Our Mission, Our Goal, Our Invitation


Our mission: To help protect the world’s distinctive places by supporting wisely managed tourism and enlightened destination stewardship.
Our goal: Help people find the resources they need to achieve that mission.

This website is all about the intersection between stewardship of places and one of the world’s most impactful industries: tourism.  We gather and provide information on the ways tourism can help—or hurt—distinctive destinations around the world. We seek people who want to join us in building a global community and knowledge network for doing so. We are proud founding members of the similarly dedicated Future of Tourism Coalition.

What exactly is destination stewardship? Based on descriptions by assorted international organizations, we define it as:

“An ongoing process by which local communities, governmental agencies, civic organizations, and tourism-related businesses work jointly to maintain and enhance the cultural, environmental, economic, and aesthetic integrity of their country, region, or town – and thereby care for the distinctive attributes that appeal to both residents and beneficial tourists.”

If you care about great places, if you care about managing tourism so as to enhance places and not spoil them, then this website and collaborative blogging platform is for you. The website is constantly growing and evolving, and you are welcome to join in the process. Help us tell—and improve—the destination-stewardship story.

Our strategy (see top menu tabs):

  1. Highlight the issues. Tourism is changing the world more than people realize. The Destination Stewardship Report, our joint project with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council and the Center for Responsible Travel, is a free e-mailed periodical with lively articles on all pertinent topics. Please subscribe and contribute. Our Destination Watch section lists ratings and destination-stewardship news for places around the globe. Please get involved. We offer a blogging platform and newsletter with content keyed to these topics.
  2. Provide Stewardship Resources—information and links to services—to help destinations to improve in terms of authenticity, sustainability, and responsible tourism economy.
  3. Encourage a holistic, sustainable approach to tourism, defined via National Geographic and the former Travel and Tourism Association of America as the Geotourism ApproachTourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, geology, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents. We also provide links for mindful, educated and discerning Geotravelers find access to enjoyable, rewarding, responsible, and enriching trips.

This initiative is not legally affiliated with the National Geographic Society but does continue the work already achieved by the discontinued N.G. Center for Sustainable Destinations (CSD), founded by our CEO, Jonathan Tourtellot. During initial development, this website is sponsored by Focus on Places LLC and Mr. Tourtellot, its president, who serves as portal editor. As an autonomous project of the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), a 501 (c) (3) non-profit public charity, we can receive tax-deductible donations.

We invite dedicated people to make this site their own and  help save the places we love.

Our invitation: Join us. If we succeed in our mission, it will be because you, the participants, grow the website and its resources (including yourselves) into a self-sustaining entity. Make it your own. We want to build a nonprofit network serving everyone who works where tourism intersects with destination quality.

We invite mission-compatible proposals for partnering, sponsorship, or cooperative ventures. We invite participation by interested individuals—practitioners, civic leaders, sponsors, students, residents, and travelers. Join in and play a role—with blogging, news aggregation, business development, sponsorships, social media and WordPress techniques, content development, online tools, and networking.

To contribute posts and articles, to obtain a listing in “Resources,” or to help develop and support this website, please send us a message via our contact form. Internships are available on a limited basis, especially for WordPress-literate candidates and journalism students. Contact us.

Our progenitor, the National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations, terminated during the preparation for National Geographic’s partnering with Fox and subsequently Disney. The Destination Stewardship Center cooperates as appropriate with National Geographic but is organizationally independent.

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