Morais is an Associate Professor of Sustainable Tourism and a Tourism Extension Specialist at North Carolina State University. He is also the lead in(ve)stigator of People-First Tourism Lab, a participatory action research collective started at NC State and now involving researchers and community development partners globally (P1tLab.ncsu.edu). Morais supports small communities and microentrepreneurs across the State of North Carolina and internationally. Morais integrates the insight and energy of an increasingly rich team of scholars in disciplines ranging from Cultural Anthropology, Humanitarian Engineering, Social Business, Community Psychology, Design, and Computer Science. His disciplinary home is Social-psychology and through this lens he investigates how tourism microentrepreneurship is developed and how it may affect host communities ability to harness economic opportunity in their own terms.
Apolónia Rodrigues is the founder and creator of the destination brand Dark Sky® and Dark Sky® Alqueva and president of Dark Sky® Association and the Rede de Turismo de Aldeia do Alentejo. She occupied leading roles on the European System of Tourism Indicators, the Tourism Sustainability Group, the Eureka European Tourism Advisory Committee, and the Task Force Indicators of the Network of European Regions for Sustainable and Competitive Tourism. Apolonia won numerous international awards including the Tourism Oscar from the World Travel Awards as Europe´s Responsible Tourism Award in 2019, the Sustainable Leadership Award 2020, the Corporate Travel Awards 2020, The Bizz and The Peak of Success 2020, the ACQ5 Country and Global Awards 2020, and the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 by Green Destinations.
Aurea Rodrigues has a PhD in Tourism from the University of Aveiro, is an assistant professor in Tourism Studies and an affiliate researcher at CIDEHUS at the University of Évora. She collaborates as a researcher for Dark Sky Alqueva. Rodrigues has collaborated internationally with the Pennsylvania State University, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Siena. Her main research interests are astrotourism, sustainable rural tourism development, consumer behavior in tourism, and marketing. She has authored and co-authored chapters in books, articles in national and international journals, and has made various communications and lectures at international and national conferences.
Antonia Varela, managing director of the Starlight Foundation, has a PhD in Astrophysics from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris. She is a senior engineer of the IAC Sky Quality Group and of the Star Formation Group. Antonia has over a hundred scientific publications, as well 700+ contributions to popular science and the press. As a project advisor for the Agencia Nacional de Evaluación y Prospectiva, she worked on the site selection for the Gran Telescopio de Canarias, the European Extremely Large Telescope, and the Thirty Meter Telescope. Antonia is advisor and auditor of 19 Starlight Reserves and Tourist Destinations, sky quality certification granted by the Starlight Foundation and endorsed by UNWTO and the International Astronomical Union. She is director and teacher of numerous courses for Starlight guides, monitors and auditors. The Starlight Foundation recently won the 2019 LuxLife Global Hospitality Awards and the FiturNext 2020 Challenge Award.
Giovanni Pinzon Estrada
Giovanni Pinzón Estrada is a Colombian astronomer and associate professor at “Universidad Nacional de Colombia” in Bogotá. His main scientific interests are related to the early stages of the stars. In addition, he has been working for several years in identifying suitable locations for astrotourism in rural Colombia by examining sky conditions. In 2019, he and his team conducted a caferul one-year monitoring of the sky quality at La Tatacoa which technically supported the recent certification of this rural site as the first Starlight Tourist Destination in a tropical country.
John Barentine is the Principal Consultant at Dark Sky Consulting, LLC. He earned a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin and previously held staff positions at the National Solar Observatory, Apache Point Observatory, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and the International Dark-Sky Association. Throughout his career, he has been involved in education and outreach to help increase the public understanding of science. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union, and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. His interests outside of astronomy and light pollution research include history, art and architecture, politics, law and current events.
Miguel Claro is a Portuguese professional photographer, author and communicator astronomy science through public talks, stargazing sessions, articles, exhibitions and astrophotography workshops. He specializes in astro-photography of landscapes or Skyscapes (connecting the night sky with Earth elements; valuing the architectural, cultural and landscape heritage, as well as the Universe). He is the official astrophotographer of Dark Sky® Alqueva, a photo ambassador for the European Southern Observatory, a Space.com Contributor, and photographer member of The World at Night. He also was jury president of the international competition for the Photo Nightscape Award, has been a lecturer in two TEDx editions, and collaborates regularly with National Geographic (Portugal), Astronomy (USA), Astronomy Now (UK) and Ciel et Espace (France).