2019 has been off to an exciting start at CREST. Our first newsletter of the year shares a wealth of updates, from a successful press teleconference on U.S. travel to Cuba to a milestone reached in our Oman project to a new opportunity to lead the CREST team. During this time of transition and promise for CREST, we’d like to thank you – our partners and supporters – for your continued commitment to our work to promote environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism.
After more than 15 years of visionary leadership, CREST’s founding executive director, Martha Honey, has announced her plans to retire as executive director in mid to late 2019. We at CREST are deeply grateful for Martha's unflagging dedication to our mission to promote responsible tourism and commitment to transforming the way the world travels.
Martha's successor will inherit an innovative, impact-oriented organization that is poised for future success. If you or someone you know might be interested in applying to lead CREST, we encourage you to view the job description and contact Samantha Bray, CREST’s Managing Director, with any questions. Applications are due by Sunday, April 14. Learn more.
CREST has been hard at work in 2019 to correct public misconceptions about American travel to Cuba and promote educational and people-to-people travel to the island. In February 2019, CREST partnered with the Ford Foundation to successfully host a conference call for media that explained the realities of U.S. travel to Cuba and shared upcoming events planned in Cuba for 2019. During the call, CREST also released the results of our latest survey of U.S. tour operators and other service providers that offer trips to Cuba. Learn more about CREST’s recent Cuba advocacy and outreach efforts.
In the coming months, CREST will co-host two sustainable tourism workshops in Cuba. The first of these will be held on the eastern end of the island in Holguín in April, and the other will take place on the western tip of the island in Pinar del Río in June. CREST has invited a group of highly-regarded academics and tourism practitioners to share their insights and experiences during the conferences. Check out the details of these two critical learning exchanges in Cuba.
In March, CREST and our partners received word that Oman’s Ministry of Tourism had officially accepted the latest version of our Stage Two report for the South Al Sharqiyah Governorate Tourism Master Plan. This 500-page report includes detailed descriptions and landscape architectural renderings for six distinct tourism clusters or zones, 14 high priority projects, and a long list of additional projects outlined for each cluster. Tourism growth in the beautiful South Al Sharqiyah region has been modest to date because of the limited choice in accommodation, activities, and marketing. But with this master plan, the region is on the cusp of change centered on sustainable development. Learn more about CREST’s four-stage project in Oman.
As the Copper Canyon, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, moves into its high tourism season, the two indigenous communities that are part of CREST’s Raramuri Experiences project are continuing to receive more reservations and to expand their outreach and marketing at the national and regional level. During the first three months of 2019, the project leaders in the communities of Bacajipare and Huetosachi worked on refining their interpretive signage and to translate it into English. In addition, staff running the Copper Canyon’s popular Adventure Park tramway are now promoting the interpretative hikes led by CREST trained guides from Bacajipare. The kitchen and handicraft experience group in Huetosachi continues to receive media attention and was recently invited to join Mexico’s “Alianza para la Tortilla” network. Read more updates from our indigenous tourism project in Chihuahua.
CREST looks forward to having two new books published in the months ahead. In late June, the English-language version of CREST’s study of 50 years of lessons learned from cruise tourism in the Caribbean will be released by Routledge Press. This seminal book outlines how Cuba’s burgeoning cruise tourism industry can be developed more sustainably and shares important learnings from the region. CREST is also currently working on a book of essays and case studies on overtourism, to be distributed by Island Press. Learn more about these new CREST resources.
CREST will once again release its annual Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics report to coincide with World Tourism Day on September 27. This will mark the seventh edition of the meta-analysis, which synthesizes the latest surveys, reports, and data available on the topic of responsible travel. As usual, this year’s report will cover consumer, business, and destination trends. In addition, the report will focus in on impact tourism, defined by CREST as the tourism industry and travelers working together with local organizations to contribute time, talent, and treasure to community projects beyond what is generated through the normal tourism business. If you would like to share any data, surveys, reports, or examples for consideration, please email them to Ellen Rugh by Thursday, June 27. Check out more details about this year’s edition of Trends & Statistics.
