Central America to Capitalize on European Demand for Sustainable Travel Options

November 4, 2009

Central America is poised to improve promotion of itself as a multinational sustainable destination in strategic European markets thanks to the recent signing of a collaborative agreement by the international conservation organization the Rainforest Alliance and the Central American Tourism Agency (CATA).

"This agreement will significantly enhance the promotion of Central America's sustainable tourism businesses in European markets that are very important for the region, and which have shown increasing interest in green tourism," said Cristina Suhr, marketing manager for the Rainforest Alliance.

The joint effort will concentrate on events such as tourism fairs, some of which the Rainforest Alliance will attend and others of which the two organizations will hold collaborative activities at, whereas the materials of both organizations will be distributed at other fairs.

The two will also collaborate on the organization of familiarization trips for tourism industry participants that they will select through consensus and they will both seek sponsors to cover the costs of those activities. Together they will design thematic trips to Central American countries that will include responsible hotels and tourism businesses that participate in the Rainforest Alliance's sustainable tourism program.

"I believe that this is one of the most important initiatives that I have promoted as Pro Tempore President of the Central American Tourism Council and that this alliance will be extremely beneficial for tourism development in our region and for improving the positioning of our countries as sustainable tourism destinations in international markets. It also offers an excellent opportunity to develop and take advantage of concepts such as ecological tourism and world-class quality in a cooperative manner in order to strengthen Central America's tourism industry," said Carlos Benavides, Costa Rica's Minister of Tourism.

"I am certain that this agreement with the Rainforest Alliance will contribute to CATA's mission of increasing tourism in this region, especially responsible tourism, which has a strong presence in Central America and is an essential criterion for European tourists when selecting destinations," said Pilar Cano, executive president of CATA.

Through the agreement, both parties have also promised to seek alliances with European organizations and programs that promote sustainable tourism in order to gain greater support and spread the word about Central America.