In the universe today, touristry is now seen as one of the largest industries and is besides one of the fastest turning economic sector. It has brought approximately many positive and negative impacts non merely in the economic system, but besides in the lives of people and the environment. Thus it is of import for each state to understand what is sustainable touristry development all about and implement steps non merely to hold continual economic growing but besides being able to prolong what female parent Earth has blessed us with, i.e. her natural environment and resources.

In 1987, when United Nations released the Brundtland Report, it defined sustainable development as “ development which meets the demands of the present without compromising the ability of future coevalss to run into their ain demands. ”

The United Nations World Tourism Organization defines the rules of sustainability in touristry development as “ Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural facets of touristry development, and a suited balance must be established between these three dimensions to vouch its long-run sustainability. ” ( UNWTO, 2004 )

About Costa Rica

Costa Rica is located in Central America, surrounding both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Nicaragua and Panama. It has a entire country of 51, 100 sq kilometer, of which 51, 060 sq kilometer is made up of land and the staying 40sq kilometer is made up of H2O. Her territorial division includes 7 states, which are: San Jose, the capital metropolis, Alajuela, Cartago, Heredia, Guanacaste, Puntarenas, and Limon. These 7 states put together offers an attractive tourer finish of eternal activities to take part, that includes extended rain forests, vents, rivers going through the mountains, beaches and natural resources which are safeguarded by national Parkss and forest militias. Up to day of the month, there is an estimation of 30 Parkss and more than 2230 different protected countries in Costa Rica.

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Costa Rica experiences dry season from December to April and rainy season from May to November. It tends to be cooler in Highlandss. She has a entire population of 4,516,220 ( July’10 appraisal ) and a population growing rate of 1.347 % ( 2010 appraisal ) . Her official linguistic communication spoken is Spanish and English is another linguistic communication used. She has a GDP of USD $ 48.83 billion ( 2009 appraisal ) of which 68.7 % ( 2009 appraisal ) comes from the services sector. Costa Rica has two international airdromes, one in the capital metropolis, San Jose and the other in Guanacaste.

Opportunities for developing touristry

Manner before Costa Rica was known as a tourer attractive force, agricultural sector was the chief constituent that contributed to the economic system growing. Costa Rica was known for their java beans in the nineteenth century when they discovered that the dirt and clime in the cardinal vale Highlandss were ideal for java cultivation. In the early twentieth century, banana plantations were set-up and exported as a inexpensive nutrient beginning. Other agricultural points besides included sugar cane, rice, veggies and fruits and etc.

In the 1970s, it started to hold an glut in java beans, therefore doing the universe java monetary values to drop quickly. Costa Ricans realised that their economic system wealth could non merely be sustained through agricultural exports and embarked on a green revolution which was importing tourers.

In 1963, Reserva Natural Absoluta Cabo Blanco which is a national park is originally established by a Danish-Swedish twosome who was known to be among the first environmentalists so. This park became the first federally protected preservation country. This twosome continued to contend for increased preservation of ecologically rich countries. By 1995, there were more than 125 authorities protected sites which includes national Parkss, forest conserves and wildlife militias. Through this, it encouraged private landowners to construct more militias for preservation. By so, about tierce of Costa Rica was under some signifier of environmental protection.

This was the start of ecotourism roar for Costa Rica. In 1985, touristry contributed $ 100 million to its economic system and more than $ 750 million about 10 old ages subsequently, exceling java and bananas as their chief beginning of foreign currency net incomes. In 1999, more than one million tourers had visited Costa Rica.

Sustainable Tourism Development

As Costa Rica has now seen the success of the green revolution and how it brought about touristry in her state, it has created a new concern which is sustainable touristry. Sustainable touristry should assist protect the natural resources and renew it while lending to the local community and run intoing its demands. It besides expresses the committedness of a state to sustainability and preservation.

As Costa Rica is now seeing increasing Numberss of visitants, it means more hotel, more transit and more substructure upgrading demands to be done. This decidedly indirectly impacts and topographic points emphasis on the delicate ecosystem she has.


Costa Rica was used to be known chiefly as a manufacturer of bananas and java as earlier in my study above. Even though agricultural exports are of import and is still on-going, in recent times, other industries like electronics, pharmaceuticals, etc and touristry has now become the premier industries lending to the state ‘s economic system. High degrees of instruction among its occupants has besides made the state an attractive investment location for concern.

