On August 20th 2015, representatives from 9 different rural tourism initiatives within the Talamanca Central Volcanic Biological Corridor (CBVCT) participated in the first of a three-part workshop series, “Interacting with the environment: Ecosystem services, development and environmental impacts” as a part of a year-long project to help strengthen capacities of small businesses to both improve their livelihoods and conserve the environment.
This interactive workshop focused on providing a basic theoretical background on the importance of ecosystem services, how we define development and how the interaction between them when we are engaged in both rural farming activities and tourism. The day culminated with participants taking a simple environmental impact assessment to their farms and communities to better understand what environmental impacts their businesses are having.
The second part of the series, to be held on September 9th, will then focus on sustainable practices these businesses can implement to reduce their environmental impact, such as making environmentally friendly disinfectants, purifying rainwater through sand etc. The goal is to not only lessen their impact on the environment, but actually reduce operating costs to become more competitive, and be an example of sustainable tourism in Costa Rica.
The project, funded by the Rufford Foundation, in-kind contributions from Cuso International, and implemented by the Reventazón Model Forest Alliance, is working with 11 local businesses engaged in rural and eco-tourism. These projects are diverse and each have something unique to offer, for example one businesses is a community cooperative owned by 23 different people, another is an Indigenous women’s initiative, while others are farms
that are integrating tourism into their activities. Some of the tourism services these business offer includes: coffee and sugar cane tours, organic farming volunteer work, artisanal cheese-making, traditional home-stays, birding, forest walks, rafting and waterfall visits.
Further workshops will be held on reforestation, landscaping and gardens, marketing and communications and medium-term business and sustainability planning.
For more information on the project, please click here