Sustainable tourism consists on providing direct and/or indirect benefits to the communities that are visited. Whenever it is possible, this is done through sustainable activities that protect the environment and the participation in social projects that help local communities and protected areas, always providing a high quality service.
Being ecologically responsible on a trip doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of the stay nor the travel plans. It basically consists on planning the visit in a more conscientious way.
We firmly believe the communities visited must get a direct benefit, whenever possible, through the sustainable trips, environment protection, and social projects.
General Information to be a sustainable traveler
Our contribution to create a sustainable experience
Travel Excellence is one of the first tour operators in Costa Rica with the Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST). Our final achievement score 2010-2012 is five leaves (level 5) out of a maximum possible of five.
Travel excellence is a tour operator concerned about the conservation of nature and Costa Rican traditions; therefore, we help to protect the different regions and to maximize the benefits that tourists can provide to the communities they visit.
We are compromised with the idea of supporting a large number of responsible and ethical initiatives such as community tourism, environmental projects, and educational programs in different communities. We encourage our clients to visit many of these developed projects in places such as wildlife sanctuaries, schools, orphanages, and cooperatives.
We motivate our clients to visit the local communities. In this way, each community may get direct benefits from the visitors while getting authentic sources of knowledge of the local culture. Based on the specific comments from our clients, in our personalized itineraries we recommend restaurants, stores, and other local companies that could receive benefits for their business. In this way, we promote local attractions, protection of the environment, and tourist services- including accommodations- in many rural destinations.
*Sustainable traveling and lodging is promoted in several destinations around the country.
Sustainable tourism development is the balanced interaction between the appropriate use of our natural and cultural resources, the improvement of life quality in local communities, and the economic success of the activity, which at the same time, contributes to national development programs. In Costa Rica, this is possible thanks to the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism "CST".
The brand CST was developed by the Costa Rican Tourism Board, in order to turn the concept of sustainable tourism into something real, as the only way to compete in this century. History has taught us that a quality destination is created not only by improving the visible condition of the industry -such as hotels and restaurants- but also the security, the attractions, the environment, the local communities, and the required training, among others.
A proper integration of economic, social, and environmental factors facilitates the development of sustainable tourism, which turns out to be a competitive advantage on the area, focused on the clients´ satisfaction.
It is a program whose main purpose is to categorize and certify tourism companies based on administrative and operational considerations, and comparing them to an ideal model of sustainability. For this purpose, the companies are evaluated in the following areas:
Bio-physical environment: It evaluates the interaction between the company and the surrounding natural environment, taking into account policy implementation, sustainability programs, and environmental protection, among others.
Service-Lodging Plants: It evaluates some aspects related to systems and internal business processes, regarding waste management and utilization of technologies to save energy and water.
Tour Operator Service Management: It refers to the process in which the company designs a tourist product consistent with the market tendencies and the characteristics of the country or the places in which the product will be used. It takes into account all the internal and external factors that may affect it.
Client: It evaluates the interaction between the company and its clients, and how it invites the client to be an active participant in the implementation of sustainability policies of the company.
Social and Economical Surroundings: It evaluates the identification and interaction of the company with the nearby communities by analyzing how enterprises influence the growth and development of the region; for example, by providing job opportunities at the company and looking for benefits for the local people.
The norm CST evaluates companies under a well-structured system for specific levels on a scale from 1 to 5. The process of integration and sustainability that enterprises must face in each of the levels results in an ideal company in terms of sustainability.
CST: 100% responsible tourism nowadays and in the future
CST a brand with support and credibility The National Accreditation Commission CST, formed by representatives from the academic sector, private enterprise, public sector, and two international organizations, is the entity in charge of assigning CST distinction. In addition, it has to monitor the companies certified with the logo so that they follow the established requirements in such a way that both the tourist and wholesale agents are confident that CST certified companies strictly follow business policies that consider aspects related to social responsibility, corporate business responsibility, and even more, sustainability.
As a sustainable company, Travel Excellence is concerned about the positive impact of the activities we carry out, which include respect and help to the communities we visit. To make this possible, both cultural activities and visits to communities are fomented. Another way to accomplish this is via our clients who learn about the different cultures in Costa Rica. Once the customer has interacted in the community, he can tell his friends and relatives about his experience and promote the projects in his own country.
Support to the Community by Promoting "Rural Tours"
Costa Rican Rural Tourism Association (ACTUAR, for its acronyms in Spanish) is formed by 35 members that belong to the rural community INSS and tours. They met in 2001 to promote environmental, social, cultural, and economic development of the participant communities by providing true experiences to the visitors. ACTUAR specializes on the implementation of authentic adventures to experience in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica is one of the first countries in Central America that, in the early 90s, started the development of rural tourism. This was accomplished through the creation of networks that encourage the use of agro-ecotourism goods produced in the community. Nowadays this is known as Rural-Community Tourism.
Cooprena supports promotion and commercialization of other tourism companies in the country, offering a variety of possibilities for reservation with more than 40 alternative companies.
Heritage Protection Protection of the inheritance and respect for the culture and local communities
It is intended to motivate tourists towards social consciousness to defend our cultural legacies and promote access to different rural communities in order to benefit them by using all their resources and contribute to their economical development. Recommendations:
We recommend visiting the museums in the capital, San José, in order to learn more about the Costa Rican historical background. Here you can find some museums you can visit:
Costa Rica Museums Information about Costa Rica´s Museums- Jade Museum
Travel Excellence, as a creator of the project “Friends of the National Parks”, has sponsored these institutions with donations that contribute with their improvement and help the surrounding areas.
It is a non-profit organization whose only clients are Costa Rica´s national parks. They develop a series of PROGRAMS that look after the development and sustainability of the parks as well as the professionalization of the rangers. They provide strategies, technology, and implementation to the Sistema de Parques Nacionales, an office responsible for National Parks in Costa Rica.
It is a nonprofit organization whose main headquarters are located in Florida. This organization has offices and projects in different places. The CCA is the oldest and most successful organization for the conservation of sea turtles around the world. Since its foundation in 1959, the labor of CCA has enhanced different perspectives for the survival of many species of turtles. Travel Excellence supports this organization since 2007 through monitoring and studying of the turtle species named “Mango”
It is a non-profit technical private organization. Its main efforts are preventive, and it does not have any political tendency. The organization was created in 1987 and was declared of public interest for the country in 1989. The project ‘’Código de Conducta’’ (Code of Conduct) is a strategy for enterprises who want to be part of the social responsibility of the country. The institution´s intention is to report any case of sexual and commercial exploitation of children and adolescents.
It works on the conservation of biodiversity. It ensures sustainable livelihoods by transforming land use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior.
Travel Excellence supports environmental projects and community tourism, and sponsors schools that have low budgets.
We encourage our clients to visit wildlife sanctuaries and rural communities that reflect the roots of our country.
In addition, the company suggests its clients to contribute with social care institutions. Moreover, we help restaurants, shops, and other local businesses in order to benefit the communities directly.
During the year 2008, we made donations to support the Barrio Lamparas School; we also sponsored a celebration for the end of the school year. Our staff participated in this celebration and contributed with some gifts for children in need. Among our employees, our company promotes the social responsibility to the high risk sectors.
On December 2009, Travel Excellence sponsored the Christmas party for the group of children of the Cen- Cinai in Fraijanes. The Cen-Cinai is a program of the Health Care Ministry of Costa Rica. It is in charge of offering health services for children between 0 and 3 years old.
We encourage our clients to contribute with those who are in need.