Tourism in a Climate Crisis

Humanity’s contributions – including those of the travel industry – to our warming planet have put everything at stake. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that global temperatures will exceed 2°C beyond pre-industrial temperatures during the 21st century, exceeding the 1.5°C limit put forth by The Paris Agreement, unless we collectively and drastically start reducing our greenhouse gas emissions now and in the coming decades. But what does this mean and how do we get there?

To answer these all-important questions, CREST is partnering with Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency to host our fifth annual World Tourism Day Forum. The virtual event will focus on helping key sectors bridge the disconnect between the goals they are warned must be met when it comes to mitigating the climate crisis and the action steps they need to take.

This event aims to help you take positive directional action, no matter where you are in your climate journey.

Schedule at a Glance

On this first day, participants will hear from Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, which is pioneering climate action plans for accommodations, tour operators, and destinations, and from industry leaders who are taking inspiring climate action in the tourism sector.

This day of the Forum is open to all.

On day two, participants from accommodations, tour operators, and destinations will have the opportunity to dive into understanding carbon footprint measurement before splitting into interactive breakout sessions by sector. In these breakout sessions, participants will discuss action and engagement with an expert facilitator.

Worksheets used during these technical workshops will provide the basis for developing individual climate action plans. To close the day, the CREST Board of Directors will announce the 2021 Legacy in Responsible Travel Award.

Featured Speakers

We are thrilled to have such inspiring industry leaders who are taking urgent climate action in the tourism sector. We will add more speakers in the coming weeks.

Elizabeth Wathuti

Founder | Green Generation Initiative

Elizabeth Wathuti Is an environmentalist and climate activist and the founder of the Green Generation Initiative that nurtures young people to love nature and be environmentally conscious from a young age. She is also the Head of Campaigns and Coordinator of the Daima coalition for the protection of urban green spaces at the Wangari Maathai Foundation. Elizabeth is also the Global South Youth Co-chair of the COP26 Civil Society and Youth Advisory Council.

Dr. Gregory Miller

Executive Director | Center for Responsible Travel

Dr. Miller is a global tourism and conservation leader committed to people, planet, and prosperity, joining CREST as Executive Director in 2019. Future of Tourism Coalition co-founder, with 25+ years as VP at The Nature Conservancy, President at American Hiking Society, and environmental advisor for USAID. Recognized by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard as a leader in climate change projects, experienced across a broad spectrum of tourism’s economic, social, cultural, and environmental challenges.

Jeremy Smith

Co-Founder | Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency

Jeremy Smith is co-founder of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency, a global tourism initiative of over 300 tourism destinations, businesses, and organizations committed to science-based climate action. He is the author of Transforming Travel: Realising the Potential of Sustainable Tourism (2018) and co-founder of, the digital news site for the travel industry centered around topics of sustainable tourism. He also advises on sustainable tourism strategy and communication and sits on the advisory boards of the Future of Tourism Coalition and Travalyst.

Samantha Bray

Managing Director | Center for Responsible Travel

Samantha Bray is the managing director at the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), providing administrative, research, and consulting support for a wide-range of global sustainable tourism projects. She was one of the first undergraduate students of “geotourism” and holds a master of tourism administration with an emphasis in sustainable destination management from The George Washington University. Samantha resides in Charleston, South Carolina.

K. Denaye Hinds

Managing Director | JustaTAAD, LLC

As the owner of JustaTADD, LLC, Denaye curates conversations through the lens of sustainability and service for the tourism industry and delivers resilient and sustainable solutions for hotels and events. With an extensive background in sustainable auditing and training, international standards and systems, tourism development and planning at the destination level, and sustainable tourism operations her goal is to ensure a resilient tourism industry one country at a time. Denaye is on the board for the Center for Responsible Travel.        

Jake Kheel

Vice President of Sustainability | Grupo Puntacana

Jake Kheel is a sustainability innovator, author, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. For sixteen years he has confronted social and environmental challenges in the tourism industry as Vice President of Grupo Puntacana Foundation in the Dominican Republic. His book, Waking the Sleeping Giant: Unlocking the Hidden Power of Business to Save Our Planet, uses examples from his vast experience in Punta Cana to demonstrate how companies can drive breakthroughs in sustainability. Jake is on the board for the Center for Responsible Travel.

