With a dynamic career spanning decades, Costas has gained many titles: Ecotourism Pioneer, Sustainable Tourism Visionary, Award-Winning National Geographic Travel Writer – to name a few – and his life’s work has helped shape the world of travel and tourism as we know it today.
As a Harvard University wildlife field researcher in Kenya when he was a college student, long before the concept of ecotourism was established, Costas was struck by the inequality he witnessed between the safari tourism industry, underfunded national parks tasked with protecting some of the world’s rarest species, and impoverished local villagers.
On contemplative nights around the campfire at his research outpost in Kenya’s Northern Frontier District, he began to imagine a different model for tourism – one in which the travel industry would help protect endangered species, preserve cultural heritage and support community development. It was this thinking that set him on a new journey.
For the past 30 years, Costas Christ has been at the leading edge of the green travel movement, since way before it was ever called green or even a movement.- NBC News
In 1991, Costas and a dozen like-minded thinkers from around the globe gathered to officially define ecotourism for the first time as “responsible travel to natural areas that protects nature and sustains the well-being of local people.”
He then worked to introduce these same principles into the mainstream travel industry, helping to establish sustainable tourism based on three key pillars: Environmentally friendly operations; Protection of natural and cultural heritage; and Social and economic benefits for local people. This led to the founding of Beyond Green Travel over 20 years ago to advance a new and positive vision for tourism that continues to transform the global travel industry today.
Costas has been to over 130 countries all over the world helping ecotourism become what it is today. To make his story even better, his home base when not traveling is on an organic blueberry farm in Maine. Traveling and tourism would not be what it is today without Costas.