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Recent Projects

Public lands and waters are a community asset and catalyst for sustainable economic development for the visitor and outdoor recreation industry.  During the pandemic, many outdoor communities saw a massive surge in outdoor recreation and visitation to public lands. This led many communities to adopt destination stewardship best practices.  TIS was there to assist.

  • Contracted by Visit North Carolina and developing state-level programming for responsible recreation, destination stewardship, and sustainable tourism.

  • Contracted by Colorado Tourism Office and providing technical assistance to multiple alliances and communities throughout the state. Selected projects have included:  developing a destination stewardship engagement and communications program; drafting strategic MOU for a five-DMO stewardship alliance; leading all aspects of an outdoor industry needs assessment; analyzing economic impact and geolocation data to evaluate positive impacts of tourism; developing a responsible recreation social media campaign.

  • Contracted by Travel Oregon and providing destination development technical assistance to multiple communities throughout the state.  Projects have included:  facilitating a series of product development planning workshops; facilitating community-defined asset inventory to develop an outdoor recreation map; developing a stewardship communications plan for responsible recreation.  

  • Leading Sustainable Destination Assessments in Ogden, UT and Oceanside, CA.  The assessment uses Mountain IDEAL's internationally-recognized best practices to evaluate performance and provide strategies for advancing destination stewardship.  Each assessment includes:  exhaustive desktop research, stakeholder interviews, scoring evaluation of nine stewardship themes, and comprehensive report.  

  • Acting as Sr. Consultant on Sustainable Destination Management Plans in Jackson, WY and Ketchikan, AK For both projects, TIS conducted a Sustainable Destination Assessment, led workshops on Tourism Impact Monitoring, and provided tactical actions for implementing a Visitor Use Management strategy.   

  • Providing technical support in the development of the Building Outdoor Communities initiative led by WNC MADE x MTNS to activate outdoor economies in western North Carolina.

  • Acting as Program Administrator for the Mountain IDEAL Program.  Responsibilities include:

    • Advised Vail and Breckenridge, CO in maintaining third-party certification.  Currently advising Park City, UT through the process of preparing for certification.  

    • Led Aspen and Durango, CO through baseline assessment and successfully entered them into Top 100 Sustainability Stories Program where they each received top recognitions.

    • Developed and facilitate the annual, multi-session Mountain IDEAL Learning Series

  • Invited to multiple speaking engagements to share the presentation "Destination Stewardship:  Reimagining the Purpose of Tourism".
Vail, Colorado - Sustainable Destination Planning, Standards & Program Development, Certification

Vail, Colorado is an iconic mountain resort community that was founded specifically as a tourism destination with an ethos of environmental conservation. Through a unique partnership of the Town of Vail, Vail Resorts, and the US Forest Service, the destination has reached new heights is sustainable destination development becoming the first GSTC-Certified destination in the United States.

  • Since 2012, responsibilities on developing and implementing a multi-year sustainable destination strategy included:

    • community engagement and visioning workshop

    • advising on the establishment of the Destination Stewardship Council

    • composing GSTC-recognized sustainability standards for businesses and destination managers

    • creating a multi-level certification program for businesses and auditor training workshops

    • developing online management system to monitor implementation of standard

    • advising on the development of multiple destination management plans

    • overseeing all aspects of the destination certification

    • advising destination stakeholders on advancing sustainable destination best practices

IMBA Ride Center Designations - Defining Program Vision & Value Proposition for Communities

For 20 years, IMBA's mission has been to 'create, enhance, and protect great places to ride mountain bikes.'  As a nonprofit IMBA's four focus areas are: BUILD, RIDE, LEARN, ENGAGE.  This includes activities such as sustainable trail design and construction, advocating for ride-friendly policies & legislations, advocating for access to public lands, educating riders on responsible riding, and establishing local bike clubs.  


IMBA's long standing designation program recognizes EPIC Trails and Destination Ride Centers.  These resources have become invaluable for communities looking to leverage mountain biking opportunities and riders searching for "must ride" trails.   Tourism Impact Services was contracted to develop the program vision and market positioning for the programs.    

  • The 12-month term contract includes the following activities:

    • Completed a situation analysis of the current Ride Center Program and provided program revamp concepts, practical recommendations and implementation plan to advance the program

    • Led strategic planning for IMBA leadership to design a program that was mission-driven and valuable for communities and riders.   

