It has been a long and satisfactory journey, and after a lot of efforts, positive practices and an effective creation of consciousness, Camino Travel has been rewarded with the highest level rating of the Certification of Sustainable Tourism.
We have the CST five leaves!
OK, that’s great! You may be saying… but “What are the five leaves?”
The five leaves is the highest certification level that the government of Costa Rica, through the Costa Rican Tourism Board gives to a company for their efforts in sustainability, it is a certification, but also considered an award and a deep commitment to sustainable travel.
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Now, let’s talk about sustainability:
“The development of sustainable tourism must be seen as the balanced interaction between the use of our natural and cultural resources, the improvement of the quality of life among the local communities, and the economic success of the industry, which also contributes to national development. Sustainable tourism is not only a response to demand, but also an imperative condition to successfully compete now and in the future. (Definition of Sustainable Tourism, CST, 1997)”
Meaning that we, as humans, have to create a balance of our needs and the conservation of the resources that provide for them.
Now… What is the Certification for Sustainable Tourism?
The CST is the way that we found in Costa Rica, to make sustainability a practical and necessary reality in the travel industry and competitiveness.
It rates the tourism businesses anchored on their commitment with the cultural, social and natural resources management. It consists of five levels called leaves. The rating process is long, detailed and strict, involving several inspections and evaluations. And the higher the level the harder it gets.
When you are traveling through Costa Rica, you will see in some hotels and tour operators a framed certificate with leaves, pretty much as you see the hotel’s stars’ ratings.
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What does that mean?
Depending on the amount of leaves, the more they have, the more it means that the owner:
- Take measures to avoid emissions, harmful products and pollution.
- They have created a set of measures to reduce conservation and natural risks.
- It handles its waste efficiently.
- It uses natural, biodegradable, and recyclable products.
- It has a water and electrical energy conservation program.
- It encourages you, as a traveler, to experience the country’s natural wealth and insists on its care and conservation.
- It limits the size of its tours, and encourages among its clients, wholesalers, and suppliers, the principles of sustainability.
- It offers its clients the opportunity to participate in conservation and communal development initiatives.
- It continually trains its staff in matters of quality and sustainable tourism.
- It complies with norms that the tourist establishment must uphold in terms of the environment, wildlife, archaeological heritage, and social guarantees of the country.
- It promotes the traditions and customs of the country, as well as typical food and national handicrafts.
What does the CST five leaves mean for Camino Travel
“For Camino Travel and our staff, it is a great honor, a major satisfaction to have the five leaves, especially in our 25th anniversary and looking at 2017 which will be the UN Year of Sustainable Travel”
says Georgina Salas, General Manager of Camino Travel.
“But this award goes beyond, as we realize the great responsibility in the creation of awareness in each person of our team and how it creates a domino effect that will probably never end, from us, to our children and, from us to our visitors, their children, their friends, and so on. We do have to realize that the creation of this mouth to mouth powerful awareness means the safety and well-being of the future generations of humanity, and we all hope that it truly turns into a seed that will produce forests throughout Earth”
As for our customers, this certificate is a way for passengers interested in sustainable practices to use it by visiting communities, projects and interacting with the authentic Costa Ricans and our natural sustainable efforts.