Over the last two decades, Dr. Honey has written and lectured widely on ecotourism, Travelers' Philanthropy, cruise and resort tourism, and certification issues. Her books include Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? (Island Press, 1999 and 2008) and Ecotourism and Certification: Setting Standards in Practice (Island Press, 2002). She is currently writing a book on coastal and cruise tourism (Selling Sunshine, Island Press, 2016). Previously, Honey worked for 20 years as a journalist based in East Africa (Tanzania) and Central America (Costa Rica). She holds a Ph.D. in African history from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She was Executive Director of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) from 2003 to 2006. Honey was profiled in Branded!, Michael Conroy's book on certification (New Society Publishers, 2007) and was named one of the world's Top 10 eco- and sustainable-travel "watchdogs" by Condé Nast Traveler in 2008.
Samantha Bray is the managing director at the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), providing administrative, research, and consulting support for a wide-range of sustainable tourism projects. A native of the rural Missouri, she grew up with an appreciation for the charm of small-town communities and the unspoiled environment. This, combined with the opportunity to travel internationally and throughout the United States during her childhood, had a profound impact on Samantha's view of global citizenship and the power of sense of place. Also a lover of performing and visual arts and their contribution to culture, Samantha earned a degree in Entertainment Management, with an emphasis in performing arts management, from Missouri State University.
During her time at Missouri State, Samantha also had the opportunity to become one of the world's first students of geotourism. She went on to apprentice under Jonathan Tourtellot, the director of the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, and obtain a Master of Tourism Administration from the George Washington University School of Business, with a concentration in sustainable destination development. She is a strong advocate for sustaining and enhancing our world’s cultures and environments through travel, and using tourism as a mechanism for community empowerment. Samantha is a trained Climate Reality Leader.
Rich Shea is a former journalist who, for the past 10 years, has focused on helping nonprofits promote their missions and raise funds. He began a 20-year career in journalism as a beat reporter, then quickly rose through the ranks to become an arts-and-entertainment editor at The Princeton Packet, a managing editor at New Times Broward/Palm Beach and, finally, executive editor at Teacher Magazine, which was nominated for a National Magazine Award in general excellence under his tutelage.
Since 2007, Rich has worked solely for nonprofits. He has co-founded blogs and written and edited blog and social media posts, newsletters, annual reports and case statements. He's also scripted messaging for email and online solicitations, speeches, marketing materials and annual campaigns. Most recently, as its associate director of communications, he helped the Foundation Fighting Blindness raise $110 million over a two-year period for research targeting retinal diseases.
A Washington, D.C. resident, Rich is a frequent traveler who immerses himself in the language, culture, arts and cuisine of foreign lands. In the past five years alone, he's visited 12 countries, including Turkey, Denmark, Spain, Cambodia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
Ximena is a sustainable and community-based tourism specialist. Originally from Bolivia, she worked with several international organizations there prior to moving to Washington, DC, including the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Asociación Hombre y Naturaleza Bolivia. She has also worked with local Bolivian government at state and municipal levels. Ximena provides best-practice training courses for tour guides and others involved in rural and community base tourism and helps to develop the tourism product. Currently, she is leading CREST's project on community-based tourism in Chihuahua, México. She holds a Master's degree in Sustainable Tourism Management from UCI (Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional), in San José, Costa Rica. Ximena is fluent in Spanish and English.
Originally from New Jersey, Kelsey completed her undergraduate degree in Anthropology at the College of William & Mary in 2016. During this time she focused mainly on Archaeology, but studied other diverse topics such as Museum Studies, American History, and Primate Behavior. She pursued her interest in primates by interning for the Jane Goodall Institute in 2015 both in Brussels, Belgium and the U.S. headquarters. She explored this interest even further by attending a Master’s program in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University, completing her degree in September 2017.
During her time in Oxford, she developed an interest in the utilization of ecotourism as a tool for primate conservation, and carried out field work in Java, Indonesia with the Little Fireface Project for her dissertation research. She joined the CREST team as an intern in November 2017 and was promoted to a full-time staff member in February 2018. She is passionate about the sustainable tourism industry and its intersection with wildlife conservation. In her spare time, she writes and reads, plays softball and practices jiu jitsu, votes, and is learning how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle.
