The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – A total of 321 tourism businesses have the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) in Costa Rica. The ruling is granted by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), and seeks to differentiate firms according to their operation in terms of a model of sustainability based on their management of natural, cultural and social resources.

As explained by Alberto López, coordinator of ICT Sustainability, the first 51 certified tourism businesses were registered in 2001. From 2002 to 2008, the average growth was 8-9 CST companies per year.

The 312 companies represent 32% of all companies with a tourism declaration from the ICT. The purpose of this rule is to make the concept of sustainability real and practical, which is necessary in a framework of tourism competitiveness in the country. This improves the utilization of natural and social resources, and promotes the active participation of local communities.

The procedure for obtaining this kind of recognition is free and recommendations on how to achieve sustainability are addressed in various manuals, policies and procedures that allow companies to easily get involved in the program.

To understand the benefits of CST, the Sustainable Tourism Department conducted research that demonstrates the positive impact perceived by these companies.

According to the study which evaluated 65 hotels and 29 tour operators: “More than 50% of companies reported a decrease in the consumption of water and energy, and increased their environmentally friendly products and native reforestation species along with ongoing efforts for better waste management and the use of clean energy, allowing greater international recognition and customer satisfaction.”

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica