Tourism, Justice, and Peace

Breaking Barriers and Amplifying the Voices of the Unheard

Each September, the global tourism community turns its attention to the Center for Responsible Travel’s (CREST) annual World Tourism Day Forum. This event, known for its unapologetically bold approach, convenes leaders from industry,  government, civil society, and local communities to ideate solutions that address tourism’s most pressing challenges. Tickets for the 2024 World Tourism Day Forum are on sale now.

This year’s theme places tourism at the nexus of justice and peace, urging a deep and reflective examination of tourism’s influence on migration, social equity, climate justice, diplomacy, and cultural preservation – among other topics. By disrupting the status quo, the 2024 Forum commits to fostering meaningful dialogue and actions that challenge prevailing norms and encourage cross-sector collaboration.

In a historic first, the 2024 World Tourism Day Forum will venture beyond its usual Washington, DC setting to convene in Atlanta, Georgia from September 24-25, 2024. Selected for its pivotal role as a connecting place in global travel and its deep-rooted legacy in civil rights and social justice, Atlanta plays an important role in this year’s event. Home to the world’s busiest airport for over 25 years and a host city for the 1996 Olympics and the upcoming 2026 World Cup, Atlanta is truly the place where industry and community progress collide. And as a historic bastion of Black civil rights and culture, social justice and peace are ingrained in the city’s DNA.

In partnership with RISE Travel Institute, CREST looks forward to welcoming you to this historic event.


Goals & Objectives of the 2024 World tourism Day Forum

1. Foster Meaningful Collaboration between the tourism industry, civil society, academia, and public sector tourism stakeholders.

2. Break down barriers around complicated topics in tourism by generating dialogue and learning opportunities, particularly relating to tourism as an avenue for peace, diplomacy, justice, and community empowerment. 

3. Provide a platform for diverse tourism stakeholders in Atlanta to highlight the city’s diversity, resilience, unique product offer, and history. 

4. Collectively incubate solutions on tourism’s role in areas affected by conflict, injustices, or natural disaster.

  • Work through mock scenarios with cross-sector stakeholders.
  • Participate in an academic-led ideas incubator and poster session. 

5. Share adoptable positive practices from tourism practitioners, researchers, and community leaders. 

6. Produce a white paper that details practical, actionable steps that practitioners and policy-makers can take to promote tourism through a lens that considers equity, diplomacy, justice, peace, and support for local communities. 

The Venue

This year’s Forum will be held at Monday Night Garage, a brewery with roots in Atlanta that epitomizes the city’s entrepreneurial spirit and progress. Known for crafting unique brews in a space where community and creativity thrive, Monday Night Garage offers an inspiring setting for our discussions and solutions-centered sessions. 

The Neighborhood

The 2024 Forum will take place in Atlanta’s historic West End, a neighborhood steeped in Black culture, community, and a diverse arts scene. The West End neighborhood and the development of the non-motorized beltline trail provide an important backdrop to frame discussions on justice, peace, and the complex role tourism plays in both exacerbating and addressing complex community issues.

At CREST, we envision a world where travel benefits communities and the environment. So, how do justice and peace fit into this vision? Over more than two decades of dedicated research and advocacy, we have identified a fundamental truth: sustainable, regenerative, or responsible travel—regardless of the term—is unattainable without a foundational commitment to peace and justice.

Tourism’s Broad Reaching Influence

Tourism’s influence extends beyond mere economic benefits; it intersects with critical issues such as human rights, migration, gentrification, community empowerment, and access to justice. Without addressing these areas, tourism risks perpetuating inequality and conflict rather than fostering harmony and development. Consequently, tourism can either promote peace or serve as a vehicle for turmoil, depending on its management.

Examining Tourism through Additional Lens

By examining tourism’s role in these broader contexts and its impact on the most marginalized groups, we can better understand its capacity to either uphold or undermine justice and peace. It’s time for the tourism sector to engage more deeply with these pressing issues, ensuring that travel acts as a force for good, supporting sustainable development and equitable opportunities for all.

