• Jonathan Tourtellot

    CEO, Destination Stewardship Center

    Journalist, editor, speaker, and consultant, Jonathan Tourtellot runs the nonprofit Destination Stewardship Center, the independent successor to National Geographic’s former Center for Sustainable Destinations, a program he founded and directed. During his three-decade career there as a senior editor and National Geographic Fellow he wrote about travel, geography, the environment, and science.

    Motivated by his concern for the future of the world’s distinctive places, he originated the concept of the geotourism approach, defined as “tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.” Using structured crowd-sourcing, he instituted National Geographic’s Geotourism MapGuide program and the landmark Destination Stewardship surveys reported annually as the cover story in National Geographic Traveler, 2004-2010. He now sees hope in the memberships of such organizations as Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and their kin: “They uniquely include both travelers and residents, a potential force for advocacy with a common interest in caring for the places they love.”

    He wrote the Traveler’s first two feature stories on tourism and destination management, “The Two Faces of Tourism” and “The Tourism Wars,” both winners of the Lowell Thomas award. He wrote the cover survey article, “Tourism: Part Threat, Part Hope,” for UNESCO’s World Heritage magazine, and blogs for National Geographic Voices on such topics as archaeological tourism, cruise ship impacts, rural tourism, and World Heritage destinations. He works with several international organizations in support of sustainable destinations and is the primary author of the Geotourism Charter, a set of stewardship principles adopted by assorted world destinations, as well as by the Organization of American States in 2013.

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