Creating Healthy Communities in Costa Rica through Sustainable Rural Tourism

Creating Healthy Communities in Costa Rica through Sustainable Rural Tourism

Costa Rica ConserVacation

By Beatrice Blake, author of The New Key to Costa Rica & CONSERVacations Green Itineraries Designer

Development of Community Tourism in Costa Rica

Since I have been excited by the development of community-owned ecotourism businesses in Costa Rica over the last decade, and have given them a lot of space in The New Key to Costa Rica, I started seeing over development as a community issue too. It's a sign that the people of a community do not have a say in what goes on there - to the point where the community's water supply can be threatened. This has been the subject of several lawsuits in the northern Guanacaste beaches.

 

On a happier note, for most of the travelers who visit ACTUAR's community-owned ecotourism destinations, the experience is the highlight of their trip, offering them real interactions with Costa Rican people who are creating healthy communities by conserving their forests and rivers, and attracting tourism in a responsible way.

ACTUAR

ACTUAR, the Costa Rican Rural Tourism Association, was created in 2001 by community organizations in many parts of Costa Rica that have their own community-owned ecolodges, forest reserves and adventure attractions. ACTUAR has evolved into a full service travel agency that serves as an interface between the rural communities that created it, and the tourists who want to experience its destinations.

 

ACTUAR is a model of sustainable tourism development that encourages local residents to be entrepreneurs on their own land rather than being pressured sell it. People who previously would have only been gardeners or maids in an ecolodge now are the owners of their own tourism destinations, providing visitors with memorable experiences of nature and local culture. ACTUAR members are often conservation activists, so they have many interesting stories to share, and are a source of inspiration for visitors.

 

 

About TIES


As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, and sustainable travel.

 

> The International Ecotourism Society

ESTC14


The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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