- Director, International Institute of Tourism Studies
Seleni Matus has spent more than 15 years designing and directing large, multi-stakeholder initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean that have enhanced the quality of tourism offerings and helped to ensure the long-term health of natural ecosystems. These include the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative and the Sustainable Destinations Alliance of the Americas.
A native of Belize, Matus served as the country’s director of tourism and oversaw the reorganization of the tourism board in order to meet the demands of a fiercely competitive global marketplace. She developed the country’s tour guide training and certification program and managed the Programme for Belize’s ecotourism tour operation and lodges.
In her recent capacity as vice president of Global Programs at Sustainable Travel International, Seleni provided destination sustainability planning and policy support to more than 20 destinations throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. She also helped multinational corporations such as Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to develop and implement corporate strategies for destination stewardship.
Seleni is the co-author of publications including, Linking Communities, Tourism & Conservation: A Tourism Assessment Process, Tourism and Biodiversity: Mapping Tourism’s Global Footprint and From Ship to Shore: Sustainable Stewardship in Cruise Destinations. She was a founding member of the Mesoamerican Ecotourism Alliance and served on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s board of directors. She is a member of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Sustainable Tourism Committee, the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Caribbean and Belize Marine Fund.
Anna Barrera is a research scholar at the George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies, where she manages indigenous destination development projects with native communities and organizations. She has worked with tribes on local, regional and national tourism planning and capacity-building efforts including the co-management of NativeAmerica.travel for the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association and a destination strategy and public-private partnership development project for the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Mexican Secretary of Tourism. Anna has extensive experience working with the private sector, including multinationals like Caesars Entertainment — where she works on sustainability strategy — and small tour operators, whom she helps with operations and visibility.
Anna earned a B.S. in sociology and communication studies from Northwestern University and a Master’s of Tourism Administration from the George Washington University School of Business, where she focused on sustainable destination management. Prior to tourism, she worked in institutional asset management for several years.
In addition to his position with the Rovira i Virgili University in Catalonia, Spain — where he serves as a full professor of regional geographical analysis and directs the doctoral program in tourism and leisure — Salvador Anton Clavé is a senior scholar with the International Institute of Tourism Studies, helping to advance research around urban planning and the sustainable tourism partnership with Cuba. His works concentrates on the evolution of tourism destinations, urban and regional tourism planning, the analysis of the globalization of leisure, the impact of information and communication technologies in tourism destinations and issues concerning tourism policies and local development.
During the academic year 2015-16, as a visiting research scholar at the George Washington University, Salvador conducted joint research with the International Institute of Tourism Studies and the Center of Real Estate and Urban Analysis on good urban planning and the impacts of walkability on urban tourism performance in destinations including Washington, D.C. Learn more.
Salvador served as director/dean of the Tourism and Leisure School/Faculty of Tourism and Geography at the Rovira I Virgili University between 2002 and 2014. Among his most relevant major publications are his books entitled The Global Theme Park Industry (CABI, 2007) Análisis Territorial del Turismo y Planificación de Destinos Turísticos (Tirant lo Blanch, 2011, co-authored with JF. Vera, F. López and M. Marchena), Geographies of Tourism: European Research Perspectives (Emerald, 2013, co-edited with J. Wilson) and Tourism Destination Evolution (Routledge, 2016, co-edited with P. Brouder, A. Gill and D. Ioannides).
After spending most of his career at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) planning, designing, and managing tourism investment and sector loan projects for the Latin America and the Caribbean, Juan Luna-Kelser continues to consult on sustainable tourism projects for bilateral and multilateral financial institutions, as well as NGOs and private clients.
As an adjunct professor and senior research scholar at the George Washington University School of Business and International Institute of Tourism Studies, Luna-Kelser has taught courses in tourism policy analysis and community-based tourism and provided training in destination management, product development, ecotourism, workforce development, and rural and community-based tourism. Juan is also an advisor, facilitator and co-instructor to the University School of Business International Consulting Practicum Study Abroad Summer Program, involving graduate students in a six-week hands-on tourism consulting assignment. He coordinates the on-site portion of the UNWTO Themis Foundation/GW course Tourism as a Path to International Cooperation and Sustainable Development, which trains university graduates and professionals in subject areas related to international cooperation and development through tourism.
Juan holds a master’s degree in Tourism Administration with a concentration in Sustainable Destination Management from the George Washington University, as well as a master’s in Political Science from Drew University. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of the Pacific. Juan is originally from Mexico City and is fluent in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
Taylor Ruoff is a program manager at the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies. She manages sustainable tourism assessment and development projects in North America and the Caribbean and research projects in partnership with organizations such as the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
Her past projects for the institute include: coordinating two Global Sustainable Tourism Council destination assessments and action plans (Roatan, Honduras and Belize City, Belize), managing the development of a tourism destination development and management plan for the parish of St. Thomas, Jamaica, leading the first-ever social netnography study for the 2018 Adventure Tourism Development Index, and conducting research and analysis on more than 40 Caribbean destination organizations and their responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Her current projects include managing the development of a destination assurance framework and strategy for Jamaica and an evaluation of Oregon’s destination and statewide tourism networks.
Taylor also manages GW’s Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism Destination Management Program. In addition, she is a food tour guide in the Washington, D.C. area, where she works with a local food tour operator to develop new products, routes, and seasonal events to showcase the unique culinary and local history of D.C.’s neighborhoods. She previously interned for the U.S. Travel Association and the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST).
Taylor earned a B.S. in Business Administration with a focus in International Business and Marketing from the University of Richmond. She holds a Master of Tourism Administration from the George Washington University School of Business with a focus in Sustainable Destination Management.
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