CREST Newsletter | April - June 2018

2018 represents a wonderful milestone for CREST: Our 15-year anniversary! At this time of celebration, we pause to reflect on our legacy. We've worked in destination communities from the beaches of the Caribbean to the mountains of Ethiopia to the deserts of Oman to the canyons of Mexico to the rainforests of Costa Rica, and many places in between. We are grateful for the opportunity to get to know the special people of this world and to help them leverage tourism as a force for good. At a time when our world may seem more divided than ever, our work is more important than ever. Will you help support us? Here's to the next 15 years. Take a look at this snapshot of the past three months as we've furthered our vision to transform the way the world travels.


Oman: CREST and Partners Creating Sustainable Tourism Master Plan


Photo: Traditional Omani fishing boat, James MacGregor

Oman is rapidly becoming an international tourism destination, and CREST is helping to ensure tourism development is sustainable. CREST and consortium partners are developing sustainable tourism master plans for seven tourism clusters along the coast and in the interior region south of the Omani capital, Muscat, for the Ministry of Tourism. The CREST project will cater to a range of travelers interested in nature, adventure, cultural heritage, sun and sand, and eco- tourism activities. Our team is currently in the field; learn more about our progress to date.


Onsite GSTC Destination Assessment Completed in Cozumel, Mexico

In collaboration with World Wildlife Fund and other partners, CREST recently completed a 6-month Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Assessment of the island of Cozumel, Mexico's leading cruise destination. The overall objective was to identify risk areas, key initiatives, and projects to improve sustainable tourism management practices. To assess the destination, CREST applied the GSTC Criteria for Destinations, as well as supplemental indicators contributed by WWF, consistent with WWF’s Marine and Coastal Tourism Strategy. Details on the project are available here.


World Wildlife Fund & CREST Partner on Caribbean Tourism Food Waste Initiative

Photo: Courtesy of World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reports that up to one third of all food globally is wasted, and the tourism industry is a major culprit. After a successful World Wildlife Fund hotel food waste reduction pilot in the U.S., CREST partnered with WWF to better understand the food waste landscape in the Caribbean tourism industry. The final report outlines opportunities to connect the hotel sectors on seven Caribbean islands with food insecure populations, resulting in a reduction of waste and increase in community support. Check out the details of this exciting project.


Rarámuri Tourism Experiences Wins Awards, Launches New Website, and Strengthens Its Community-Run Tours

Photo: Women from Huetosachi, pictured here with field director Daniela, take part in COMALI, the gastronomy fair in Mexico City

Over the last three months, CREST’s project in Chihuahua, Mexico with two indigenous communities, Huetosachi and Bacajipare, has made great strides in promoting and further perfecting their community-based and led tourism experiences. The project applied for and WON the 2018 National Cultural Tourism Award given by SECTUR. Learn more about recent activities that have gotten the important tourism initiative to this poin, and visit the new website.


Analysis of Tourism in Alaska Underway

CREST is in the midst of a short-term project for the Edgerton Foundation to produce two research papers analyzing tourism issues and trends in Alaska, with the aim of providing guidance for how to strengthen the state’s responsible tourism sector. Both studies pay attention to the involvement of Native Alaskans in the tourism sector through native corporations and other means, as well as the challenges and obstacles they face. Read more about this quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Photo: Juneau Cruise Ship Piers, Jill Clardy. Creative Commons.

CREST Launches New Book and New Project in Cuba

In April, the Spanish edition of CREST’s study on lessons learned from 50 years of large-scale cruise tourism in the Caribbean was officially released in Havana, Cuba. The study outlines how Cuba’s burgeoning cruise tourism industry can be developed more sustainably. The eBook, published by Ediciones Temas, one of Cuba's leading publishing houses, is now available for purchase. CREST plans to release an English version in late 2018. In addition, CREST, in partnership with Cuban academics from Havana, Holguín, and Pinar del Rio, has launched a new project in Cuba to examine various aspects of small-scale tourism in Cuba, with a focus on household-based businesses and rural tourism. Additional details are available here.


“Overtourism: Seeking Solutions" Announced as Theme for World Tourism Day Forum


Barcelona, Venice, Machu Picchu, the Great Barrier Reef. Around the world, popular tourist destinations have reached a tipping point. Overcrowding is disrupting daily life, degrading precious natural and historical sites, and impacting the traveler experience. CREST and The George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies (IITS) are co-hosting a 2018 World Tourism Day forum focused on seeking solutions to the growing problem. The September 27 event will take place in Washington, DC and will be live-streamed for maximum participation. Get the details.


Call for Submissions: The "Case for Responsible Travel 2018"

It’s that time of year again, and CREST is beginning to compile our popular annual meta-analysis, “The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics.” This iteration will have special emphasis on solutions to overtourism, as well as consumer, business, and destination trends for responsible travel. As usual, the report will be prepared in collaboration with several respected industry partners. Does your organization want to contribute? Learn more here.


Spring Travel Auction Features Record Number of Platinum Sponsors. Get Involved in August!

Each quarter, we offer transformative travel opportunities to bidders through our Charitybuzz online responsible travel auctions, made possible by generous donations from responsibly-minded hotels and tour operators. All proceeds support our work. Check out the businesses that deserve a tremendous round of applause from our May fundraiser, including the record SEVEN Platinum Sponsors who took part. We're working hard to prepare for our August auction. Will your business join us?


Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort Joins CREST Platinum Sponsors

Photo: Courtesy of Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort

We are proud to announce Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort has joined the ranks of CREST's Platinum Sponsors. Platinum Sponsors exhibit best practices in responsible travel and commit to supporting CREST through auction donations for a period of five years. Hamanasi is a boutique eco-beach resort, nestled between Belize's rich reefs and lush rainforst. Learn more about how Hamanasi works to be a responsible member of their community and natural surroundings.


Platinum Sponsor Q&A: Kasbah du Toubkal

Morocco's Kasbah du Toubkal, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, has just celebrated its second year of Platinum Sponsorship with CREST. We caught up with the staff of the Kasbah to tell you more about its inspiring story and why it's special. Check it out.

Photo: A guest interacts with the Berber community, Kasbah du Toubkal

Welcome to the Team, Rebekah!

CREST is pleased to announce the addition of Rebekah Stewart to our team. Rebekah joins us as the Communications and Outreach Manager, starting mid-July. She comes to CREST from the Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit that provides legal and social services to immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence. Learn more about her fascinating background and how responsible travel has shaped her perspective.


A Warm Summer Welcome to Our New Interns

There is no better way to reaffirm the importance of responsible travel and CREST’s work than by contributing to and learning from our student researchers. This summer, three new individuals will be coming on board: Emma-louise, Kyle, and Shelby. Get to know them here.


Latest CARE Initiatives Shining Examples of Destination Stewardship


CARE (Creating A Responsible Environment) for the Cape and Islands, a CREST-sponsored nonprofit in Cape Cod, recently hosted its annual CARE for the Cape Day. Over 50 eager volunteers pitched in with preparing the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center for summer visitation. CARE is also thrilled to have collaborated on the recently published “A Guide to the Best Ponds on Cape Cod AND the Best Ways of Preserving Them” with Susan Baur, author of the Turtle Sisters childrens book series. More details here.


CREST Shares Its Experience


In addtion to our field work and studies, CREST makes it a priority to get out there and exchange knowledge to advance responsible travel. In the past few months, we've done this in several venues: the Department of Commerce Earth Day Fair, the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) annual conference and "Sustainable Urban Tourism Policies and Strategies" meeting in Barcelona, the Oregon Marine Reserves Summit, a Ford Foundation grantees meeting on Cuba policy, and a presentation highlighting lessons learned from our new cruise tourism book on a panel at the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development. Learn more about our participation in these events.


Industry Announcements

There are some incredible responsible travel opportunities and resources available this summer. Check out these industry announcements, including information on Impact Travel Alliance's July 13 Impact Travel Immersion event in New York, Skål International's call for entries for the 2018 Sustainable Tourism Awards, G Adventures and Planeterra's new informative and practical Child Welfare Guidelines, and Basecamp Explorer's newest partnership with the Maasai community through the Leopard Hill safari lodge.


CREST in the News

We were featured in the media quite a lot recently, commenting on subjects ranging from sustainable and climate-resilient tourism in the Caribbean to consumer demand for environmentally-friendly travel. You'll find links to, and brief explanations about, five articles and one podcast here.


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.