Welcome to Atlanta, where…

The World Connects, Meets, and Celebrates
  • Busiest airport in the world since ’98
  • ’96 Olympics host and venue
  • Set to host 5 World Cup matches in 2026
Peace, Civil Rights, Justice are a part of the city’s DNA
  • Birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
  • Center of the civil rights movement
Travel, Culture, and Community Development Collide
  • 3rd most Fortune 500 companies in USA
  • 4th fastest growing foreign-born metro population

Individuals from 74 countries attended the 2023 virtual Forum

1,680 participants since the inaugural World Tourism Day Forum in 2017 

Notable Past Participants

Industry, Private Sector, & DMOs

Public Sector and Government Stakeholders

Academia and University Representatives

  • Patagonia
  • Hilton
  • Marriott International
  • Royal Caribbean Group
  • Intrepid Travel
  • Visit Nuuk
  • Visit Sweden
  • Tourism New Zealand
  • G Adventures
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Embassy of Mexico
  • Embassy of Grenada
  • Embassy of Iceland
  • NOAA
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • Parks Canada
  • Arizona Office of Tourism
  • Inter-American Foundation
  • Harvard University
  • George Washington University
  • Princeton University
  • University of California
  • Duke University
  • Purdue University
  • University of Central Florida
  • Virginia Tech University
  • Western Sydney University


  • UN Environment – North America Office
  • United Nations Foundation
  • World Bank Group
  • IMF
  • Interamerican Development Bank

Civil Society

  • World Wildlife Fund
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • National Park Foundation
  • National Geographic Society
  • Museum of Modern Art (DC)


  • The New York Times
  • National Geographic Media / Society
  • Chicago Public Media
  • Skift
  • Island Press
  • Condé Nast Traveller
  • GLP Films

Aligning with CREST’s 2024 World Tourism Day Forum elevates your brand’s presence in transformative dialogues that surpass conventional industry events. Your partnership with CREST’s 21-year tourism expertise signifies your company’s role as a catalyst for progress.

At the World Tourism Day Forum, our Sponsors are more than financial backers; they are integral partners and help us shape the event’s impact before and after it’s held. 

Who Sponsors CREST? 

  • Tourism Industry and Business: Show your clients and competitors that you’re a changemaker and a pioneer. Sponsoring CREST’s World Tourism Day Forum demonstrates your sincere commitment to responsible tourism, giving back, and making a difference. 
  • DMOs and Government: CREST’s approach to events is all about thinking global but prioritizing local impact. In your own backyard, show residents and prospective visitors that you’re welcoming to all, want to positively impact your community, and showcase tourism’s intersectionality with what’s going on in the world. 
  • Local Community and Foundations: Show impact by giving to an event that positively supports community, drives impact beyond the event, and takes a data-driven approach. 

2024 World Tourism Day Forum Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

2024 World Tourism Day Forum Presenting Organizations

Rise Travel Logo World Tourism Day

Previous World Tourism Day Forums

Founded in 2003, in the wake of the UN International Year of Ecotourism (2002), the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) has worked with communities around the world to implement more responsible tourism policies and practices. The tourism industry and the landscape within which it operates have changed drastically over the past two decades. In honor of our 20th anniversary, we will look at how the tourism industry and landscape have changed, discuss best practices and lessons learned, and apply what we know to our work moving forward.

In discussing how the tourism industry and landscape have changed over the past two decades and where it will be going, we will look at industry trends, policy, research, stakeholder engagement, awareness-building, regulation, and cooperation.

The goal of this year’s World Tourism Day Forum is to understand how the tourism industry and landscape have evolved over the past two decades and how to best utilize lessons learned to create lasting change over the next two.

Martha Honey Legacy in Responsible Travel Award

The Martha Honey Legacy in Responsible Travel Award was first created to honor Dr. Martha Honey on the occasion of her retirement in recognition of her incredible leadership and accomplishments in responsible travel. At that time, the Board and staff of CREST decided to make this an annual award from the CREST Board of Directors to someone in the global tourism industry making a significant difference in pushing the envelope in responsible travel.

