2008 Visionary of the year

Costas Christ
Global Travel Editor & Columnist
National Geographic Adventure magazine

Chairman of Judges
World Travel and Tourism Council

Tourism for Tomorrow Awards

Costas Christ has spent more than two decades working to transform travel and tourism – the world’s largest industry -  into becoming a catalyst for safeguarding the cultural and  natural heritage of our planet.  In his position as Global Travel Editor and columnist for National Geographic Adventure magazine, Costas brings awareness to travelers on how they can have the vacation of a lifetime and also help protect the Earth. An internationally recognized expert on  sustainable tourism, he serves as the Chairman of Judges for the World Travel and Tourism Council - Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, which recognizes leading models of environmentally and socially responsible travel. He is one of the pioneers of ecotourism and was a founding member and former Chairman of the Board of The International Ecotourism Society. As a Senior Director at Conservation International, Costas supervised ecotourism projects in more than a dozen countries focused on the protection of biodiversity and poverty alleviation. His own travels have led him to more than 100 countries across six continents, including some of the most remote wilderness areas and archeological sites on Earth, home to vanishing cultures, endangered species and the make or break world of basic survival for millions of people. He believes that tourism, properly planned and managed, can be a powerful opportunity for protecting nature and sustaining the well being of local communities. It is a message that is helping to redefine modern travel.

Costas is the lead author of Tourism and Biodiversity: Mapping Tourism’s Global Footprint and a contributing author in Wilderness: Earth's Last Wild Places. His articles and essays on travel and tourism have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Boston Globe and Sunday Times of London. He has appeared many times on television and radio, including ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, BBC, NPR, CBS, NBC and PBS, to advocate for a new vision of tourism that embraces care for our planet, respects cultural diversity and supports communities. He lives on a 40 acre family farm on the coast of Maine where he grows organic blueberries and is active in farm to table collaboration with other small-scale farmers.