Tourism was one of the fastest turning economic sector for Costa Rica and by 1995, it became the largest foreign exchange earner. The touristry roar in Costa Rica began in 1987 with the figure of visitants increasing from 329,000 in 1988 to 1.03 million in 1999, to its extremum of 2.09 million in 2008 which allowed the state to gain a gross of $ 2.14 billion that twelvemonth. Tourism besides contributed to the state ‘s GDP by 7.2 % in 2008 and in 2005, touristry contributed to 13.3 % of employment.

Below is a tabular array of the international tourers reachings in Costa Rica from 1988 to 2009. ( UNWTO Tourism Highlights 2010 )



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Costa Rica ‘s chief competitory advantage that led it to go a popular nature travel finish since the late 1980s was its well-established system of national Parkss and protected countries, covering about 26 % of the state ‘s land country, therefore safeguarding more than 5 % of the universe ‘s biodiversity. Though Costa Rica is a state that has merely 0.03 % of the universe ‘s land mass, it is home to a rich assortment of vegetations and zoologies. Due to its location, it is besides a state with plentifulness of beaches, both in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and with several vents that can be visited excessively. By the early 1990s, Costa Rica was known to the universe for its ecotourism and had tourer reachings making an mean one-year growing rate of 14 % between 1986 to 1994.

In 2009, harmonizing to the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index ( TTCI ) , Costa Rica was ranked 42 in the universe ranking. This index measures the attractiveness factors of developing concern in the travel and touristry industry of the single states. In this study, it is shown that Costa Rica has the possible in pulling foreign investors to the touristry sector.

The state ‘s development is mostly reliable on the ecosystem they have to offer and it is critical for them to cognize how to go on to prolong development so that the economic system would go on to turn. In 1974, Costa Rica ‘s National Tourism Chamber ( CANATUR ) was founded to convey together the highest hierarchy of the Chamberss and associations of the state ‘s private touristry sector. It states that their mission was to “ Promote the development and sustainable growing of the touristry sector in a dynamic, proactive, and representative mode, through the consolidation of its fiscal, organisational, and human development… … ” CANATUR ‘s vision was to “ Be the prima organisation of the Costa Rican touristry industry, … … with the aim of accomplishing a competitory touristry activity and sustainable growing, both nationally and regionally. ”



Costa Rica faces a major job with deforestation particularly during the period from 1973 to 1989. Harmonizing to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, during that period, Costa Rica lost an norm of 2.3 % of their forest each twelvemonth to do manner for agribusiness and grazing land use. Though over the past decennary, the state of affairs has started to better, the rate of deforestation is still high particularly in forested countries which is non within the environmentally protected countries set by the authorities.

What steps are taken? In Costa Rica, from the Northwest of Nicoya Peninsula to the high extremums of the southwest, these low or to a great extent forested countries are abundant with good agricultural land and high biodiversity. As a solution to advance forest re-afforestation, the authorities has been promoting these land proprietors to protect the land to reforest grazing lands and doing the land available for non-destructive ecological usage. These encouragement comes in the signifier of grants or hard currency payment to the land proprietors who marks a contract with the Ministry of Environment. With this, land proprietors are non merely able to have these wagess, but they are besides capable of come ining into a 2nd contract with the Ministry of Sustainability Management. With this 2nd contract, a piece of land is granted to them from the forest non for deforestation but to ease in ecological unity. These land proprietors will hold to protect the land granted to them and go on seting trees on those deforested countries. The National Forestry Financing Fund ( FONAFIFO ) which is funded through international contributions and countrywide revenue enhancements, will pay these land proprietors certain sums as an inducement based on the environmental services provided on the land granted to them. Environmental services that includes tree plantation, safeguarding biodiversity, the scenic beauty and H2O direction.

Through this enterprise taken by the authorities, Costa Rica has attracted attending internationally on its environment protection and through this system, it has encouraged preservation of the staying wood and besides re-afforestation of land.

Another positive impact from this enterprise is that it has besides improved another environmental impact, dirt eroding which Costa Rica has been confronting due to deforestation. Deforestation washes off much of the surface soil that is of import to both agriculturally and environmentally. Therefore through the re-afforestation attempts the land proprietors are seting in, it helps to stabilise the dirt and understate farther eroding.

