Tourism turnaround in Central America
Biodiversity and the ecosystem services of nature are of outstanding importance for a permanently good quality of life for people worldwide. The partner countries in this project, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, are considered as biodiversity hotspots, with a very high level of species diversity, including some endemic species. This high level of biodiversity not only fulfills important ecosystem functions, but also represents a very important tourism attraction as a natural resource and thus secures the local economic basis for many people employed directly or indirectly in tourism. Becoming sustainable is not easy. It requires not only new methods, but a new way of thinking. A fundamental tourism turnaround. This transformation of tourism can only succeed with the cooperation of all stakeholders involved. The collaborative and committed work towards the tourism turnaround is the basis for this project.
Together for the tourism turnaround
The project is implemented by a consortium consisting of KATE Umwelt & Entwicklung e.V., the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development and the Global Nature Fund in cooperation with TourCert gGmbH. By promoting sustainable tourism development, the project contributes to the protection of valuable ecosystems while strengthening local value creation in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
The partner organizations in the target countries are Grupo RBA in Costa Rica and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral (IDDI) in the Dominican Republic. In addition, there is close cooperation with the local sustainability councils in the three destinations. The project is supported by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) with funds from the Austrian Development Cooperation.
Approaches for sustainable destinations
Climate neutral pilot hotels
Maximum resource efficiency (electricity and water), use of solar energy and biogas where appropriate, sustainable catering with consistent food avoidance; networks of local sourcing, behavioral communication to kitchen staff and guests, composting, waste avoidance, green filters for wastewater, compensation payments for biodiversity actions, green roofs and facades, investment in water-efficient infrastructure and recreational opportunities / hikes for biodiversity-related guests, and raising awareness of climate-neutral business.
Zero plastic destianations
Plastic reduction and replacement as an entry point to a ‘Zero Waste Destination’ with general waste reduction, waste separation, recycling, local cycles, promotion of local organic producers, small artisans, local recycling centers for waste separation and recycling, service providers and start ups, etc.
Certified sustainable catering companies
Reducing food waste, resource efficiency, adapting menus to local conditions, building networks for local sourcing and production, training and managing of kitchen staff, communicating sustainable foodservice offerings to employees and guests.
Pilot Actions Climate Neutral Destination
Entry into the process of developing a climate-neutral destination based on the climate-neutral hotels, education and communication programs on resource efficiency and sustainable gastronomy, consulting of accommodations and largest energy consumers in resource efficiency, promotion of renewable energy installations, investments in reforestation and biodiversity, waste recovery and recycling, networks for local procurement and development of circular economy, biological wastewater treatment in accommodations and at destination level, qualification of consultants and multipliers; exchange of experiences and conferences for the distribution of the model, etc.
Market positioning of climate- and biodiversity-friendly travel products
Development and market positioning of innovative travel products of the certified destinations together with European tour operators; sensitization of travelers and enthusiasm for the exemplary sustainable travel products.
The three pilot destinations
Las Galeras is a Dominican village on the east coast of the Samaná Peninsula and is included as a destination within the project. The region is known for its beautiful beaches, different types of ecosystems and a wide range of biodiversity.
In Sarapiquí, Canton in the province of Heredia in Costa Rica, there are a number of nature reserves and national parks. In particular, ecotourism has developed strongly in recent years, thanks to recreational activities in the Sarapiquí River.
Sarchí, capital of the Valverde Vega canton, is the most famous craft center in Costa Rica. The capital is also very well known for its immense biodiversity and is a popular tourist destination.
All three destinations have TourCert certification and are positioning themselves for the future, each with a sustainability council, partner businesses and an agile network structure.
Become part of the initiative!
With the Transforming Tourism project, we contribute to the protection of valuable ecosystems and at the same time strengthen local value creation in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic. Are you interested in a cooperation or in further information? Please feel free to contact us.