Every year on World Tourism Day, we host a forum focused on pressing issues facing the tourism industry. These forums are heavily solutions-oriented, inviting practitioners to discuss the successes and obstacles they have faced in implementing tourism solutions.

Tourism in a Climate Crisis

This year, CREST is partnering with Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency to host our fifth annual World Tourism Day Forum. The virtual event will focus on helping key sectors bridge the disconnect between the goals destinations, accommodations, and tour operators are told they must meet when it comes to mitigating the climate crisis, and the action steps needed to take.

Martha Honey Legacy in Responsible Travel Award

The inaugural Legacy in Responsible Travel Award was made in 2019 to Dr. Martha Honey on the occasion of her retirement to honor her incredible leadership and accomplishments in responsible travel. At that time, the CREST Board of Directors decided to make this an annual award to someone in the global tourism industry making a significant difference in pushing the envelope in responsible travel.

2020 Awardee: Judy Kepher-Gona

In September, CREST’s Board of Directors and staff were honored to announce the second annual recipient of the Martha Honey Legacy in Responsible Travel Award: Judy Kepher-Gona, Founder and Principal Consultant at Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda, in Kenya, Africa.

Judy Kepher-Gona is a thought leader in sustainable tourism with more than 20 years of experience as a champion for responsible tourism in Africa and beyond. From setting up Africa’s first ecotourism society to working with countless communities in tourism and conservation, Judy’s contribution to sustainable tourism transcends continents. She has dedicated her career to a pioneering model of ecotourism worldwide.

“This recognition is a much-needed boost to my commitment to stand up for responsible travel. A renewal,” Kepher-Gona relays. “Until the last tourism company responds. Until the last traveler responds. Until the last DMO & DMC responds. Until global tourism organizations respond. Until tourism media responds. Until policymakers and investors respond to the call for responsible travel; I have my work cut out.”

The 2020 Legacy Award was presented in September to Judy in Nairobi by CREST Board member Melissa Biggs-Bradley.

Previous Event Details

CREST’s 2020 meta-analysis, The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics, shares key studies on COVID-19 and climate change and the lessons that may be applied from the former to meet the challenges of the latter.

This 2020 World Tourism Day Webinar shared the report’s key findings and brought together experts to discuss consumer, business, and destination trends in the context of recovery.

Distinguished speakers explored the unprecedented opportunity to mitigate two existential threats, climate change and COVID-19, with one coordinated approach, truly making the world a safer, more equitable, and more resilient place for all.

Impact tourism is not about collecting loose change for charities. Rather, it is about integrating business and visitor support for local communities into the core definition of responsible travel. The 2019 World Tourism Day Forum focused on successful travel giving programs for a wide range of businesses and destination types.

Recognizing that doing good does not always mean doing right, the forum also examined the downsides of inappropriately implemented travel giving and voluntourism programs.

The forum also traced the evolution of what was originally referred to as travelers’ philanthropy into Impact Tourism, which today represents a broad array of travel giving programs.

This forum was presented by CREST and Organization of American States.

We define overtourism as tourism that has moved beyond the limits of acceptable change in a destination due to quantity of visitors, resulting in degradation of the environment and infrastructure, diminished travel experience, wear and tear on built heritage, and/or negative impacts on residents.

Around the world, popular tourist destinations have reached a tipping point. A growing middle class, improved connectivity, and the desire of people to see the world means that popular destinations are becoming over-saturated. The phenomenon called ‘overtourism’ has led to civic protests and residents demanding that ‘tourists go home.’

This 2018 World Tourism Day Forum was designed to reflect on the root causes of overtourism, but more importantly, to share viable solutions from thought leaders working on the front lines. This included public sector destination managers and private sector tourism providers. Panel discussions focused on the various types of destinations confronting overtourism: historic cities, national parks, and protected areas, World Heritage Sites, coastal and beach communities, and national and regional destinations.

This forum was presented by CREST and the George Washington Institute for International Tourism Studies.

The CREST/UN Environment forum was designed to showcase the importance of the UN’s declaration of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This invitation-only, day-long event took place on World Tourism Day, September 27, 2017, at the UN Foundation in Washington, DC.

The event featured panels covering the five key areas identified by the UNWTO for this international year. Each one-hour panel was moderated by a well-known journalist and included two presenters giving exemplary and inspiring case studies. In their 8-10 minute talks, presenters showed short videos of their work and reflected on both their successes and challenges. Case studies were drawn from North America, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The journalist/moderator for each panel ensured ample time for audience discussion after each set of presentations.