Let’s talk about sustainable tourism in Costa Rica. What is it? Is it a recent activity? Find out in this article.

To talk about sustainable tourism, we must first ask ourselves why this concept exists.

Sustainability: a broad concept that consists of satisfying the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations while ensuring harmony between the economy, respect for the environment and social well-being.

In the case of Costa Rica, it is the fourth most sustainable country in Latin America. It was recognized for clean energy compliance and for its goals of zero hunger, reduced inequalities, life under water and on land, peace, justice and strong institutions.

Sustainable tourism was born as a reaction to overtourism, which refers to the overcrowding of some destinations. These destinations go from being well-known to being overcrowded with visitors, to the point of not being able to enjoy or care for these spaces.

This is how both travelers and locals suffer the consequences of over-tourism. An example of this is the situation being suffered by the inhabitants of the city of Venice, who can no longer tolerate the deterioration of the environment caused by cruise ships and the overcrowding of tourists.

For this reason, there is a need for sustainable tourism that involves travelers and communities in:

  • environmental protection
  • the fight against climate change
  • minimizing plastic consumption
  • the expansion of economic development in communities affected by tourism

In Costa Rica

Since 1996, Costa Rica has had the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST), which aims to improve the way in which natural and social resources are used.

Under the vision of the TSA, sustainable tourism development should be the balanced interaction between the utilization of natural and cultural resources and, on top of that, the improvement of the quality of life of local communities and their good economic development. In addition, the active participation of local inhabitants is encouraged.

At the same time, the CST is responsible for mitigating the practice of some companies abusing the “eco” concept to provide reliable information on which businesses really care about the environment and which do not.

Why is it important for Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is one of the most important nature destinations and is recognized worldwide for its biodiversity. It is therefore important to protect the territory from the increasing pressure on the country’s ecosystems that can become:

  • financial leakage
  • loss of local culture
  • possible displacement of farmers from their lands

Also, the majority of tourists to Costa Rica come from North America and, according to National Geographic’s survey of 3,500 U.S. adults, a large majority support sustainability.

It is important for Costa Rica to place more emphasis on sustainable tourism as it is a concept that has become even more in vogue after the pandemic, when there was a spike in tourism flow.

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