The World Travel & Tourism Council recently reported that 2017 was a banner year for international travel. It grew by 4.6 percent, which was 50 percent more than the global economy as a whole. It also created seven million, or one in every five, new jobs. In fact, it was the fastest-growing economic sector worldwide, beating out manufacturing, agriculture, and financial services. Good news, right? Not necessarily. Higher profits aren't always distributed appropriately, and millions of people are still working for barely livable wages. Which is why CREST, focused on transforming the way the world travels, is working hard to help destination communities strike a balance. This newsletter will catch you up on how we've been doing that these past three months.
The first quarter of 2018 hasn't been a good one for U.S.-Cuba relations. A new State Department advisory system still discourages U.S. citizens from visiting Cuba, and the staff at the U.S. Embassy in Havana remains skeletal. But CREST and the advocacy coalition it spearheads have continued to provide the American public with information that helps potentional travelers make informed choices about traveling to Cuba, which remains both safe and legal. You can read about our meeting with State Department officials, the results of a tour-operator survey, and a petition signed by close to 40 organizations here.
Advocacy is far from CREST's only work with regard to Cuba. Among our many projects focused on the island nation is a cruise study we co-authored with academics in Cuba, covering the impacts of a half-cenutry of cruise tourism in the Caribbean. Aside from offering an in-depth analysis, it recommends ways in which Cuba might manage its own cruise sector in the coming years. For more on that study, click here.
2017 was not only a great year for international travel; it was great for CREST's fundraising autions as well. Read about how they helped beef up our staff — enabling us to focus even more on fulfilling our mission — and the crucial role played by our Platinum Sponsors.
As a follow-up to our extremely successful World Tourism Day forum focused on the UN's Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development in 2017, CREST has come up with a theme for this year's forum, which will take place, once again, on September 27 — overtourism. Click here for more information.
For four years now, CREST and its partners have been working closely with two Rarámuri communities in northern Mexico to help them set up tourism business offering authentic experiences. There have been plenty of challenges along the way, but Rarámuri Tourism Experiences is thriving as it continues to grow. Read the latest here.
The Lodge at Pico Bonito is one of the main reasons people visit Honduras. But after almost two decades of operation, its owners can no longer maintain the eco-tourism business. If the lodge goes, the wildlife and environment it protects will be in jeopardy. Investment is urgently needed. Learn how you can help.
One of our many responsibilities is sharing with others — whether they're travelers, tourism industry experts, academics, or state officials, among others — the information we've gathered from our studies and field work. Over the past three months, we've presented to audiences in New York City, online, and in Guyana. For details, click here.
In mid-June, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council will conduct a training class in Washington, D.C., for professionals focused on sustainable tourism. Online courses are also available from April through November, and a special discount is being offered for readers of this newsletter. For all the details, read this.
CREST is always on the lookout for partners whose missions overlap with ours, and over the past three months, we've been fortunate enough to find two — the diversity-focused Travel Unity and Na'atik, a nonprofit language school and cultural institute in Mexico. Read more about them, and our joint projects, here.
Destination Stewardship Center (DSC) is not a new CREST partner; we've been working together for years. But DSC recently drew back the curtain on an exciting new project, one that shows viewers sustainable destinations through travelers' eyes. First stop: Sierra Gorda. Click here to watch different versions of the video and learn more.
Her name is Kelsey Frenkiel, whom we're very happy to have aboard. For background on Kelsey and what she'll be doing for CREST, check this out.
CREST is fortunate to have four interns working with us this season, one from the States, one from South Korea, and two from Ecuador. And all four are passionate about travel and their work with us. Without further ado, here they are.
One of our interns, Alex Hessinger, delved into Greek philosophy as a youngster. So when he was old enough to travel on his own, Greece was at the top of his destination list. While the islands certainly inspired him, their handling of tourism did not. Read how Plato, in particular, helped him begin to come up with sustainable solutions.
CARE (Creating A Responsible Environment) for the Cape and Islands, a CREST-sponsored nonprofit, is seeking a summer intern to help, primarily, with its marketing and promotional efforts. If you or someone you know might be interested, check here for more details.
We love our Platinum Sponsors. They promise, for five years in a row, to support our fundraising travel auctions by donating amazing tour packages. Plus, they practice sustainability from top to bottom. This issue's Q&As feature Hotel El Ganzo, in Los Cabos, Mexico, and Bodhi Surf & Yoga, in Bahia Ballena, Costa Rica. We let them do the talking here.
CREST's annual publication provides readers with snapshots of the previous year's work as well as those of years past, going all the way back to our founding. To take a look at the 2017 version, click here.
We were featured in the media quite a bit over the past three months, commenting on subjects ranging from the meaning of "travel philanthropy" to the challenges of current U.S.-Cuba relations to the need for higher safety standards when it comes to traveling abroad. You'll find links to, and brief explanations about, five articles here.