Saturday, 1 May 2010
Sustainable and eco tourism are among the fastest growing segments in the international travel industry today, and few countries can compare to the natural offerings of Costa Rica.
Sustainable and eco tourism are among the fastest growing segments in the international travel industry today, and few countries can compare to the natural offerings of Costa Rica. The Central American nation has developed into a must-see destination for green tourists hoping to explore unspoiled and natural settings in a beautiful and diverse landscape. Yet, as a hotspot for international travel, the country has had to make a concerted effort to keep its jungles, mountains and beaches clean and beautiful.
Key to the preservation of Costa Rica's natural splendour is the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST). Enacted in 1996, the CST program is a series of guidelines and rules that outlines those steps required for a tourist site to operate while minimizing its impact on the local environment, population and culture.
These guidelines have helped shape the construction, management and operation of travel providers and accommodations across the country and caught the attention of larger national policy makers in the process. Indeed in recent years, the CST program has been celebrated by the World Economic Index Forum and the Environmental Performance Indicator developed by Yale and Columbia Universities, who have labelled Costa Rica as both the best and cleanest place to do business in the Americas.
The travel industry at large has also embraced the CST, with more than 150 hotels and tour operators receiving certification within the country. There was even some discussion of adopting similar programs in other countries at the III Virtual Congress on Latin American Tourism Industry and Destination Competitiveness.