The International Social Tourism Organization (ISTO), made up of 46 countries with high interest in accessible and respectful tourism, renewed the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) as one of its members, thus reaffirming Costa Rica’s ambition to be a sustainable and inclusive destination.
Thanks to the advances made by the ICT in terms of accessible tourism, together with the recent launch of the Tourism for all People Program, ISTO highlighted the country for providing initiatives to provide direct, personal and barrier-free access to all people for the discovery of the wealth of our country, through a sustainable, supportive, responsible and accessible tourist leisure.
Within the framework of the specialized training event “Forming Leading sustainability companies”, developed on July 6th and aimed at Costa Rican companies that have the Tourism Sustainability Certification (CST) issued by the ICT, the aforementioned renewal was carried out and Talks were shared with international exhibitors, both from ISTO, Booking.com and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), as well as the national participation of the National Forest Financing Fund (FONAFIFO).
The purpose of the activity was to generate added value to the invited companies and organizations and to publicize the actions carried out with the allied organizations. During the activity, issues in accessible tourism and sustainability were addressed, technical workshops were given and recent studies on sustainability were unveiled.
“This meeting is of capital importance for the country to update and strengthen us. Costa Rica has a recognized world leadership in sustainable tourism due to the decisions made over the years and because it is part of the DNA of Costa Ricans. Economic and social growth must go hand in hand with environmental sustainability”, explained the Minister of Tourism, William Rodríguez. The chief highlighted the Costa Rican tourism model as inclusive, sustainable and innovative, also focused on environmental conservation and community development.
As one of the most revealing data, the company Booking.com, the travel platform for accommodation reservations, released the results of the latest Sustainable Travel Report 2023. Precisely, data from this study places our country in position number 7 in The Latin American countries with the most accommodation alternatives with the Sustainable Travel label in Latin America. This report is the result of an online survey with an extensive verification process and conducted with more than 30,000 travelers in 28 countries.
Currently, more than 570,000 properties around the world are part of the Booking.com Sustainable Travel program and have received the label shown on this platform.
The report also indicates that 49% of Latin Americans and 42% of Americans would be willing to invest in lodging that has a sustainability certificate and pay more for sustainable travel options, even when spending increases, all in order to make a difference.
In addition, 83% of Latin Americans feel attracted to tourism companies that offer sustainable options, followed by Germany with 66% and the United States with 67%, as confirmed by LuizCegato, Booking.com exhibitor.
In relation to accommodation, 75% of Latin American travelers would feel better if they stayed in an establishment that has a sustainable certification and 56% of North Americans too.
For the first time, the GSTC was in Costa Rica
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has developed sustainability criteria for industry (lodging and tour operations) and for destinations. He is currently working on criteria for the MICE (Meeting, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions) segment, a process in which the ICT participates as a key actor with its representation of the Department of Certifications and Tourism Social Responsibility of the ICT.
For the first time, the GSTC visited the country and gave a talk at this event where it invited companies to participate in the public consultation process that will contribute their knowledge and experiences to the development of the meeting industry criteria, MICE.
Since July 2020, the CST achieved the status of “Recognized Standard” by the GSTC for the lodging and tour operation categories, thanks to the standardization of its criteria with the global sustainability criteria after an exhaustive review by the panel of international experts. of the organization, thus providing international support for the CST.
The event “Forming leading sustainability companies” had the international presence of experts, Verónica Gómez, director for the Americas of ISTO, who spoke to those present about ISTO and its impact and actions on social sustainability; Natalia Sanín, measurement and reporting analyst for the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), spoke about the GSTC and its actions and impact; Ireth Rodríguez, head of ICT Promotion and Carmen Roldán, head of the Department of Marketing of Environmental Services of the Forest Fund for Forest Financing (FONAFIFO) who spoke about the ICT-FONAFIFO Alliance to face climate change. Finally, LuizCegato, Booking.com Senior Manager of Communications and Public Relations for Latin America, presented Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel program to companies with CST and traveler trends.
Companies interested in obtaining the ICT Tourism Sustainability Certificate can write to [email protected] or visit the website: www.turismo-sostenible.co.cr