With the motivation to make the Caribbean an innovative, sustainable and inclusive destination, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and the Costa Rican Accessible Tourism Network inaugurated the twelfth accessible beach of the DONATAPA campaign.
Currently, the Network and the ICT are active members of the International Social Tourism Organization (ISTO) which seeks “tourism for all”, where responsible, fair, supportive, accessible and community tourism is promoted. This international organization is precisely celebrating its 60th anniversary and to commemorate it, both Costa Rican entities decided to carry out the accessible beach project in Limón.
After an analysis with local people, Playa Piuta in Limón was selected as the ideal point for this donation. This is a beach with calm waters, very close and where elderly and disabled people from Limon carry out therapies, leisure and recreation.
The first people to use the accessible beach were people with disabilities and the elderly from the Limón Nursing Home. They tested the accessibility to enter with the new 30-meter retractable walkway made of plastic wood and an amphibious chair made of the same material.
Inclusion, innovation and sustainability
“This project is aligned with the National Tourism Plan 2022-2027 whose axes of inclusion, innovation and sustainability seek to integrate all people into the Costa Rican tourism system on an equal footing. These types of actions also position Costa Rica as an accessible destination, as it should be to effectively include everyone without distinction”, said the Minister of Tourism, William Rodríguez.
Stephanie Sheehy, executive director and founder of the Network, explained that these spaces are created so that in natural and rural areas of the country, including beaches, all people can enjoy leisure and recreation. Now, at Piuta beach, we installed a retractable walkway and an amphibious chair. Both implements eliminate barriers and help all people to have access to the sea.
Sheehy commented that the Network financed not only the transformation of 1,200 kilos of plastic covers on the catwalks, but also the donation of an amphibious chair.
“La Red” is a non-profit association that works every day to make Costa Rica a destination for all people. We work and are part of several international organizations and are working hand in hand with the ICT to gradually evolve the Costa Rican tourism industry into one more oriented to the true DNA of Tourism “people”. We faithfully believe that we all have the right to enjoy Costa Rica equally”, he added.
Verónica Gómez, director for the Americas of ISTO, mentioned in this regard “We are very proud with the inauguration of the accessible beach in Limón organized by the Network and the ICT), both partners of the ISTO International Social Tourism Organization, in commemoration of the 60 years of our organization.
This initiative is an important reactivator for Limón, an Afro-Caribbean community with a significant population and whose Piuta beach is the center of community life, where older adults and families meet and enjoy the waters without waves, where even those who do not know how to swim can enjoy the salt water.
This project represents another achievement in inclusion and accessibility for tourism in Costa Rica, since the accessible beach will provide opportunities for all people to enjoy the natural beauty, while becoming an inclusive and accessible space for the entire community. I congratulate LA RED and the ICT for this initiative and I hope that it will be the continuation of other important inclusive actions developed in the country.
Donatapa, inclusion and social welfare in Piuta
The Donatapa Program is a tool created by the Network to transform plastics called garbage into accessibility support implements which are placed in natural areas of the country. The first objective is to place at least one support device on all public beaches in the country. It is a project of social and environmental good that manages to unite both very important axes of sustainability.
The accessible Piuta beach project began last April, when the Network, with the objective of developing environmental and social awareness and positively impacting the canton of Limón, carried out a campaign to collect plastic lids from April 1 to May 5, 2023.
Private companies joined this effort, as well as government institutions, such is the case of the ICT. All campaign donors delivered their material during the month of April; which was weighed and delivered to the environmental manager of DONATAPA with a total weight of 1,200 kilos.