Paras Loomba

Founder | Global Himalayan Expedition

Paras is the founder of Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE), a social impact tourism enterprise, that takes travelers from all over the globe to the remote villages of the Himalayas and provides these villages with access to clean energy using solar grids. Paras is inspired by cutting-edge technologies and applies them to drive sustainable tourism businesses for rural communities. An engineer by profession, Paras merges technology and passion with an approach to create climate mitigating solutions for mountain communities.

Janie Neumann

Sustainable Tourism Manager | VisitScotland

Janie Neumann, VisitScotland’s Sustainable Tourism Manager, plays a key role in VisitScotland’s Responsible Tourism activity, with a focus on the transition to a low-carbon future and supporting Scotland’s NetZero 2045 targets. She has 20 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry, working to support the delivery of responsible tourism that benefits businesses, provides enriching quality experiences for visitors, enhances the communities it operates in and protects the natural and cultural heritage it depends on.

Dr. Susanne Etti

Environmental Impact Specialist | Intrepid Travel

Dr. Susanne Etti is the Environmental Impact Specialist at Intrepid Travel – a carbon-neutral & B-Corp travel company. Susanne leads Intrepid’s climate action work, including carbon performance, reporting, and transitioning the business to the low-carbon economy. Susanne has more than fifteen years of experience in climate change & sustainability. She previously worked in consultancy roles and supported clients in thought leadership, external disclosures, and building corporate sustainability programs. Having lived and worked in six countries, she believes by empowering local people through sustainable travel experiences, we can make travel better for everyone and simultaneously take care of our planet.


Dagmara Avanindra

Director of Engineering | Bucuti & Tara

Dagmara is a graduate of Stanford University with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degrees in Electrical Engineering. After working in Silicon Valley as a hardware designer, her interests turned to sustainable development, and the desire to see her work positively contribute. In 2012, Dagmara learned of Aruba’s ambitious goal to have all of its energy produced from renewable sources by 2020, and, soon after, she moved to Aruba determined to contribute to that lofty goal. Upon learning that Bucuti & Tara resort was looking for a new director of engineering, she knew right away that this was the right place for her. She describes Bucuti & Tara as a beacon of sustainable development not only in Aruba but also in the Caribbean.

Alicia Caton

Marketing & Communications Director | Chile Nativo

Alicia is the Marketing & Communications Director for Chile Nativo Travel and leader of the company’s sustainable development plan. Moving from the US to Puerto Natales in 2018, Alicia now calls Patagonia home. She believes no matter where we are from or where we are in this world, we must advocate for the preservation & growth of local communities and the great outdoors in order to maintain a better quality of life for all generations.

Leigh DeForest

Project Manager | Legacy Vacation Resorts

Leigh is the Operations Project Manager at Legacy Vacation Resorts and responsible for managing LVRs Social Purpose team. She is a passionate corporate sustainability professional and a proud member of a Certified B Corp. Leigh works to drive continuous improvement in the areas of environmental, social, and community impact. She is responsible for the initiation and successful completion of key projects that focus on improving company’s efficiencies, developing a culture of environmental stewardship, and pushing the status quo in the regenerative hospitality industry.

Shannon Guihan

Chief TreadRight & Sustainability Officer | The Travel Corporation

Shannon Guihan is the Chief TreadRight & Sustainability Officer for The Travel Corporation (TTC), a family of 40 travel brands operating worldwide. Shannon leads the TreadRight team, who oversees the group’s brands to Make Travel Matter through the groups sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right, including its efforts to address climate change. Shannon also leads the TreadRight Foundation, the TTC’s not-for-profit dedicated to supporting projects under the foundation’s three pillars of Planet, People and Wildlife globally.

