Through a multi-disciplinary approach, CREST analyzes the complex context of local tourism ecosystems in order to execute field projects that are both technical and holistic in nature. Via sustainable tourism master planning, capacity-building, tourism visioning, marketing and branding, workshops and training with local stakeholders, and much more, we apply decades of rigorous data and case study collection from around the globe to transfer these best practices into tangible fieldwork.
Destination Stewardship Initiatives
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council defines destination stewardship as the “process by which local communities, governmental agencies, NGOs, and the tourism industry take a multi-stakeholder approach to maintaining the cultural, environmental, economic, and aesthetic integrity of their country, region, or town.”
We work with destinations through consultation to build or strengthen stewardship initiatives based on the unique needs of the community and best practices from around the globe. Our engagement may be short-term or long-term, and often includes stakeholder mapping, community visioning, destination stewardship council formation, strategic and business planning, and activity planning, depending upon the needs of the community.
Our engagement with the community of Big Bay, Michigan exemplifies our work with a community to build an organized destination stewardship initiative and council from the ground up.
Sustainable Tourism Master Planning
Creating a sustainable tourism master plan is a way for destinations to formalize their commitment to environmentally, culturally, and economically beneficial tourism. We have partnered with national, state/provincial, and municipal governments and stakeholders to tailor master plans that meet current needs without compromising the future.
From 2017-2019, CREST, in partnership with three other firms, developed the Oman Ministry of Tourism’s sustainable tourism master plan for South Al Sharquiyah. The goal for this master plan was to provide the blueprint for developing the region’s tourism opportunities in a manner that helps to differentiate the region from other parts of Oman, and from other competitive Middle Eastern destinations, while protecting and preserving the very qualities and resources that will draw domestic and international visitors.
Destination-Wide Impact Tourism
As travelers and the tourism industry better understand the impacts of their actions on communities and the environment, they are beginning to ask themselves, “What is my role in improving the system? How can I make sure my actions do no harm and give back in a meaningful way to the destinations I visit?”
Destination-wide impact tourism programs provide a unique solution for supporting communities. They represent a strategic initiative that pools together funding from a variety of tourism-based revenue streams and/or grants in order to support community environmental and social efforts.
We work with destinations to assess whether a destination-wide impact tourism program would be a good fit, and, if so, leverages partnerships to develop robust, sustainable, and long-term mechanisms of support.
Branding & Marketing
Branding and marketing play a key role in regulating “who” a destination is, the types of experiences offered, the type of traveler attracted, and the education a traveler receives before, during, and after a trip.
We work with destinations and specific tourism assets to develop a strong brand and strategy to encourage responsible tourism and protect the very environmental and cultural resources that make up a destination’s unique sense of place.
With support from the World Wildlife Fund, Belize World Heritage Advisory Committee, and the Protected Areas Conservation Trust, CREST is building upon efforts to protect the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS) by developing a branding and marketing strategy and communications plan that strengthens the Belizean and international community’s perception of the importance of the BBRRS.