    • Developing tools and resources for communities to access to help their local planning and development 

    • Acting as project manager to oversee and coordinate all aspect of program development including ARCGIS Travel Planning Map and Ride Center micro-websites

    • Developing online application forms, database integration forms, user manuals, and marketing toolkits

    • Developing operations procedures and manuals for data management, administration, and marketing

    • Overseeing beta testing and program roll-out
Breckenridge, Colorado - Sustainable Destination Certification

Breckenridge, Colorado is historic mining town turned mountain resort community in the ski mecca of Summit County.  The Town of Breckenridge formed a Destination Stewardship Council and decided to adopt the Mountain IDEAL Standard for sustainable tourism planning and development.  Local stakeholders spent eighteen months completing a rigorous assessment of local policies, plans, and programs to ensure full compliance with the standard.  Green Destinations, an internationally accredited certification body, complete an independent, objective, and transparent audit of the destination's activities and awarded a third-party certification.  They are just the third certified sustainable destination in the USA.  

  • Project responsibilities included:

    • coaching stakeholders at the Town of Breckenridge in preparing their certification application

    • reviewing evidence for compliance and providing feedback for improvements

    • providing guidance on leveraging certification award for global recognition

Brevard, North Carolina - Sustainable Destination Assessment & Recognition

Transylvania County, NC has over 100,000 acres of pristine public lands (about 70% of the land within the county) laced with epic hiking and mountain biking trails, the 3rd oldest river in the world, massive rock monoliths daring to be climbed, North America's largest concentration of waterfalls (over 250 in all), and a small town, Brevard, vibrant with Southern Appalachian charm, culture, music, and history.  Local stakeholders recognized that their key assets were natural resources and outdoor recreation and to ensure the long term sustainability of those resources required a thorough assessment as key sustainability themes.  

  • Project responsibilities included:

    • coaching stakeholders at the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority in assessing their destination policies, strategic plans, civic programs, and local businesses across a variety of sustainability issues

    • reviewing evidence for compliance and providing feedback for improvements

    • helped define their sustainability pitch for global awards program

    • providing guidance on leveraging award for global recognition

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Aruba - Carrying Capacity Study  

Under the direction of the Aruba Tourism Authority (ATA), Sustainable Travel International was contracted to complete a Carrying Capacity Study to determine the extent Aruba's tourism industry could expand and attract more visitors while also maintaining the integrity of the island as well as the quality of life of its residents.   The key outputs of the project included: 1) Scenario Modeling for Tourism Growth which highlighted the differences in a "value" vs "volume" expansion; 2) Carrying Capacity Monitoring & Evaluation Framework.            

  • In my role as Senior Technical Advisor for Sustainable Travel International, was responsible for:

    • design and development of Carrying Capacity Monitoring & Evaluation Framework

    • based on research findings, defined unique indicators to effectively measure tourism impacts

    • defined limits of acceptable change for each indicator by assigning values for desired conditions and minimum and maximum thresholds

    • conducted research on international benchmarks

    • data mining for carrying capacity indicators

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Jamaica - Destination Assurance Policy and Strategy Framework  

The Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Tourism (MOT), initiated the development of a national tourism Destination Assurance Framework and Strategy (DAFS) that will serve as a long-term blueprint to guide the MOT and and its partner to strengthen, further develop and implement policies and strategies the will ensure continuous improvement in the delivery and management of quality through the tourism value chain. Destination assurance is defined as Jamaica’s brand promise to visitors that assures authentic Jamaican experiences, and a seamless, safe, secure, and sustainable stay.      

  • Co-Led the diverse project team through the following activities over an 8-month period:

    • conducted thorough literature review and developed extensive situational analysis

      • led all research on international quality and sustainability management standards​ and systems

    • engaged nearly 300 stakeholders from the public, private and third sectors

      • led all engagement with private sector​

    • designed policy framework model and defined specific actions to develop a holistic Destination Assurance Programme and Certification model

    • delivered to MOT a Policy Framework for long term development and management of programme

GMIST - Oregon Study Tour

Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism (GMIST) designs international study missions for destination managers and tourism business operators from the Eastern Canadian Providences.  These programs allow participants to enjoy a destination like a visitor but also work directly with local stakeholders to understand how they develop and implement sustainability development strategies.         