This year’s award went to Bruce Poon Tip, CEO and Founder of GAdventures.

It isn’t uncommon for tourism policies and plans to be made without community input, but tourism does not exist in a vacuum. Communities feel the consequences of being excluded: from overtourism and climate and biodiversity threats, to cultural heritage loss and widening social inequities. In order to build a more sustainable and responsible future for tourism – for destination communities, businesses, and tourists alike – we need a more holistic approach, one that puts communities at the center of tourism planning and decision-making. Without doing so we risk losing what makes so many destinations unique and worth visiting.

Our goal for this event was to have a research-based discussion with practical examples of how destination stewardship is being implemented around the world. Participants walked away with a better understanding of destination stewardship as a tourism model and the value of using community-centered destination marketing.

Martha Honey Legacy in Responsible Travel Award recipient: Jonathan Tourtellot. He was selected amongst a pool of esteemed candidates but what set him apart was his dogged commitment to destination stewardship throughout his multi-decade career.

In 2021, CREST is partnered with Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency to host our fifth annual World Tourism Day Forum. The virtual event focused on helping key sectors bridge the disconnect between the goals destinations, accommodations, and tour operators are told they must meet when it comes to mitigating the climate crisis, and the action steps needed to take.

CREST’s 2020 meta-analysis, The Case for Responsible Travel: Trends & Statistics, shares key studies on COVID-19 and climate change and the lessons that may be applied from the former to meet the challenges of the latter.

This 2020 World Tourism Day Webinar shared the report’s key findings and brought together experts to discuss consumer, business, and destination trends in the context of recovery.

Distinguished speakers explored the unprecedented opportunity to mitigate two existential threats, climate change and COVID-19, with one coordinated approach, truly making the world a safer, more equitable, and more resilient place for all.

Impact tourism is not about collecting loose change for charities. Rather, it is about integrating business and visitor support for local communities into the core definition of responsible travel. The 2019 World Tourism Day Forum focused on successful travel giving programs for a wide range of businesses and destination types.

Recognizing that doing good does not always mean doing right, the forum also examined the downsides of inappropriately implemented travel giving and voluntourism programs.

The forum also traced the evolution of what was originally referred to as travelers’ philanthropy into Impact Tourism, which today represents a broad array of travel giving programs.

This forum was presented by CREST and Organization of American States.

We define overtourism as tourism that has moved beyond the limits of acceptable change in a destination due to quantity of visitors, resulting in degradation of the environment and infrastructure, diminished travel experience, wear and tear on built heritage, and/or negative impacts on residents.

Around the world, popular tourist destinations have reached a tipping point. A growing middle class, improved connectivity, and the desire of people to see the world means that popular destinations are becoming over-saturated. The phenomenon called ‘overtourism’ has led to civic protests and residents demanding that ‘tourists go home.’

This 2018 World Tourism Day Forum was designed to reflect on the root causes of overtourism, but more importantly, to share viable solutions from thought leaders working on the front lines. This included public sector destination managers and private sector tourism providers. Panel discussions focused on the various types of destinations confronting overtourism: historic cities, national parks, and protected areas, World Heritage Sites, coastal and beach communities, and national and regional destinations.

This forum was presented by CREST and the George Washington Institute for International Tourism Studies.

The CREST/UN Environment forum was designed to showcase the importance of the UN’s declaration of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. This invitation-only, day-long event took place on World Tourism Day, September 27, 2017, at the UN Foundation in Washington, DC.

The event featured panels covering the five key areas identified by the UNWTO for this international year. Each one-hour panel was moderated by a well-known journalist and included two presenters giving exemplary and inspiring case studies. In their 8-10 minute talks, presenters showed short videos of their work and reflected on both their successes and challenges. Case studies were drawn from North America, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The journalist/moderator for each panel ensured ample time for audience discussion after each set of presentations.