Status of initiative: N/a
Description/achievement of initiative

The Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST), is one of the first systems, if not the first, to achieve the integration of the principle elements of sustainable tourism, analyzing good management practices, the environmental and social impacts of services, as well as the client's perception of image and the congruence between the service offered and the product's promotion. In its four years of operation in Costa Rica, CST has been able to objectively measure sustainability of operating businesses, improve business environmental and social practices, and motivate businesses to improve practices and clients to choose sustainable tourist businesses. The main objective of this proposal is to transfer CST and make it fully applicable in other countries, in such a way that these countries can share a common foundation for promoting sustainability in tourism. This will achieve a number of goals: economies of scale, greater market recognition of the standard, increasing consumer awareness, and substantial improvement in the environmental and social impacts of tourism. The widespread implementation of CST will produce direct individual benefits to businesses (reduced costs, increased occupancy, and better image) while offering substantial environmental and social guarantees to the local population. At a regional level, it serves as a unifier and a common basis for the promotion of sustainable tourism.

Implementation methodologies

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure


Government of Costa Rica - Costa Rican Tourist Board (ICT)
Government of Belize - Belize Tourist Board
Government of Costa Rica - Ministry of the Environment and Energy
Government of El Salvador - Salvador Tourist Corporation
Government of Guatemala - Guatemala Tourist Board
Government of Honduras - Honduras Tourist Board
Government of Nicaragua - Nicaragua Tourist Board
Government of Panama - Panaman Tourist Board
Government of Spain
Government of United States of America - US Agency for International Development (US-AID)

Major Groups:
Earth Council (Costa Rica)
Internat. Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (Costa Rica)
National Chamber of Tourism (CANATUR) (Costa Rica)

UN System: Other intergovernmental organizations:
Central American Integration System (SICA) (El Salvador)
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) (United States of America)

Lat Am Center for Competitivity & Sust Devt CLADS (Costa Rica)
National Institute of Biodiversity (INBio) (Costa Rica)
University of Costa Rica (Costa Rica)

Sustainable Development Goals and targets
Goal 17
Resources devoted to implementation
Progress reports
Cut off date each year: 1 July
This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
Date of completion: 2003-01-01
Partner connections
Contact information/focal point(s)
Certificación para la Sostenibilidad Turística ,

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