Working with local partners abroad helps Rickshaw give back to the communities we take you to. In Costa Rica, we work with a local partner who supports our Meaningful Travel ethos. In fact they have achieved the highest sustainability accreditation possible in the country. Find out their story and what responsible travel means to them…
What does responsible travel mean to us?
Tourism can help a lot to spread welfare locally as tourists tend to stay (and spend) in different places in Costa Rica during their vacation. So, by carefully selecting the hotels and providers we can help this process. It is for us important to work as much as possible with locally owned hotels, restaurants and other providers. This helps the local economy, but not only by the money spent by the tourists who visit these hotels. It helps to create also well-qualified, responsible jobs for local people, who often do not have these opportunities in other sectors of the economy.
Investing in local communities
But it doesn’t end with that. Involving the local population in tourism helps making tourism more sustainable. Most of the visitors that come to Costa Rica come to see and enjoy the fabulous nature. Conservation of nature stands or falls with the support of local people. Involving the local population in tourism activity helps to raise their awareness and consequently encourages responsible behavior towards nature. The better we are able to let the local population profit from tourism, the better we serve the purpose of nature conservation so future generations can enjoy it too.
There are numerous examples showing that involving locals in tourism helps to preserve nature. For example: most of the former turtle hunters of Tortuguero now work there as tour guides.
Costa Rica has a certification program for sustainable practices in the tourism sector, which is called CST. It gives ‘awards’ (certifications in the form of maximum 5 leaves) for those organizations who implement sustainable practices. It encourages organizations to take action in ‘clean operations’, transparent financial organization (payment of proper salaries, proper payment of taxes), the use of local providers, raising awareness among local people and the tourists who come to Costa Rica. We actively and wholeheartedly participate in this program, because we think it is a good instrument to ensure a proper contribution of the tourism sector to the whole country. As a traveler you can recognize hotels etc who participate in the program by this symbol.
Ensuring unforgettable memories
Last, but not least: for us responsible travel is not only showing responsibility towards the local people but also towards our clients.
We consider it important to take time to meet our guests personally in our offices, to help them with their last doubts and answer their questions, give information in order to help them to behave as a responsible traveller too. We are aware that we form a cultural ‘bridge’ between locals and visitors. By making that bridge as easy as possible to cross, we facilitate understanding and a smoother communication between them. And this leads to encounters that evoke unforgettable memories.