The Center for Resposible Travel (CREST) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit public charity, and the majority of our work is funded by donations and grants. To make a secure, tax-deductible donation to CREST, please click here.
Ecotourism Charter Club
We believe that ecotourism, when done well, provides a vacation experience superior to conventional and mass tourism. CREST Charter Club trips are designed for a small group of individuals with a passion for high quality travel that provides benefits to the environment and host communities. To develop a trip, please contact CREST executive director, Martha Honey.
Tel:202-347-9203 ex. 413
In September 2006, we began the first Ecotourism Study tour with a visit to Costa Rica, a model for today's Charter Club trips. The visit was designed to demonstrate firsthand how ecolodges provide tangible benefits through environmental innovation, education, and community engagement. Moreover, the trip was intended to convey the principles of ecotourism through a mix of field outings, presentations, and interactive discussions.
We viewed that first tour as a step towards building a solid foundation of individuals and institutions who understand the ecotourism “model” and are committed to helping support it through the work of CREST and other similar organizations involved in the sustainable travel industry.
Past Ecotourism Study Trips
December 2008: Tanzania
On our last coordinated trip, we brought our travelers on safari in Tanzania with &Beyond, one of the world's premier safari companies. The trip included wildlife viewing in some of Tanzania's famous game parks, visits to community projects and the Olduvai Gorge archaeological site, stays in luxury ecolodges, and talks by scientists, naturalist guides, ecotourism experts, and Maasai elders and activists.
The trip was designed to complement our 2008 Travelers' Philanthropy conference in Arusha, Tanzania.
January 2008: Bahamas
On this Charter Club trip, participants had the chance to enjoy the stunning natural beauty of South Andros Islands' unspoiled paradise, while learning about local ecology, conservation challenges, and the business model of ecotourism. Like both of our past study tours, this trip included a mix of outdoor activities, engaging presentations, good food and good company, as well as time to relax, and interactive discussions about the state of the sustainable travel industry.
For an inside look at the setting of Tiamo Resort, please visit their website: www.tiamoresorts.com
August 2007: Montana
In 2007, the Charter Club was treated to an insider's look at a historic and innovative ranch located just 40 minutes from Yellowstone National Park. Roger Lang and Cindy Lang, then Co-owners of The Lodge at Sun Ranch, granted us a behind-the-scenes look at their work in sustainable cattle ranching, resource conservation, community engagement, and culinary innovation. Although just 6 years old, the lodge had won numerous prestigious awards for excellence, including the 2005 Conde Nast Traveler’s “Green List” honoree for “preserving natural surroundings, contributing to the local culture, and providing a rich guest experience" and the National Geographic Traveler’s exclusive “A-List Deals.” While there, we engaged in discussions of our Center's work and the broader concepts of ecotourism and sustainable travel, and we benefitted greatly from the wise input of Charter Club participants.
September 2006: Costa Rica
We led our inaugural Charter Club trip to the luxurious and environmentally responsible Lapa Rios Ecolodge in Costa Rica. The trip began with presentations on the status of ecotourism in Costa Rica, by Carlos Roesch (ex-Minister of Tourism for Costa Rica), Lawrence Pratt (Associate Director at INCAE Business School), and Ronald Sanabria (Sustainable Tourism Manager of Rainforest Alliance). Ecolodge owners Glenn Jampol (Finca Rosa Blanca) and Karen Lewis (then owner of Lapa Rios) then demonstrated how environmental and community-focused principles are put in practice at their sites through behind-the-scenes sustainable practices and philanthropic community involvement.
Yale professor Michael Conroy shared his insights on the potential for social change through international ecotourism certification, after which Martha Honey and William Durham discussed the role that our Center and others have in maintaining and transforming international ecotourism.