Over the last two decades, Dr. Honey has written and lectured widely on ecotourism, Travelers' Philanthropy, cruise and resort tourism, and certification issues. Her books include Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? (Island Press, 1999 and 2008) and Ecotourism and Certification: Setting Standards in Practice (Island Press, 2002). She is currently writing a book on coastal and cruise tourism (Selling Sunshine, Island Press, 2016). Previously, Honey worked for 20 years as a journalist based in East Africa (Tanzania) and Central America (Costa Rica). She holds a Ph.D. in African history from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She was Executive Director of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) from 2003 to 2006. Honey was profiled in Branded!, Michael Conroy's book on certification (New Society Publishers, 2007) and was named one of the world's Top 10 eco- and sustainable-travel "watchdogs" by Condé Nast Traveler in 2008.
Samantha Bray is the managing director at the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), providing administrative, research, and consulting support for a wide-range of sustainable tourism projects. A native of the rural Missouri, she grew up with an appreciation for the charm of small-town communities and the unspoiled environment. This, combined with the opportunity to travel internationally and throughout the United States during her childhood, had a profound impact on Samantha's view of global citizenship and the power of sense of place. Also a lover of performing and visual arts and their contribution to culture, Samantha earned a degree in Entertainment Management, with an emphasis in performing arts management, from Missouri State University.
During her time at Missouri State, Samantha also had the opportunity to become one of the world's first students of geotourism. She went on to apprentice under Jonathan Tourtellot, the director of the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, and obtain a Master of Tourism Administration from the George Washington University School of Business, with a concentration in sustainable destination development. She is a strong advocate for sustaining and enhancing our world’s cultures and environments through travel, and using tourism as a mechanism for community empowerment. Samantha is a trained Climate Reality Leader.
Rich Shea is a former journalist who, for the past 10 years, has focused on helping nonprofits promote their missions and raise funds. He began a 20-year career in journalism as a beat reporter, then quickly rose through the ranks to become an arts-and-entertainment editor at The Princeton Packet, a managing editor at New Times Broward/Palm Beach and, finally, executive editor at Teacher Magazine, which was nominated for a National Magazine Award in general excellence under his tutelage.
Since 2007, Rich has worked solely for nonprofits. He has co-founded blogs and written and edited blog and social media posts, newsletters, annual reports and case statements. He's also scripted messaging for email and online solicitations, speeches, marketing materials and annual campaigns. Most recently, as its associate director of communications, he helped the Foundation Fighting Blindness raise $110 million over a two-year period for research targeting retinal diseases.
A Washington, D.C. resident, Rich is a frequent traveler who immerses himself in the language, culture, arts and cuisine of foreign lands. In the past five years alone, he's visited 12 countries, including Turkey, Denmark, Spain, Cambodia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
Ximena is a sustainable and community-based tourism specialist. Originally from Bolivia, she worked with several international organizations there prior to moving to Washington, DC, including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Asociación Hombre y Naturaleza Bolivia. She has also worked with local Bolivian government at state and municipal levels. Ximena provides best-practice training courses for tour guides and others involved in rural and community base tourism and helps to develop the tourism product. Currently, she is leading CREST's project on community-based tourism in Chihuahua, México. She holds a Master's degree in Sustainable Tourism Management from UCI (Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional), in San José, Costa Rica. Ximena is fluent in Spanish and English.
Originally from New Jersey, Kelsey completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology at the College of William & Mary in 2016. During this time she focused mainly on Archaeology, but studied other diverse topics such as Museum Studies, American History, and Primate Behavior. She pursued her interest in primates by interning for the Jane Goodall Institute in 2015 both in Brussels, Belgium and the U.S. headquarters. She explored this interest even further by attending a Master’s program in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University, completing her degree in September 2017.
During her time in Oxford, she developed an interest in the utilization of ecotourism as a tool for primate conservation, and carried out field work in Java, Indonesia with the Little Fireface Project for her dissertation research. She joined the CREST team as an intern in November 2017 and was promoted to a full-time staff member in February 2018. She is passionate about the sustainable tourism industry and its intersection with wildlife conservation. In her spare time, she writes and reads, plays softball and practices jiu jitsu, votes, and is learning how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle.
Gabriela Cicenia is a PhD candidate in International Economics and Tourism at the University of Valencia (Spain). As part of her program, she is doing a fellowship at The George Washington University during the summer of 2017. While in Washington, she is also interning at the Center for Responsible Travel.
Many years ago, she decided to travel to Spain to study tourism and realized through her studies that her birth country (Ecuador) had a lot to offer to the world. At only 16 years old, she thought Sustainable Tourism could be a way for a developing country to improve societal needs and at the same time create jobs for local people.
After she finished her undergraduate degree, she returned to Ecuador to search for her next steps. After working in the country for a while, she decided to continue her studies in Spain in order to be more prepared. While she was studying her Master’s she learned about Planning of Tourism, and she began to understand subjects like Governance, Sustainable Tourism, Statistics, and Tourism Policy.
