The “Tecnológico de Costa Rica” (TEC), through the Sustainable Tourism Management career, leads a strategy that seeks to turn Cartago and the Los Santos Area into the new cradle of tourism in Costa Rica.
“The idea is that when a national or foreign tourist asks: What should I know in this Central American country? Cartago and the Los Santos Area are among the sites chosen with the highest rate of visitation,” said Mariam Álvarez, coordinator of the Sustainable Tourism Management career at TEC. This will be done through the Development Strategy of the tourist ring of the province of Cartago and Los Santos.
The Strategy responds to an articulated work between 23 institutions. Among them: municipalities, business chambers, public entities, community and university sectors, among others, that seek to publicize the natural, cultural and gastronomic wealth of the various cantons of the province.
But how exactly does it work?
The Strategy consists of three parts. First, all the tourist services in the area are counted; then, thematic routes are drawn and finally, it is expected to have an app that helps the visitor.
1- Accounting of tourist services
At this time, the strategy is in the first stage, where it is being recorded what tourist services there are in each canton. For example, hotels, spaces for hiking and enjoying nature, restaurants, historic centers, conditions of public roads, among others.
According to Álvarez, today, Paraíso is fully accounted for and the following will be La Unión and Tres Ríos. “For us it is very important to publicize what we are doing, because we need more actors to join this effort,” said the teacher.
2- Routes are drawn
Once all the cantons of the province of Cartago have been counted (Cartago, Paraíso, La Unión, Jiménez, Turrialba, Alvarado, Oreamuno, El Guarco, Dota, Tarrazú and León Cortés); as well as the area of Los Santos, routes will be traced. Each route will offer a tour of towns that share certain attractions. Thus the visitor does not know only one place, but lives a thematic experience.
For example, it is likely that one of the routes is “the archaeological route” that will allow you to visit the Guayabo National Monument and the Los Quetzales National Park.
3- Creating an app
Among the objectives to strengthen technological innovation and ensure the positioning of a destination is to build an app that allows quick access to updated information on places of visitation.Thus, for example, it is intended that the app has the routes as well as the tourist services in a fast and attractive way.
“We believe that both Cartago and the Zona de los Santos are areas with a lot of tourist potential, the problem is that they are not promoted as a destination, but precisely the ring has that scope and we hope to collaborate with that goal progressively,” said Karla Artavia one of the students and assistant of the Strategy.
According to the Coordinator of the Sustainable Tourism Management career, it is estimated that the Strategy will be able to carry out many of the programmed activities with the support of institutions and organizations by the end of 2022.
Although it is true, the Strategy was proposed before the arrival of Covid 19 in the country; For many actors, this could be the boost the area needs to reactivate the economy through tourism, which has been one of the groups most affected by the pandemic.
Counting on it
In 2015, the TEC Sustainable Tourism Management career developed a document, together with other institutions, where it described the tourist situation of Cartago in order to turn the Province into an ecotourism destination.
The collaboration was requested by the Special Permanent Commission of Tourism of the Legislative Assembly, through the office of the deputy of the Broad Front, Francisco Camacho.
In addition to the TEC, various institutions associated with the tourism development of the Province were convened, such as the National Learning Institute, the Cartago University College (CUC), the University of Costa Rica through the Paraíso headquarters and Coopearruco R.L.
The objective of the document was to create an important input that would allow the deputies to carry out the necessary procedures to elaborate a bill that would declare various routes called “Carthage Tourist Ring” of national tourist interest, where it was even proposed to expose the province as ecotourism destination above the Greater Metropolitan Area.
However, the project obtained a negative opinion from the deputies. Four years later, the ruling did not prevent the initiative from going ahead; on the contrary, today it is more consolidated and more than 20 actors have joined.