Gabriela Cicenia is a PhD candidate in International Economics and Tourism at the University of Valencia (Spain). As part of her program, she is doing a fellowship at The George Washington University during the summer of 2017. While in Washington, she is also interning at the Center for Responsible Travel.
Many years ago, she decided to travel to Spain to study tourism and realized through her studies that her birth country (Ecuador) had a lot to offer to the world. At only 16 years old, she thought Sustainable Tourism could be a way for a developing country to improve societal needs and at the same time create jobs for local people.
After she finished her undergraduate degree, she returned to Ecuador to search for her next steps. After working in the country for a while, she decided to continue her studies in Spain in order to be more prepared. While she was studying her Master’s she learned about Planning of Tourism, and she began to understand subjects like Governance, Sustainable Tourism, Statistics, and Tourism Policy.
In 2014 she started her PhD in Valencia. Now, as an International Economics and Tourism Ph.D. student, she is extremely interested in gaining experience in the field of Sustainable and Responsible Travel. An internship at CREST is providing her the opportunity to apply this knowledge in an international organization, as well as develop the communication, organization, and research skills she has acquired through her work experience.
Ellen was born and raised in California and graduates from California Polytechnic State University in December with an undergraduate degree in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration. Throughout her four years attending University, she worked on an organic produce farm and as an outdoor adventure guide. Ellen supplemented her studies by traveling independently throughout Southeast Asia and South America for a cumulative year. She traveled primarily through the use of work trade programs, allowing herself to engage in locally-run projects that emphasized the significance of cultural and environmental preservation. This time spent traveling altered her perception of the tourism industry, as it not only opened her eyes to the negative impact of tourism but the ways in which tourism can benefit the host community. This acted as a catalyst, allowing Ellen to continue her studies through the lens of sustainability. Ellen looks forward to expanding her knowledge of sustainable tourism during her time with CREST and is excited to be part of the team.
Santiago Zindel Mundet Cruz is interning with CREST for the 2017 summer as part of his joint Master of Environmental Management degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Master of Business Administration degree from the Yale School of Management. His degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from Middlebury College as well as his experience working directly with animals through field research, wildlife rehabilitation centers, and zoos, have instilled in Santi a strong interest in the conservation of wildlife and wildlands across the world.
A native to Mexico City, Santi has also lived in the United States, France, and South Africa. He has also been a tourist in over 30 countries and has come to love and appreciate the sharing of cultures and traditions through tourism. Through his travels, Santi has experienced both responsible and harmful tourism and hopes to better develop ecotourism as a driver for conservation throughout the world. His work at CREST will build on various courses and trips he has taken on sustainable tourism and will help prepare him for a career in the field of sustainable tourism.
Ellen is a Philadelphia native and alumni of Penn State University. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in International Affairs and Natural Resources/Sustainable Development from American University in Washington, DC and the University for Peace in Costa Rica. As a youth, her travels abroad taught her invaluable lessons in sustainability and tourism: the respect for creativity in utilizing local resources, the importance of quality food and clean water, and a sensitivity to different life styles. This cemented her desire to continue to explore world cultures, and she began to take a serious interest in sustainable tourism during her undergraduate years of college. During her time at Penn State, she had the opportunity to research the impacts of tourism in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, as well as complete an undergraduate thesis, analyzing ecotourism and water sustainability models in Costa Rica and Panama. Through her research, she was able to engage with officials from the Organization of American States, Costa Rican Embassy, Panama Chamber of Tourism, as well as various in-country ecolodge operators.
Ellen is thrilled to continue her studies in sustainable tourism and to help spread awareness for smart travel practices with the rest of the CREST team.
Paula is currently a Master of Arts in Tourism Management Candidate at Royal Roads University in Canada. She is from the Caribbean island of Grenada. Her interest in tourism was spawned when as a journalist with The Grenadian Voice newspaper she had the opportunity to travel extensively. This interest turned into a passion during her tenure with the award-winning Belmont Estate where she gained extensive experience in agri-tourism, community tourism and sustainable development.