Costal Marine Pollution

Costa Rica ‘s Pacific Marine and coastal countries are place to a sum of 6,777 identified species including ecologically and commercially of import species of polo-necks, mahimahis, giants, Rhizophora mangles, aquatic birds, macro-invertebrates and fishes. ( IDB New Release, Mar 12,2010 )

Due to the turning touristry industry in Costa Rica, it has put these Marine and coastal countries under heavy force per unit area with depletion of angling stocks and land and costal-based taint.

What step was taken? The Inter-American Development Bank ( IDB ) has approved a $ 3 million grant from the IDB-Global Environment Facility ( GEF ) to Costa Rica. This grant is to assist Costa Rica continue these Marine and coastal ecosystem. Through this grant, it will assist to conserve of import biodiversity, maintain the proviso of important ecosystem services and supply a footing for sustainable socio-economic development.

It was besides found in one of the Torahs passed by the authorities is “ … .the jurisprudence provides that an environmental impact appraisal is compulsory for building plants which may do harm to marine and coastal resources or to wetlands, every bit good as for activities impacting any of these ecosystems or endangering life in these home grounds. ” ( Organic Law on Environment, No.7.554, 2008 )

Fisheries Protection

In the recent old ages, besides fishing for export intents, recreational fishing has besides been on an up-rise. As clip goes by, engineering has been so advanced that it enables these fishermen to be able to entree to antecedently unaccessible countries that is of greater deepnesss and greater distances offshore. These piscaries is doing change in Costa Rica ‘s Marine home ground and its ecosystem.

For illustration in an article released on 5th May 2009, the U.S. State Department banned Costa Rican runt from being shipped into the U.S. boulder clay farther notice. Reason being is the trawl cyberspaces used in most of the runt vass are non protecting the sea polo-necks from being captured therefore ensuing in deceases. It was besides said in the article by Todd Steiner, executive manager of Turtle Island Restoration Network “ Costa Rica can do its shrimp piscary turtle-safe, or it can lose the privilege to sell runt to the U. S. ”

The authorities imposed a Law on Fisheries and Aquaculture. Its chief aim was “ to promote and modulate piscaries and aquaculture activities, of which catching, pull outing, processing, transporting, selling ; and advance sustainable usage of aquaculture species. ” ( Article 1 of the Law on Fisheries and Aquaculture, No. 8. 436, 2005 )

In 2009, the Costa Rican Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture ( INCOPESCA ) was set-up and was responsible for the coordination, publicity and development of the piscaries and aquaculture sectors. As a national institute for affairs related to piscaries, it besides has to advance preservation and sustainable usage of the ocean.

Sewage and Waste Management

With the increasing figure of tourers geting in Costa Rica, and an increasing figure of touristry development undertakings, sewerage and waste direction has become progressively of import. Without proper attention and direction, it would non merely impact the repute of Costa Rica as a innovator in ecotourism, it besides poses wellness hazards to the local people and destruct valuable resources. As of today, several portion of the state still does non hold H2O filtration workss nor sewerage systems which means that most of the clip, waste and sewerages are dumped into the ocean.

In an article dated 11 April 2006 by John McPhaul, Reuters, it stated that about all the sewerage from Costa Rica ‘s urbanised cardinal vale is pumped untreated upstream into the Tarcoles River. Diego Vargas, proprietor of Crocodile Man Tours that takes tourists up the river said “ Fifteen old ages ago… the town lived on touristry. Now it ‘s a shade town, ”

In another article: “ TAMARINDO, Costa Rica ( Reuters ) – Pungent brown sewerage spews into the Pacific ocean ” ( 20 June 2008 by Reuters ) This stretch of seashore in the Northwest of Costa Rica was one time place to monkeys, leathery turtle polo-necks and other rare wildlife. Due to the deficiency of ill planned tourer developments, it is doing large effects on the environment.

What step was taken? Robert Sancho, executive president of Institute of Aqueducts and Sewer Systems ( AyA ) said “ Creating ways to clean Costa Rica ‘s Waterss is of the extreme importance ” and estimated that about US $ 500 million is needed to clean up the sewerage Waterss. About half of the sum is already funded by the touristry developers and investors. In order to raise the other half, AyA will prosecute more flexible funding and let engagement from their investors in the development of their intervention undertakings. With this sum of money funded, AyA hopes to supply and vouch equal intervention and purification of sewerage particularly in popular tourer finishs countries in Costa Rica like Papagayo and Tamarindo.

