CREST, the Puntacana Ecological Foundation, and Puntacana Resort & Club in the Dominican Republic hosted the first ever Innovators Think Tank: Climate Change & Coastal Tourism. Grupo Puntacana was one of the first large tourism complexes in the Caribbean to adopt good practices of both ecotourism and of climate change adaptation and mitigation. As host for this Think Tank, CREST and Puntacana brought together success stories from sustainable tourism innovators, as well as the latest evidence from climate change experts. The geographic focus of this invitation-only Think Tank is on North America and the Caribbean.
Over the pasts several years, CREST has hosted three larger scale Innovators Symposiums designed to highlight initiatives in social and environmental sustainability in coastal and marine tourism in the Americas. The 2015 Think Tank was designed as a smaller, more intimate, working session organized around a single critical theme: how coastal and marine tourism must be planned, built, and operated in an era of climate change. With this targeted focus, practitioners and experts focused on tangible, hands-on climate change solutions for coastal and marine tourism.
The Think Tank was designed to be a practical, ‘how to’ working meeting of leading tourism practitioners and climate change experts. Discussion focused around minimizing damage to tourism infrastructure and activities in the wake of increasingly severe storms and rising sea levels and water temperatures, as well as solutions for lessoning the industry’s contribution to climate change.
The three dozen carefully selected participants presented on their field of expertise, participated in two days of collaborative, interactive discussions, and then prepared papers for a CREST book series on best practices in coastal and marine tourism in the age of climate change. This book series, released in 2017, with its prescriptions and strategies for how various sectors of the tourism industry need to address the realities of climate change, serves as a guide within the tourism industry.
Siting, Architecture, Design, & Construction in the Era of Climate Change
Large Resorts & Hotel Chains: Adapting to climate change
Climate Change, Tourism, & Community Linkages
Overview: State of the Caribbean's Ocean: Impacts from tourism and climate change
Marine Recreation & MPAs: Fishing, diving, surfing
Marine Recreation Infrastructure: Cruise ships & port facilities and yaching & marinas
Sustainable Food Sourcing: Strategies for linking agriculture & fishing to tourism to help mitigate and adapt to climate change
Climate Change --> People Change: Communicating with the public
The JetBlue Foundation offered 2 student scholarships to attend the Center for Responsible Travel's (CREST) and the Puntacana Ecological Foundation's Innovators Think Tank. This was a unique opportunity for students to learn about key issues involving climate change and tourism. After receiving 90+ diverse and inspiring applications, two outstanding recipients were chosen: