Manuel Antonio National Park, located in Quepos, Puntarenas, received in January the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism (CST) in the Elite modality, granted by the Instituto Costaricense de Turismo (ICT), as reported by the director of the National Conservation System (SINAC) ), Rafael Gutiérrez.
It is a recognition that has as a fundamental purpose to make the concept of sustainability something real, practical and necessary, within the context of the country’s tourist competitiveness, in order to save the way in which natural and social resources are used.
SINAC started the process of choice for this certificate in March 2020 and culminated in January this year with the CST concession of the Technical Verification Commission (CTV) of the Elite category for this Protected Wild Area.
The Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, said that SINAC demonstrates that the sustainable management of a National Park is possible, “considering aspects of business management and measurement of social, environmental, cultural and economic impacts, as well as working with the communities of surrounding areas “.
“From all points of view, obtaining the CST is considered a very high merit, since it also manages two natural resources and protection of the environment, the area will contribute technically to the orientation for sustainable tourism as a way to strengthen and support internal, local and regional socio-economic development”, said the Minister.
For this recognition, the Manuel Antonio National Park will obtain competitive advantages as follows:
Marketing. It will benefit from the marketing strategy promoted by ICT, since the Certificate of Sustainable Tourism (CST) brand is linked to the Costa Rican campaign.
Exoneration. A Protected Forest Area will have total or partial registration for international fairs.
Promotion. SINAC will be able to use the CST brand, in promotional material that is provided by the Environmental Protection Area to be identified as sustainable and a new element of differentiation of the tourist product.
International sites. The National Park will be included in the site www.turismo-sostenible.co.cr, which is in Spanish, English and French and also the following sites: www.sustainable-tourism.co.cr; www.turismo-sostenible.co.cr, and www.visitecostarica.com.
“This certification potentiates and strengthens the social, cultural, environmental, economic and development work in tourist destinations, therefore, for SINAC and it is important to count on how to work hard to encourage the participation of local communities and give a new support for competitiveness to the business sector”, said Gutiérrez.
A gradual process
SINAC passed the process of opting for this certificate at the request of the Administration of the Manuel Antonio National Park to the Sustainable Tourism Program in March 2020 and so that in November 2020 it was possible to meet the necessary indicators. In January 2021, it was approved by the Technical Verification Commission (CTV) of the ICT Tourism Sustainability Certificate in the Elite category for this Environmental Protection Area.
The Regional Director of the Central Pacific Conservation Area, Luis Sánchez, explained that the entire process has been carried out over the years by officials of the national park and the support of the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism.
The document on which the Certificate of Tourist Sustainability is based, was published in the Official Journal of the Entity, and has two levels of certification: Basic and Elite; The latter obtained by the National Park and is divided into 4 areas: a) organizational management, b) social, economic and cultural impact, c) environmental impact and 4) sectoral.