By Marina Ocampo
One of the main focus areas of the work of the Titi Conservation Alliance is assistance to our members to introduce more sustainable practices in their work and, as a tangible proof of their commitment to the sustainable development, to get certified by the Costa Rica Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) Program.
The program evaluates four categories: The interaction between the company and its surrounding natural habitat, the management policies and the operational systems within the company and its infrastructure, the interaction of the company with its clients in terms of how much it allows and invites the client to be an active contributor to the company’s policies of sustainability, and the interaction of the company with the local communities and the population in general.
Once certified, hotels and tour operators can show to their clients the proof that their activities are really sustainable, that they can offer superior services and still take care of the environment and collaborate with the local organization and the community in the long term development.
Today’s savvy tourists do not fall for ‘green washing’, the practice many tourism businesses use to attract clients, by going for the superficial, cosmetic changes that hide the real damage their activities are doing to the environment and community. They need proof, and the CST certification offers just such a proof.
To find really sustainable hotels, tourists can now use a tool created by the Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas with the support of the Rainforest Alliance, called Go Green. This Guide, in the form of the world map, shows all businesses certified as sustainable. It can be accessed online at http://www.certificationnetwork.org/go_green/. We are proud to announce that our members Gaia Hotel and Reserve, Hotel El Parador, Si Como No Resort and Spa and Tulemar Bungalows and Villas, are all listed.
The Titi Conservation Alliance works to protect the endangered titi (squirrel) monkey through efforts focused on the conservation of the area surrounding Manuel Antonio National Park.
The Titi Conservation Alliance was started in 2001 by a group of local business owners within the tourist industry. Recognizing the need for conservation of their natural environment to maintain prosperity for their businesses, this group of entrepreneurs began the Alliance with the mission to promote sustainable development and to conserve the biodiversity of Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Region.