CREST Newsletter | October - December 2018

As we reflect on 2018 – CREST’s 15-year anniversary – we are inspired and humbled by the connections we’ve made through travel. We are so grateful for your support of our mission and look forward to continuing to promote environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism in the year ahead. This final CREST newsletter of 2018 provides a range of updates on our work to transform the way the world travels.

As a nonprofit, CREST’s programming is made possible by people like you. We hope you will select CREST as a worthy organization to support as this year comes to a close. Make your tax-deductible donation today to invest in travel that protects the environment and helps destination communities thrive.

CREST Sponsors Cubans on South-South Ecotourism Study Tour to Costa Rica

In mid-November, CREST organized and hosted an Ecotourism Study Tour to Costa Rica for six Cubans from Pinar del Rio province. The tour group included tourism professors, a provincial official, and the director of an agroforestry institute. The itinerary was designed to resonate with issues Cuba is facing in developing its tourism sector to be both economically successful and environmentally and socially responsible. In addition, the Cuban academics shared their own research projects with their Costa Rica colleagues during the tour, thus ensuring a two-way dialogue and learning exchange. Check out the details of this study tour, which was an overwhelming success!

CREST’s Cuba Advocacy: Supporting Educational and People-to-People Travel

CREST has continued to engage in critically-needed policy advocacy on U.S. travel to Cuba this fall. In November, members of a CREST-led coalition of tour operators and Cuba experts met with State Department officials to express concern about the expansion of the Department’s Cuba Restricted List, and this month, we’ve conducted outreach to the State Department and the National Security Council. Learn more about our Cuba advocacy work.

Oman: Sustainable Tourism Master Planning Project

Over the last three months, CREST has continued to work hard on its largest and most complex current project, the development of a sustainable tourism master plan for South Al Sharqiyah region in Oman. The South Al Sharqiyah Governorate in Oman is one of the most, if not the most, diverse regions in the country, situated at the intersection of the rugged eastern Hajar Mountains, the Oman Sea and the Arabian Sea, the Sharqiyah Sands, and Oman’s largest island, Masirah. Read more about this fascinating region and our sustainable tourism master plan, to be completed by June 2019.

CREST’s Raramuri Experiences Project Completes Successful First Year of Operation

With tourism expanding in the Copper Canyon region of Chihuahua, Mexico, CREST’s Raramuri Experiences project with two indigenous communities is providing a unique addition to the typical adventure tourism at the Barrancas del Cobre Adventure Park. The communities of Bacajipare and Huetosachi are successfully completing their first year of offering indigenous-led tours to visitors. Hundreds of tourists have taken part in cooking and handicraft experiences with women in Huetosachi and in hikes and storytelling with trained guides from Bacajipare. The project has also attracted media, won several awards, and been chosen by the Chihuahua State Tourism Department as an outstanding example of responsible cultural tourism. Learn more about this milestone year for the project.

New Directions for CREST’s Academic Affiliates Program

CREST’s Academic Affiliates program, launched in 2016 with 18 members, now includes 33 leading tourism academics from all over the world. Through this program, CREST actively engages professors in CREST studies, projects, conferences, workshops, and publications, with the purpose of encouraging policy-oriented and academically rigorous responsible travel research. Due to the program’s success, CREST has enacted a structured application process for new members and is looking to add value to the program through varied benefits for tourism academics. For more information on the program and the application process, please contact Kelsey Frenkiel and view the program description on our website.

CREST and Steller Launch Positive Impact Trip Contest

Exciting news! CREST has partnered with social media community to launch a Positive Impact Trip storytelling contest. Tell us your story of making a difference through travel using the Steller app, and you could win a one-week trip to Bodhi Surf + Yoga in Costa Rica. A wide range of stories about traveling sustainably, giving back to local communities, engaging with local cultures, and protecting the environment are encouraged. Read more about this contest.

CREST Becomes a Nonprofit Partner of 1% for the Planet

We’re thrilled to share that CREST has become a nonprofit partner of 1% for the Planet, a global organization that connects dollars and doers to accelerate smart environmental giving. Started in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, and Craig Mathews, founder of Blue Ribbon Flies, 1% for the Planet connects thoughtful businesses and individuals to its network of vetted, trusted nonprofits around the world. To learn more about 1% for the Planet, and to join the movement, visit

Responsible Travel Companies Make CREST Holiday Auction Resounding Success

Support from 22 hotels and tour operators helped CREST end 2018 on a high note with a diverse and impressive Holiday Travel Auction offering. Net proceeds from the auction will support CREST’s work to transform the way the world travels as we kick off our 2019 programming. Check out our Holiday Travel Auction donors and contact Samantha Bray for information about participating in our Valentine’s Day Travel Auction.

Three Long-Time Supporters Become Platinum Sponsors

CREST warmly welcomes three long-time supporters of our work as Platinum Sponsors: Green Roof Inn, Isle of Reefs Tours, and VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations! Platinum Sponsors are dedicated to supporting CREST’s work for a total of five years. Learn more about these inspiring companies working to support the people and environment of their communities.

Welcome, Dahye!

CREST is excited to welcome program and research intern Dahye Youn to the team through June. Dahye currently studies social sciences at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Korea. She comes to CREST through an exchange program called KOREA WEST. Prior to her internship at CREST, she worked in fundraising with Save the Children and Amnesty International. To learn more about our interns, visit our team page.

Impact all’Italiana

Having spent almost two years in Italy, CREST intern Shelby Luzzi had plenty of time to learn about Renaissance ideals. In this piece, she reflects on the linkages between Bocaccio’s Decameron and creating an impact through tourism.

Updates from CARE for the Cape & Islands

Marianne Swain, Lucy Swain (Stewardship Winner), and Jill Talladay (CARE Director)

It’s been a busy fall for CARE for the Cape and Islands, a fiscally sponsored program of CREST. From preserving the cultural heritage of the region to reducing single-use plastic to convening the first “CARE About a Clean Cape and Islands Summit,” CARE has been hard at work to help sustain Cape Cod and the Islands’ ecosystem, culture, and heritage. Read more about CARE for the Cape and Islands’ recent initiatives.

CREST Shares Its Experience

CREST’s Martha Honey with Phocuswright panelists Matt Curtis, Troy Flanagan, Dan Christian, and moderator Seema Mody

In addition to our field work and studies, CREST makes it a priority to get out there and exchange knowledge to advance responsible travel. We recently had the opportunity to share our expertise at Georgetown University, Penn State University, The Phocuswright Conference, and Washington University in St. Louis. Learn more about our presentations on overtourism, impact tourism, and cruise tourism.

Industry Announcements

The past few months have brought many exciting updates from responsible travel companies and organizations. Check out these industry announcements, including Basecamp Explorer Kenya’s 20th anniversary in Masai Mara, a special offer on water purifiers from GRAYL, a new sustainability app from MilkCrate, an Indigenous Ecotourism Summit convened by Tides Canada, and G Adventures’ recently-launched child welfare campaign.

CREST in the News

CREST recently discussed overtourism and sustainability in several high-profile news outlets, including the Washington Post and Condé Nast Traveler. Check out articles featuring our work.

CREST is a licensed 501(c)3 in the District of Columbia. Want to help us to transform the way the world travels? Support our work here.