. . . so far
The nonprofit Destination Stewardship Center is a growing community of people involved in the intersection between tourism and stewardship of places. Our team seeks additional volunteer participants who meet our qualifications, as well as potential partners, sponsors, and “Destination Monitors” for specific places, especially World Heritage destinations.
Jonathan Tourtellot, Founder, Sponsor, CEO, and Portal Editor in Chief. I specialize in sustainable tourism and destination stewardship, as a journalist, editor, and consultant. With the support of my patient wife, Sally Bensusen, I originated the concept of geotourism as defined by National Geographic: “Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.” I founded and ran National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations for nine years. There we instituted the National Geographic Geotourism MapGuide program and the landmark Destination Stewardship surveys published in National Geographic Traveler, 2004-2010. I occasionally blogged for National Geographic News until the platform closed in 2018. I speak and hold workshops on destination stewardship and the geotourism approach around the world.
Tamara Olton, Ecotourism page editor, Instagram editor. When not exploring the world myself, I help others travel while working as a travel agent. Over time, I realized how travel, when conducted unsustainably, can harm the destinations in which tourist enjoy and began to focus on sustainable travel and ecotourism. I received an MA from Michigan State University focusing on the use of small scale, low-impact tourism as an incentive in conserving endangered wildlife in developing communities. I have lived in both Cambodia and Costa Rica while learning more about wildlife focused and eco-centered tourism, and look forward to applying these experiences towards the concept of sense of place while working with the Destination Stewardship Center.
Erika Gilsdorf, Video Producer for the World’s Inspiring Places multimedia project. I am the Executive Producer of Minnesota-based South Shore Productions, specializing in international videos on sustainability and tourism. We have produced professional videos for such entities as Nat Geo Wild Chronicles, World Bank Group, The Nature Conservancy, United Airlines, and Royal Caribbean Cruises. I also provide training on video skills, funding, and distribution strategies.
Shelby Luzzi, Agritourism and Gastronomy Topic Editor. I am a professional with a love of all-things travel. My background includes a BA in Italian, an extended stay in Italy, and over a decade of experience in restaurants and bars, which eventually developed into a passion for food tourism and community development. I received a Master in Tourism Administration from the George Washington University in 2019 as a way to nurture this interest and strengthen my skills in sustainable destination management. By day, I am a Convention Sales Assistant at Destination DC.
Ellen Rugh, Destination Councils Specialist. Ellen coordinates the Councils Project, researching exemplary case studies of destination stewardship and holistic destination management around the globe. She is a Program Manager at the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), where she supports consultancies, publications, and fieldwork through research. She holds dual M.A. degrees in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC and in Natural Resources & Sustainable Development from the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica.
Program Advisers and Collaborators
Kit Carstens, retired businessman and philanthropic-investment consultant for impact investors and geotouristic enterprises. I’ve spent over 30 years founding and developing EDC’s locally and overseas, I bring to the table a skill set that includes the right mix of passion and practicality with the ultimate goal of having a financially successful development. I provide a communication link between the sustainable industry and the potential developer.
Terrie Clifford, partnerships and marketing advisor. I am a marketing strategist and business development professional focused on innovative environmental, and non-profit organizations. Washington, D.C. area. I’ve held senior marketing and business development positions with the National Wildlife Federation, United Way Worldwide, National Geographic, America Online and U.S. News and World report.
Timothy Greenleaf, Founding Webmaster and technical adviser. I specialize in applying user-centered design, content strategy, and technology to produce high-impact issue advocacy campaigns, editorial features, and e-commerce web applications designed to inform, engage, and persuade users to act.
Samantha Hogenson Bray, Internships Adviser, Assistant emeritus to the Founder. I’m the Managing Director at the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), geotourism degree holder from Missouri State University, & MTA from George Washington University. A lover of all things travel!
Irene Lane—Finance and eco-certification adviser. Founder of Greenloons and Chair of the Market-Access Group for GSTC, I have used my background in international finance to help create the ROI Model for Sustainability, a tool that enables tourism companies and DMOs to calculate the monetary return on investment for eco-responsible policies and eco-certification.
Cynthia Linnell—Business, managerial, and television adviser; ecotourism liaison. Cindy is currently the travel program director at the American Institute of Architects; formerly she managed television production at National Geographic.
Devika McWalters, IGO and communications advisor. I specialize in strategic marketing, communications, training, business development, and digital media. I started following Jonathan Tourtellot’s geotourism and sustainable tourism philosophy while working at National Geographic, and continue to do so now while working at the World Bank. I am passionate about destination stewardship and helping others protect, preserve, and promote the great places of the world.
Arild Molstad, Advising Journalist, conservationist, and tourism consultant, based in Norway and France. Author of Last-Chance Destinations: A Guide to Sustainable Tourism.
Hawley Montgomery, Digital Consultation and Analytics Advisor. BA in Geography/Geotourism from Missouri State University, Business Development Coordinator at MMGY Global, world’s largest integrated travel marketing organization.
(Note—Pages with no bio box are edited by Jonathan Tourtellot)
Samantha Hogensen, Academia Page.
Lucy Matthews—Heritage Tourism Page. Master’s degree in Tourism, Environment & Development from King’s College London with a focus on cultural heritage.
Tamara Olton—Ecotourism page.
Kathryn Warnes—Gastronomy page.
Emeritus (Thank you!)
Eugene Kim—Voluntourism and gastronomy
Kathryn Warnes—Social media, heritage tourism, and gastronomy