Analysis of the environmental services perception and use in the tourism sector in Costa Rica

Vandenbussche Leen. 2010. Analysis of the environmental services perception and use in the tourism sector in Costa Rica. s.l. : Universidad de Córdoba, 113 p. Mémoire MSc : Rural development : Université de Cordoue

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Additional Information : European Erasmus Mundus Programme "Erasmus Mundus International Master of Science in Rural Development" (course N°2004-0018/001-FRAM MUMB123)

Abstract : Tourism is the leading foreign currency in Costa Rica and the main touristic attraction the country has to offer is its natural environment. Costa Rica also gains fame in the world with the Environmental Services Payment Program which aims to maintain the environmental services though payments for forest owners. The main objectives of this study is to identify the different touristic actors and their perception upon the environmental services, to characterize the strategies and actions who promote the utilization of the environmental services, and to propose better contributions to the production of environmental services. As an attempt to achieve the objectives, a research survey was performed in the province of San José and the coastal towns Puerto Viejo and Cahuita. Fifteen tourism institutions and organizations were interviewed and another twenty-eight tourism companies. Among the tourism companies were eleven lodging companies, eleven travel agencies and six carriers. All interviewees participated voluntarily in the investigation. The results of the study showed that the tourism sector is gradually evolving to be more environmentally friendly. All the tourism actors acknowledge the importance of the natural environment and 40% of the interviewed tourism companies are familiar with the concept of environmental services. There are several programs from the tourism sector or from other sectors, which bring the tourism closer to the environmental services. The other sectors could be forestry, agriculture, transport, etc. The most popular programs are the Certification for Sustainable Tourism and the Ecological Blue Flag, both managed by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute. Besides participating into programs, the tourism companies have their own environmental friendly initiatives and actions, such as recycling and using biodegradable materials. The main reasons of the companies to do an environmental effort are helping to maintain the natural recourses and obtaining a green image for the company. The programs analysed in this study mainly focus on reducing the environmental impact, providing environmental education, and compensating emissions of gases through reforestation. These programs, together with own initiatives and actions of the tourism actors are considered by tourism stakeholders as useful and somewhat efficient, although all interviewees agree that it is not enough. The study concludes with several suggestions for a better relationship between the tourism industry and the promotion of environmental services such as; the creation of a higher awareness of the programs and initiatives in the tourism sector, a stronger enforcement of environmental laws, the establishment of a higher environmental awareness through environmental education and training, and the expansion of the existing programs toward an improvement of recycling activities and education of the tourists. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Tourisme, Protection de l'environnement

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Costa Rica

Mots-clés complémentaires : Service environnemental

Classification Agris : P01 - Nature conservation and land resources
000 - Autres thèmes

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Vandenbussche Leen, Université de Gand (BEL)

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