The Costa Rican Network of Accessible Tourism obtained first place in the category of Solidarity Tourism at the first edition of the Sustainable and Social Tourism Awards of Ibero-America.
This Sustainable and Social Tourism for Ibero-America 2022 award was presented in León, Guanajuato, Mexico. Three categories were chosen for the best practices in social and sustainable tourism at the international level: Environmentally Responsible Tourism, Solidarity Tourism, and Socially Responsible Tourism.
Since 2017, the Costa Rican Network of Accessible Tourism has been a non-profit association that works to make Costa Rica an accessible destination that everyone can enjoy.
One of their main projects is DONATAPA, an environmental and social responsibility program that collects plastic waste to transform it into plastic wood, which is then used to create devices for the design of accessible beaches.
With the joint efforts and support of the ICT, local governments, and the private sector, there are already more than ten accessible beaches in the country with wheelchair-access walkways.
Those who work for the organization hope to continue with these meaningful projects that promote the country’s development and allow the natural beauties that Costa Rica offers to be enjoyed by all visitors.
“It is a significant achievement for Costa Rica and the Network because it shows Costa Rica’s efforts to make tourism increasingly inclusive and accessible, which helps us differentiate ourselves as a destination,” said Alberto Lopez, general manager of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute.
At the Sustainable Social Tourism Summit, 35 high-quality projects were presented from various countries, such as Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, and Costa Rica.
The award was given to Costa Rica because of its innovative tourism management, operations, and development plan.
Particularly, the project promotes the participation of the local community in tourism management while ensuring accessibility and inclusion. It also strengthens the promotes local tourism and helps specific vulnerable groups.
“We are doing things right as an organization and country, and this award certifies it. It highlights Costa Rica as a responsible, sustainable, and solidary destination,” noted Stephanie Sheehy, representative of the Costa Rican Network of Accessible Tourism.
This year’s jury included tourism professionals of international stature from various countries, sustainability, and tourism specialists, and representatives from Europe and America with proven experience in multidisciplinary tourism, NGOs, and private companies.
According to Gustavo Pérez Berlanga, one of the members of the jury, they were delighted to grant this award to the Accessible Tourism Network. He pointed out that they “awarded the prize unanimously and highlighted the outstanding sustainable tourism practices of this proposal.” He also mentioned that this project would be featured in a report as an example for other countries