As the sister company to Nature Air, the world's first carbon neutral airline, Nature Vacations has the bar set high. We strive to be sustainable in every facet of our business from the providers we promote to our employment and energy consumption policies.
This year we are excited to join an exclusive group of tour operators that have received Rainforest Alliance verification for their sustainable practices. As proud carriers of the Rainforest Alliance seal, we also hold the important responsibility of continuing to improve our practices each day following a set of guidelines and training opportunities. Learn more about the Rainforest Alliance sustainable tourism verification here »
What is Sustainable Tourism?
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines sustainable tourism as:Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.
Tourism is one of the world's largest industries, generating approximately 10% of the income for the entire planet. Despite complex fluctuations, overall it continues to grow and will continue to do so with far-reaching effects. There is awareness and consensus building in every sector that this huge industry needs to be sustainable in order to survive.
In 2008, UNF Founder, Ted Turner, along with the Rainforest Alliance, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), unveiled the first globally relevant sustainable tourism criteria at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. It was developed to offer a practical guide to the exploding field of sustainable tourism and to help consumers, businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations and educational institutions to ensure that tourism has positive, rather than negative effects on local communities and the environment. Learn more about sustainable tourism. »
Eco Tourism in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has long been a pioneer for nature travel. What began as a niche in the early 80's has evolved into one of Costa Rica's greatest national treasures. In 1993 tourism, with the key sector being nature travel, surpassed both bananas and coffee in foreign revenue generation. It was a natural progression, with Costa Rica's 25 national parks, 58 wildlife refuges, 32 protected zones, 15 wetland areas or mangroves, 11 forest reserves, 8 biological reserves, as well as 12 other conservation regions.
Protecting the world's biozones, helped by the growth and focus on ecotourism, grew into farther reaching concepts of responsible and sustainable travel in all sectors. The national institute of tourism for Costa Rica, called ICT, with its motto of “ No Artificial Ingredients” created the CST program in 1997 to differentiate tourism businesses based on the degree to which they comply with a sustainable model of natural, cultural and social resource management. Each year more and more companies from hotels, car rental agencies, tour operators, travel agencies and the like are participating in the CST certification program.
What's truly exciting is that sustainability can affect every level of tourism, not just the biozones, or businesses in nature-oriented areas. Sustainability can be applied everywhere from the agencies that plan travel in any country, to all suppliers rural or urban; all forms of tourism should strive to be more sustainable.