2009. I'm sure my Tourism Planning class will agree that this fieldwork definitely enhanced the quality of their university experience. Since the Cayman Islands trip my students have gone with me on study/research trips or conferences to Utah, Barbados, the Bahamas, Cuba, Spain, and a number of California destinations including Santa Barbara, Sacramento and Catalina Island.

My journey is ongoing with slavery heritage tourism research in the Caribbean. Heritage is crucial to sustainability in tourism. On the campus sustainability side I continue to work on projects which help me to engage my students in service learning activities for the campus and wider communites.




Myrresearch interests include 'greening' or environmental management in hospitality & tourism; slavery heritage and how it is used for tourism puposes; ecotourism and nature-based tourism; tourism impacts; and community participation in tourism. I am currently conducting research on slavery heritage used by the tourism sector in the Caribbean. I'm also very interested in protected areas and how diverse communities engage with such sites. In this regard I am directing a programme called Re/Connecting People With Parks which facilitates visits to California's State Parks for CSUN students and community members.

I'm a faculty associate with CSUN's Institute for Sustainability and an active member of the core greening committee. As part of my work with the Institute I teach sustainability related courses, sit on the campus sustainability curriculum committee, and sit on the steering committee for MataSphere - a sustainability themed living community in CSUN Student Housing.

I am also a member of the California Travel Association.




Proposed CSUN hotel

Santa Paula Tourism Plan 2025

6 California State Parks Near Yosemite

 The Incredible Story of California's First Gold Strike Takes Place Just Minutes From Downtown L.A.

Alumni Park Rangers Return to CSUN to Celebrate National Parks Centennial

 CSUN Brings Fall to Families With Calabasas Pumpkin Festival Collaboration

Filling a Need to Support a Chain of Economies

 Tourism official praises new book - Contemporary Caribbean tourism









BBC's Fast Track: Destinations

California State University Hospitality & Tourism Management Education Alliance

Caribbean Tourism Organization

CSU Sustainability

CSUN Outdoor Adventures

Discover Los Angeles

Internships & Jobs

Sustainable Travel & Tourism

The Old Harrisonian Society

University of the West Indies, Cave Hill


Department of Recreation & Tourism Management
Redwood Hall, Room 266
Tel (818) 677-3858
Fax (818) 677-2695

Mailing address:
Department of Recreation & Tourism Management
California State University Northridge
18111 Nordhoff St
Northridge, CA 91381-8269





Re/Connecting People With Parks



Contemporary Caribbean tourism: Concepts and cases


by Sherma Roberts, Mechelle Best and Acolla Cameron

"Structured to provide an understanding and analysis of the importance of tourism to the Caribbean, Contemporary Caribbean Tourism stands as a foundational text addressing all of the contemporary realities of Caribbean tourism."



Culture, Heritage & Tourism


Best, M. N. (2016). ‘Freedom Footprints: The Barbados Story’ – A slavery heritage trail. Journal of Heritage Tourism. Dx.doi.org/10.1080/1743873X.2016.1255220


Sugar Heritage and Tourism in Transition

Includes 'The Contested Heritage of Sugar and Slavery at Tourism Attractions in Barbados and St Lucia' by Mechelle N. Best and Winston Phulgence

Sugar heritage



Boston's African American Heritage Trail

"Freedom is a constant struggle"



Museum of African American History



The Way Home: Returning to the National Parks




Where in the World is She?

top green




palm springs

"These fields and hills"