Seleni Matus

Executive Director | International Institute of Tourism Studies

Seleni Matus has spent more than 15 years designing and directing large, multi-stakeholder initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean that have enhanced the quality of tourism offerings and helped to ensure the long-term health of natural ecosystems, including the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative and the Sustainable Destinations Alliance of the Americas. A native of Belize, Seleni served as the country’s Director of Tourism and oversaw the reorganization of the tourism board to meet the demands of a fiercely competitive global marketplace. She currently assists multinational corporations such as Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to develop and implement corporate strategies for destination stewardship and serves as a member of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism Committee, as well as Steering Committee of the Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Caribbean.

Jeremy Sampson

CEO | The Travel Foundation

Jeremy is a globally recognized leader, facilitator, speaker, and advocate working at the crossroads of tourism, community engagement, and conservation. During his career, he has supported businesses and destinations in more than 30 countries on issues related to impact management, marketing, product development, and sustainability. Jeremy was instrumental in setting up the Future of Tourism Coalition in 2020 and currently serves as the Chair of this global movement representing 6 NGOs and nearly 650 signatories. He also serves on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s Destination Stewardship Working Group and is Co-Chair of the Destinations Working Group for Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency.

Elín Sigurðardóttir

Co-Owner/Director of Sales | Icelandic Mountain Guides

Elín is a co-owner and Director of Sales at Icelandic Mountain Guides, an adventure tour operator for Iceland and Greenland. She has experienced the changes that tourism in Iceland has undergone in recent years and has been an active participant in the work of SAF (association of tourism in Iceland) and has held various confidential positions there, including as chair of the travel agency committee.

Claire Whitely

Senior Sustainability Manager | Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

Claire manages the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance’s environmental sustainability strategy and drives collaborative action, between 14 global hotel companies, to enable to whole hospitality industry to have a lasting positive impact on our planet. Prior to this, Claire drove sustainability progress at Hilton for nearly a decade. She led their water stewardship efforts, created behavior change campaigns and led initiatives focused on energy efficiency, single-use plastics and responsible sourcing.

Paloma Zapata

CEO | Sustainable Travel International

As CEO of Sustainable Travel International Paloma leads the organization’s global efforts to maximize tourism’s contribution to conservation and development. With over 15 years of experience in sustainable tourism, Paloma has designed impactful initiatives in 25 nations across the globe. Currently, Paloma manages the organization’s Climate Rangers program to engage the tourism industry in carbon mitigation and climate action as well as leading the efforts to define a Carbon Neutral Destination model for nations to follow.


This event has ended. Thank you to all who participated.


Participation in the World Tourism Day Forum is pay-what-you-can. If you’d like to make a contribution, we suggest a contribution of $10 for Day 1 participation and $25 for those participating in Day 2 technical tracks, or $30 for those registering for both Day 1 and Day 2. Profits will be split between CREST and Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency to support our continued work on climate action.

Day 1 will be a webinar centered on the climate crisis, its relevance to the tourism industry, and include an inspiring 2-hour panel session where participants will hear from destination, accommodation, and tour operator climate action leaders. This event will be recorded.

Day 2 will be interactive and require participation from attendees. Following a group plenary, participants will be broken out into small groups based on their affiliation: accommodations, tour operators, and destinations. Attendees will work through a workbook that will form the basis of their climate action plan. We ask that only those directly involved with implementing their company or organization join us for this event. This event will not be recorded.

Because day two involves a workshop where attendees will participate and interact with one another as they make their way through their climate action plan workbooks, we ask that only those directly involved with implementing their destination, accommodation, or tour operator climate action plan join us for this event.

We ask that no more than one person from each destination, accommodation, or tour operator register so we can make room for as many different companies and organizations as possible. If you are a professor, student, researcher, or journalist interested in this event, please select the ‘waitlist’ option and we’ll contact you should space become available.

If you are registered for day two and cannot attend, please email ASAP so we can open your spot up to someone else.

If you register for day one and cannot attend, we will send out a recording to all registrants after the event is finished. If you are registered for day two and cannot attend, please email ASAP so we can open your spot up to someone else.

Day one will be recorded, and the recording will be provided to registrants within a week of the event’s end.

Day two will not be recorded. It is important that anyone who signs up for the workshop on day 2 commit to participating.

We can only provide certificates for those who attend and participate on both days.

You should receive a confirmation email immediately after registering, which will include the online event details. Please check your spam if you don’t receive it right away.

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