Director of Research & Programs

Ellen Rugh is the Director of Research & Programs at the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), where she conducts workshops, research, and fieldwork primarily for CREST’s Latin America and Caribbean project portfolio. Ellen currently oversees CREST’s work in Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Mexico. Her work has included a critical analysis of the cruise industry’s impact on local communities and ecosystems in cruising destinations, with specific emphasis on Caribbean ports-of-call. She also spearheads the Destination Stewardship Center’s A1 Councils research, identifying and profiling exemplary cases of holistic destination management.

Since 2015, Ellen has championed responsible tourism practices as a tool for sustainable development and environmental and cultural protection.  She is a LEED Green Associate and a specialist in project logistics, qualitative research analysis, capacity training, stakeholder outreach and engagement, and fundraising. She speaks English and Spanish and has completed a dual M.A. degree in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC, and in Natural Resources & Sustainable Development from the University for Peace in Costa Rica.