  • Responsible for developing itinerary and travel arrangements which included:

    • planned a six day travel itinerary and interpretative agenda with unique accommodations, a variety of excursions, transportation, meals, learning experiences and peer-to-peer networking

    • connected participants with Travel Oregon (state tourism authority), Columbia Gorge Tourism Association (regional DMO), local experts, and tourism operators

    • hosted a group of 17 tourism professionals throughout the trip

Ocean Cay Marine Reserve - Environmental, Social, Health, and Safety Management System

MSC Cruises, a premier cruise line sailing to destinations around the world, is now embarking on the development of Ocean Cay Marine Reserve, an island destination for day trips for its passengers in The Bahamas.  This ambitious project by MSC is transforming a former industrial sand mining site into a sustainable island oasis and protected marine reserve scheduled to open in 2019.  My team was hired to develop a holistic sustainability management framework for MSC Cruises and all aspects of the island destination.  

  • The  development of the multi-phase Environmental & Social Management System included:

    • ensuring adherence to multiple international sustainability management standards (International Finance Corporation (IFC) Environmental & Social Performance Standards; ISO 9001, 14001, 18001; GSTC; et al.)

    • evaluated environmental risks and conducted social impact assessments

    • identified areas of influence and facilitated stakeholder engagement programs

    • developed Environmental, Social, Health, and Safety (ESHS) Management Plans including drafting policies and procedural documents

    • developed comprehensive ESHS monitoring and reporting program

    • upcoming projects include:  sustainable procurement guidelines, tour operator training, interpretation programs, and eco-certification for the tourism attraction

G Adventures - Supply Line Assessment

G Adventures is the world's largest independent adventure travel company offering over 700 itineraries in over 100 countries.  G prides themselves on the positive impacts they create in local communities but they had never actually done a study that proved that was the case.  The G-Local assessment gathered insightful information from over a 1000 of their global suppliers across a spectrum of sustainability topics.  Evidence showed that 91% of their spending went directly to locally owned businesses who employed local staff and support community initiatives.

  • The eighteen-month supply line assessment (managed through Sustainable Travel International) included:

    • interviewed G executives to gain an understanding of core values they wanted to measure

    • composed a diverse selection of indicators for the assessment survey

    • developed online survey (Qualtrics) to deploy to thousands of global suppliers

    • defined verification methodology using local guides to validate survey responses

    • conducted thorough analysis of data responses and created unique index scoring

Panama - National Certification Program

Panama, the biological land bridge between North and South America has 21% of its terrestrial land as a protected areas but most of these have not open to recreation and tourism.  The Panamanian government sees this as an opportunity to increase ecotourism within the country but also understands the importance to ensure positive impacts are maximized and negative impacts are minimized.    

  • The ten-month standards / certification program development (managed through Sustainable Travel International) included:

    • multiple rounds of stakeholder engagement with government, business, and NGO partners

    • composed criteria for multiple sectors with an emphasis on ecotourism

    • defined multi-level certification program accredited by national standards association

    • drafted training manuals and workshops for program administrators, businesses, and auditors

World Bank - Tourism Hotspots for Development

The Global Tourism Team at World Bank were extremely active in the promotion of the United Nations declaration of 2017 Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development (#IY2017, #Tourism4Dev).  As such, they have published several Knowledge Series publications on the topic.          

  • The four-month research and tool development included:

    • developed concept, conducted research, and acted as contributing author for the "20 Reasons Sustainable Tourism Counts for Development"

    • developed a methodology and prototype tool to be used by private investors and development funders to identify tourism hotspots where interventions have the greatest potential to maximize positive impact on socio-economic development and environmental conservation.  

GWU - Ecotourism Footprint in the Mediterranean

The International Institute of Tourism Studies (IITS) at The George Washington University is a world-class research and education center that has been a thought leader in sustainable tourism development and education for over 25 years.   IITS was contracted to develop a monitoring system to help measure and improve ecotourism impacts within Protected Areas of the Mediterraneanis in partnership with International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Global Footprint Network, and WWF.      

  • The eight-month monitoring program development included:

    • supporting the development of socio-economic criteria and environmental indicators to quantify a footprint of tourism activities

    • drafted conclusive report highlighting destination monitoring best practices

    • developed governance model for community monitoring program

    • designed and developed online monitoring platform (Google Suite)

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