How Costa Rica is leading the way in sustainable tourism

Juan Antonio (Oso) Oseguera | (TNS) TravelPulse

Travel is more than a consumer product; it is a resource and a necessary experience. It is a resource and an occasion for people that allows them to open up to others, meet, understand the world, and know themselves.

That is why we will never stop traveling, but we will change how we do it. And it is necessary to take care of the planet. Something that Costa Rica has done well.

Costa Rica is one of the most ecological countries on the planet, and for years it has had a concept of travel integrated with nature that has become an emblem of ecotourism. The recovery of the tourism sector involves implementing sustainable models following the Costa Rican example.

Sustainability is not only a practice in Costa Rica but a way of life. Responsible tourism is found in every region of the country, permeates government policies even in different administrations, and is embraced by citizens and visitors, making the country one of the most sustainable destinations in the Americas.

William Rodríguez, minister of tourism of Costa Rica, pointed out that they are clear that the raw material to have a more significant activity of travelers is nature, so they must take care of it and not dilapidate it. “We have to respect.”

Rodríguez explained in an interview with TravelPulse that “the concept of conservation has two parts: one is to keep things as they are, and at the same time serve for research and conservation. And the other part is for enjoyment, without devastating.”

How? Separating a specific area so it can be visited and the rest to keep it isolated from tourism. The park with the most open area to the public is 7 percent, and the remaining 93 percent is untouchable and kept in conservation. “On average, our parks maintain between 4 and 5 percent of areas open to the public. The secret of growing green areas and offering sustainable tourism is to keep most of them closed and in their natural state.”

The minister mentioned how Costa Rica had set the example of not deforesting but reforesting and went from having a 25 percent green area to 56 percent. Today, tourism generates 8.1 percent of the Central American country’s GDP, and the minister recognizes that it brings benefits and social and economic progress in areas where traditional industry has yet to reach.

Rodríguez affirmed that the sustainability aspect in Costa Rica is focused on environmental, social, and economic factors. “With those criteria, we have sold the country in terms of tourism, and we have been successful, which is why we are launching this new promotional campaign.”

“It is not the same thing to sell attractiveness, but the experience that we can generate to the foreign traveler and thus enrich their leisure or family trip,” he said.

Costa Rica, a pioneer in sustainability and safe ecotourism, received the Champions of the Earth award, the United Nation’s highest environmental award, for its role in protecting nature and its commitment to combating climate change.

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