Another step taken by the authorities is the induction of the Blue Flag Ecology Program. This plan is a joint venture of several Costa Rican governments which includes the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, Ministry of Environment ( MINAE ) , National Water Service, Ministry of Public Health and National Tourism Chamber ( CANATUR ) . The intent of this plan is to measure Costa Rican beaches on H2O quality of the ocean and the imbibing H2O ; waste disposal ; healthful installations ; signage ; tourer safety ; environmental instruction and engagement of the community in beach care. Merely beaches with a mark of 90 % are awarded with the Blue Flag.

As Costa Rica ‘s biggest industry is touristry and many national and international tourers has already witnessed the displeasure of being greeted by the fetid Waterss, it is extremely of import that the authorities steps up on its sewerage intervention procedure before it does more injury to its ecotourism repute and furthermore, impacting the biodiversity of the marine life life in the coastal and pelagic countries.


When the touristry sector became the chief beginning of economic growing for the state, a figure of local and governmental plans have been established to further advance instruction and preservation of the ecosystem and biodiversity.

Merely taking the Monteverde part of Costa Rica as an illustration. It is home to a figure of popular ecotourism musca volitanss like Monteverde Cloud Forest Private Reserve, the Butterfly Garden, the Orchid Farm and the Famous Sky Walk-Sky Trek. In order to continue the natural beauty of what this part has to offer, ushers was provided to these tourers to educate or supply cognition to these sites. The Famous Sky Walk was foremost started out by a local household. As it was a large undertaking, it had the engagement of the full community, therefore supplying employment to the locals which in bends helps the economic system to travel frontward when the locals ‘ disbursement power additions as they have the ability to pass more.

Due to the location and the biodiversity that Costa Rica has to offer, plus the good substructure with paved roads, 2 airdromes with internationally-met criterions, telephone and electricity handiness, it is no uncertainty that the state has attracted a batch of foreign investors to the states. In order to do touristry sustainable, these foreign investors should let active part from the local communities in the planning and execution stage of any undertaking. In this country, there still needs to be of betterment since most of the clip locals do non organize any portion of the decision-making procedure nor did the foreign investors consult the local community about their programs. These foreign investors has to gain that the support of the local community is critical as they are the 1s making the sort of environment the tourers want and the locals are able to place the positive or negative impacts of touristry in their country.

Certification of Sustainable Tourism Program ( CST )

This plan was developed by the Costa Rica Tourism Board and National Accreditation Commission in 1997 with the intent of measuring each touristry company that participates voluntarily on four cardinal facets:

Physical biological parametric quantities which is the interaction between the company and the natural home ground milieus.

Infrastructure and services which evaluates the direction policies and operational systems within the company and how good the company does in energy economy, bar in H2O pollution and waste managing policies and engineering.

External clients which is the interaction of the company with its clients based on how much it allows and invites the clients to be an active subscriber to its sustainability policies.

Socio-economic environment which evaluates the designation and interaction with its next communities. For illustration, supplying new employment for the local community therefore bettering the growing of that part.

Each touristry company that participates is evaluated and rated on a graduated table of 1 to 5. The gross earned from this plan goes to park protection and employment chances for the local community.

With the increasing foreign touristry investors puting, non merely does it assist in hiking the economic growing of Costa Rica, the plan besides make usage of these touristry companies in assisting to conserve and continue the ecosystem and understating negative environmental impacts while supplying positive societal impacts like employment.


Costa Rica is an ideal topographic point for touristry, particularly in the signifier of ecotourism with the biodiversity it has to offer. It is able to supply sustainable touristry development with national Parkss, militias and authorities protected countries together with plans that the authorities has implemented for preservation. As Costa Rica attracts tourers all twelvemonth unit of ammunition, it is critical for the state to observe that preservation steps should be put in topographic point in front of bring forthing net income so as to protect the environment and do it sustainable.

Foreign investors should ever retrieve to set the local people at the centre of their development so that it encourages the full support and promotes a more pleasant tourer finish.


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