The Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST): in search of the best.
Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST)
Costa Rica is always in search of offering the best to tourists. This is because the tourist sector enterprises search for quality and sustainable development. The Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST) program consists of the categorizing and certification of tourist companies according to the degree in which their operations approach a model of sustainability. It is focused on the impact on the natural, cultural, and social resources of the country. The certificate reflects the level in which the establishment complies with the sustainability parameters established by the CST standard.
What does the certificate look for?
The CST has four fundamental components of performance for lodging establishments in order to achieve its objective. They are:
1.The physical-biological component: the interaction of the company with its immediate environment is analyzed, taking into consideration the amount of generated emissions, pollution and damage, as well as conservation measures and risk management of the environment.
2.The physical plant component: evaluates the company's internal systems and processes for the handling of waste, the use of efficient technologies to save water and electricity and the use of products or consumer goods they purchase and use.
3.The external client component: considers the company's actions to make guests aware of the importance and need to contribute to the efforts made by the establishments to use water and electricity wisely. Also considered are the company's actions to urge the guests to respect ethical standards and conduct codes for beach activities or when visiting protected areas and communities.
4.The social environment component: acknowledges the identification and interaction of the establishment with its area of influence. It analyzes the degree to which the establishment responds to the growth and development needs of the region by means of purchases of locally produced food, ornaments, decoration, and other types of products. Includes evaluation of the company's efforts to avoid corrupt practices, socially undesirable activities and generally achieve benefits for its community.
Who does CST grant?
The National Accreditation Commission grants the certification. Some of the institutions that take part are the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT), the Costa Rican Ministry of the Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the University of Costa Rica (UCR). The CST has been recognized by the World Tourism Organization as one of the programs that are modifying the ways to manage tourism.