She has served as a member of the Product Development Committee of the Grenada Tourism Authority, the Grenada Bureau of Standards Technical Committee for Tourism Products and Services – Community Tourism, a tourism educator with the Ministry of Education, and a panelist at the CREST and CTO sponsored 3rd Innovators in Coastal Tourism Symposium in Grenada.She is committed to making positives contributions to the sustainable development of her tourism-dependent island to enable it to have a competitive advantage in the global tourism market. She is looking forward to improving her skills in tourism research and analysis, and community empowerment and learning about sustainable development, tourism policy and development while at CREST.
Soyoon is from South Korea and a student from SungKyunKwan University in Seoul. She is purusing an internship with CREST from May to November. Soyoon is double majoring in Russian Language and Literature and Sports Science. Her interest in the environment and responsible tourism began when she studied in Mexico as an exchange student. During her one year stay, thanks to many opportunities to visit indigenous villages in Chiapas, she realized how necessary it is to preserve traditional culture, as well as how demanding preservation is in this rapidly developing age.
She is very interested in continuing her graduate studies in Norway, specializing in the natural resources management of central Asia, especially in Russia, and in governance of sustainable development by promoting ecotourism in the Caribbean. She believes that only after a nation finds the harmony between the intrinsic resources and developmental advancement, are we able to take one more step towards sustainable development where every consequential cultural change can be understood.
Alex was born in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, but moved at an early age to Quito, Ecuador, where he grew up. His family had a small lodge in the Amazon, where he spent most of his time. He obtained a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in culinary arts at USFQ. He lived in New York where he was part of Avroko Hospitality group, managed two restaurants, and opened a speak easy bar, which is ranked top 10 in the nation. Alex later became a coffee roaster and barista, managed a coffee shop called COFFEED, and worked closely with Brooklyn Grange, which is one of the few rooftop farms in the city. He later on moved to Hawaii, where he had the chance of growing coffee and helping run a small B&B. After this experience, he worked closely with the tree industry and learned about sustainable practices for gardens and landscaping in the state of Florida.
Currently, Alex is pursuing a masters degree in Sustainable Development at School for International Training in Washington, DC. He is passionate about traveling, literature, food, and learning from others. His future plan is to integrate sustainable practices into the hospitality industry and to work as a restaurateur that helps businesses create revenue, while at the same time creating social good.
Nicole is originally from Juneau, Alaska, and is currently obtaining an undergraduate degree in tourism management. She then plans to either enter law school and focus on environmental policy and conservation law or enter graduate school and obtain a masters in sustainable tourism. As and adult, Nicole has lived in seven states across the U.S. and has held all types of jobs within the hospitality and tourism industry. Alaska is what sparked her interest in sustainable tourism, based on the need that she saw there. Nicole is looking forward to utilizing her internship at CREST to get a first hand look at helping communities create more sustainable plans that encourage a more immersive kind of travel. In her spare time, she likes to cuddle up with her three dogs, read, adventure outside, and travel as much as she can.
Jill is the director of CARE for the Cape & Islands, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She received her Bachelor of Science in Food, Hotel and Tourism Management from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work in the hotel industry brought her to Boston and Cape Cod 25 years ago where she fell in love with the ocean. She was Sales Director for Group Tour Magazine representing New England and Eastern Canada for fifteen years. Jill is Past President and Scholarship Chair of Cape Cod Hospitality Marketing Association.
She founded and led Single Volunteers of Cape Cod for five years, connecting volunteers with local nonprofit organizations. A growing concern for the wellbeing of her surroundings sent her back to school to earn her Master of Tourism Administration, Sustainable Destination Management from The George Washington University. Her degree and an internship with CREST led her to found CARE (Creating A Responsible Environment) for the Cape and Islands in 2012, a Travelers' Philanthropy program committed to engaging others in the stewardship and long-term sustainability of our region. CREST is its fiscal sponsor.
Jill is an Adjunct Instructor at Cape Cod Community College, co-chair of her town’s Recycling and Solid Waste Committee, an advocate to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and most recently, Jill has been trained as a Climate Reality Leader through Al Gore's Climate Reality Project.