San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Sustainable Tourism Certification Moves Slowly

SINCE the Costa Rican TourismInstitute (ICT) began its SustainableTourism Certification (CST) program in1999, only 49 of the country’s more than380 hotels have been certified.ICT officials say hotel owners stilldon’t fully understand how the programworks and the benefits it offers, the dailyLa Nación reported.Among the program’s advantages aresavings on electricity and water bills, abetter international image and the abilityto offer a value-added tourism service,according to ICT.To receive certification, hotels mustmeet strict guidelines in four areas — protectionof the environment, sustainableinfrastructure, educating clients and personnelabout conservation and assistingthe community.

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