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Sustainable Tourism Itineraries Offer Taste of Latin America's Green Treasures

February 8, 2007

Faced with an ever-growing supply of travel options, tourists are becoming more careful about their vacation choices and are taking the time to investigate destinations. To help travelers simplify that task, while ensuring that their trips have a positive impact, the international conservation organization the Rainforest Alliance has compiled a CD of sustainable tour options. The itineraries are also available online.

That collection of package tour descriptions, called "Sustainable Trips for a Better Future," contains a varied selection of package tours in Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Guatemala.

"These itineraries, designed by tour operators who collaborate with the Rainforest Alliance, offer journeys through areas of great natural beauty and cultural richness, while using only hotels and tourism businesses that have demonstrated a solid commitment to sustainable practices," says Cristina Suhr, the Rainforest Alliance's sustainable tourism marketing specialist.

Tour operators associated with the Rainforest Alliance have committed to creating incentives for their providers to join efforts to conserve their country's natural wealth and to reduce the negative impact that tourism can have. Businesses included in the CD have either won certification from a respected program or are participating in the Alliance's best management practices program.

According to Suhr, "Sustainable Trips for a Better Future" is a response to the growing number of tourists who don't merely want to have an unforgettable vacation, but also want to be sure they don't damage the areas they visit. They want their trip to contribute to community development and biodiversity conservation.

Tourists can explore the information on the disk and choose from an array of itineraries that include visits to beaches, volcanoes, national parks and mountain lodges, as well as trips that allow for close contact with indigenous groups, campesino families and rural communities. Whatever trip they choose, travelers will be sure to enjoy unique experiences and opportunities to spend time with local people and entrepreneurs who are committed to contributing to their country's development and the conservation of nature. The packages include accommodations certified by Costa Rica's Certification for Sustainable Tourism, Guatemala's Green Deal, or Ecuador's SmartVoyager.

The CD's itineraries are offered by Hamanasi and Tide Tours (Belize), Actuar, Camino Travel, CRT, Horizontes Nature Tours, Simbiosis Tours, Solimar, Swiss Travel Service, Vesatours and Nature Air (Costa Rica), Ecoventura, Explorandes, Topssa, Travel Sources y Tropic (Ecuador) and Gray Line Tours, Martsam, Maya Expeditions and STP Guatemala (Guatemala).

Rainforest Alliance representatives will distribute the CD at international events such as tourism trade shows, conferences and seminars on sustainable tourism and certification that they attend during the coming months.

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