In July 2018, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba began implementing a food waste reduction pilot program based on the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Hotel|Kitchen platform. Tracking of this initiative revealed that almost 30% of food waste was eliminated before and during service to guests, even while Bucuti & Tara maintained a 97% year-round occupancy rate. Through this pilot, which was conducted as part of CREST and WWF’s food waste project in the Caribbean, Bucuti & Tara shows how a resort can implement responsible food management policies, save time and money in the process, and simultaneously deliver a memorable vacation experience. Read more about how Bucuti & Tara achieved these exemplary results.
CREST recently released our 2018 Milestones report, highlighting our responsible tourism projects around the world. This special 15th anniversary edition of Milestones showcases not only the innovative projects and publications we've undertaken over the last year, but also throughout our 15-year history. We invite you to read our latest Milestones report to learn more about how we've worked to transform the way the world travels since 2003.
CREST is thrilled to share that Andy Austin has won a trip to CREST Platinum Sponsor Bodhi Surf + Yoga in Costa Rica through our Positive Impact Trip Contest. Andy was selected as the contest winner for his inspiring story of delivering bikes to rural communities in Jordan, which can be viewed on the Steller social media platform. We at CREST are deeply grateful to our contest supporters and to all the participants for sharing your travel stories with us!
CREST is excited to welcome our newest interns for Spring, Kaitie Worobec, Ellen Rugh, Taylor Ruoff, and Anam Khan. Learn more about these members of the CREST team, who are working on programs, research, and communications.
Through her participation in the Korean government internship program Korea WEST, CREST program & research intern Da-hye Youn has spent the past nine months in large U.S. cities such as New York and Washington, DC. In this essay, Da-hye shares her thoughts on the importance of cultural preservation in urban areas and discusses the problem of gentrification in Seoul, South Korea, New York City, and Washington.
CREST’s internship program provides real-life sustainable tourism and nonprofit management experiences to outstanding students from around the world. We are currently seeking a Program & Research Intern to join our team in Washington, DC starting in May 2019. Applications are due by Thursday, April 11. Visit our website to learn more and apply today.
The Destination Stewardship Center, a fiscally sponsored program of CREST dedicated to promoting long-range sustainability in destinations globally, is currently seeking an intern or volunteer editorial apprentice. Check out the details of this new opportunity.
CREST’s work would not be possible without support from those in the industry who believe in our vision to transform the way the world travels and are living it every day. Our latest fundraising travel auction – the Valentine’s Day Travel Auction - featured packages donated by 19 hotels, tour operators, and travel providers around the world. Each participating company is working to be a good steward of their environment and community, and it is an honor for us to share a sampling of their initiatives through our auction promotion. Check out our Valentine’s Day Travel Auction donors and contact Samantha Bray for information about participating in our Spring Travel Auction.
CREST’s latest fundraising travel auction featured packages from three of CREST’s newest Platinum Sponsors: Hostelling International USA (HI USA), Ka’ana Resort, and La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa. CREST is proud to have the support of these travel businesses, dedicated to using tourism as a force for good. Their commitments to support CREST for a period of five years provides a mechanism for us to continue to grow and pursue our mission. Learn more about these inspiring companies.
In this issue’s Platinum Sponsor Q&A, we’re excited to introduce you to two of our committed Platinum Sponsors, Mahogany Springs in Uganda and The Pavilions Himalayas in Nepal. Check out our conversations with Mahogany Springs and The Pavilions Himalayas to learn how these exemplary companies give back to their communities and immerse guests in the natural world.
In addition to our field work and research, 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 forums including the Global Conference of Sustainable Food Systems in Costa Rica, the Educational Travel Consortium Conference in Alabama, and the Monterey Bay Sustainable Hospitality Summit in California. Learn more about our presentations on overtourism, ecotourism, food waste prevention, and the future of sustainable travel.
Check out this issue’s industry announcements, which include two job opportunities with Elevate Destinations, a new impact-oriented tour designed for women by Wise Steps Travel, and a recent journal articles featuring Bodhi Surf + Yoga.
CREST has engaged in robust media outreach in 2019, sharing our expertise on topics including U.S. travel to Cuba, how to be a sustainable traveler, and overtourism. Over the past several months, we have been featured in a wide range of outlets including Vox, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, and the New York Times. Check out our full list of media appearances.