In 2014 she started her PhD in Valencia. Now, as an International Economics and Tourism Ph.D. student, she is extremely interested in gaining experience in the field of Sustainable and Responsible Travel. An internship at CREST is providing her the opportunity to apply this knowledge in an international organization, as well as develop the communication, organization, and research skills she has acquired through her work experience.
Soyun is presently an undergraduate student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (in Seoul, South Korea), double majoring in Spanish and Political Science.
She spent a semester abroad in Mexico studying Anthropology, which is where her eagerness to take responsible actions, as well as her deep connection to the natural world, began.
While traveling around Mexico, she was fascinated by rich history and cultural diversity. At the same time, she was first introduced to severe realities such as the poverty of indigenous people and the downfall of cultural integrity. This served as the catalyst for her interest in responsible travel.
As she is also a lover of animals and nature, she is greatly passionate about geotourism, preserving bio-diversity, and reducing negative impacts on the environment.
During her time with CREST, she hopes to gain a deeper understanding of long-term trends of “sustainable tourism” and collaborative actions needed for all actors who are involved in tourism, including but not limited to governments, the media, NGOs, local businesses, and the indigenous and local communities.
She is planning either to study responsible tourism in depth in graduate school or work in an international organization, as she wants to contribute to a more responsible and environmentally cognizant society.
Ellen is a Philadelphia native and alumni of Penn State University. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in International Affairs and Natural Resources/Sustainable Development from American University in Washington, DC and the University for Peace in Costa Rica. As a youth, her travels abroad taught her invaluable lessons in sustainability and tourism: the respect for creativity in utilizing local resources, the importance of quality food and clean water, and a sensitivity to different life styles. This cemented her desire to continue to explore world cultures, and she began to take a serious interest in sustainable tourism during her undergraduate years of college. During her time at Penn State, she had the opportunity to research the impacts of tourism in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, as well as complete an undergraduate thesis, analyzing ecotourism and water sustainability models in Costa Rica and Panama. Through her research, she was able to engage with officials from the Organization of American States, Costa Rican Embassy, Panama Chamber of Tourism, as well as various in-country ecolodge operators.
Ellen is thrilled to continue her studies in sustainable tourism and to help spread awareness for smart travel practices with the rest of the CREST team.
Alex was born in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, but moved at an early age to Quito, Ecuador, where he grew up. His family had a small lodge in the Amazon, where he spent most of his time. He obtained a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in culinary arts at USFQ. He lived in New York where he was part of Avroko Hospitality group, managed two restaurants, and opened a speak easy bar, which is ranked top 10 in the nation. Alex later became a coffee roaster and barista, managed a coffee shop called COFFEED, and worked closely with Brooklyn Grange, which is one of the few rooftop farms in the city. He later on moved to Hawaii, where he had the chance of growing coffee and helping run a small B&B. After this experience, he worked closely with the tree industry and learned about sustainable practices for gardens and landscaping in the state of Florida.
Currently, Alex is pursuing a masters degree in Sustainable Development at School for International Training in Washington, DC. He is passionate about traveling, literature, food, and learning from others. His future plan is to integrate sustainable practices into the hospitality industry and to work as a restaurateur that helps businesses create revenue, while at the same time creating social good.
Nicole is originally from Juneau, Alaska, and is currently obtaining an undergraduate degree in tourism management. She then plans to either enter law school and focus on environmental policy and conservation law or enter graduate school and obtain a masters in sustainable tourism. As and adult, Nicole has lived in seven states across the U.S. and has held all types of jobs within the hospitality and tourism industry. Alaska is what sparked her interest in sustainable tourism, based on the need that she saw there. Nicole is looking forward to utilizing her internship at CREST to get a first hand look at helping communities create more sustainable plans that encourage a more immersive kind of travel. In her spare time, she likes to cuddle up with her three dogs, read, adventure outside, and travel as much as she can.
Jill is the director of CARE for the Cape & Islands, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She received her Bachelor of Science in Food, Hotel and Tourism Management from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work in the hotel industry brought her to Boston and Cape Cod 25 years ago where she fell in love with the ocean. She was Sales Director for Group Tour Magazine representing New England and Eastern Canada for fifteen years. Jill is Past President and Scholarship Chair of Cape Cod Hospitality Marketing Association.
She founded and led Single Volunteers of Cape Cod for five years, connecting volunteers with local nonprofit organizations. A growing concern for the wellbeing of her surroundings sent her back to school to earn her Master of Tourism Administration, Sustainable Destination Management from The George Washington University. Her degree and an internship with CREST led her to found CARE (Creating A Responsible Environment) for the Cape and Islands in 2012, a Travelers' Philanthropy program committed to engaging others in the stewardship and long-term sustainability of our region. CREST is its fiscal sponsor.
Jill is an Adjunct Instructor at Cape Cod Community College, co-chair of her town’s Recycling and Solid Waste Committee, an advocate to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and most recently, Jill has been trained as a Climate Reality Leader through Al Gore's Climate Reality Project.