Certification of Sustainable Tourism (CST)

Certification of Sustainable Tourism (CST)

The Certification of Sustainable Tourism (CST) is a program coordinated by the National Institute of Tourism in Costa Rica. The certification process allows businesses within the tourism sector to engage in sustainable practices within in their business and community contributing to the overall sustainable development of the country. The certification process requires a lot of documentation. Here at Casitas Tenorio we have attempted to become certified for many years, however the process basically requires someone to work full time on the collection and organisation of evidence required. We have never had the personnel or time available work on this project. Despite being one of the most sustainable tourism projects in the country, we have ironically lacked the resources to apply for the CST. Recently we were awarded a grant  for the green business fund or  “Fondo de Negocios Verdes” project. We will use these financial resources to hire a consultant to assist us with the application process for the CST.

The green business fund (‘Fondo de Negocios Verdes’)

The green business fund is a co-financing and advisory initiative to increase the productivity and ecological competitiveness of national micro, small and medium-sized companies located in biological corridors to consolidate a supply of organic products, both locally and internationally. markets The program is coordinated by a strategic alliance between the Foundation for the Cooperation of the United States of Costa Rica (CRUSA) and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), with the execution of the Fundación Banco Ambiental (FUNBAM).

The CST requires businesses to submit evidence for four different ‘modules’ including the company’s interaction with natural and cultural resources, the improvement of quality of life within local communities and economic contribution to other programs of national development. The new CST 2.0 requires us to first participate in an in person training, then register online, completes an auto-evaluation, submit our evidence and then to be assessed to see if we meet the requirements. Some requirements are ‘obligatory’ and must be completed to gain the certification. Those businesses who go beyond the basic requirements and demonstrate that they are making changes in their local communities can be awarded with the “Elite” certification. We hope to be certified as an “Elite” business this year.

The program seeks businesses who are operating sustainability to share their knowledge and expertise with other business, their suppliers, employees and local community members to operate more sustainably. While a lot of work to gain the certification, the process has been beneficial to our business, as it has provided us with a structure and guidelines for preparing business policies and procedures which will in the long run not only benefit our guests and employees at Casitas Tenorio B&B but our community, nation and world beyond!

Certification for Tourist Sustainability (CST)

The fundamental purpose of the CST is to turn the concept of sustainability into something real, practical and necessary in the context of the country’s tourism competitiveness, with a view to improving the way natural and social resources are used. In addition, encouraging active participation of local communities and provide new support for the competitiveness of the business sector. The CST standard is a technical tool, the objective of which is to strengthen sustainable tourism in Costa Rica.


It is a recognition of the excellent management of companies and organizations that actively work to mitigate the impacts resulting from their operation. The certification enhances the strengthening of social, cultural, environmental, economic and development work in tourist destinations. “


What is sustainable tourism development?

Sustainable tourism development must be seen as the balanced interaction between the appropriate use of our natural and cultural resources, the improvement of the quality of life of local communities, and the economic success of the activity; it also has to contribute to national development. Tourism sustainability is not only the answer to demand, but it is an indispensable condition to compete successfully now and in the future. (Definition of Tourist Sustainability, CST 1997).


Sustainability, as a model for development, raises the need to meet the current requirements of society, without compromising the right of future generations to meet theirs. In other words, the country’s development cannot be based on excessive exploitation of resources (natural, cultural, social, etc.) to cover the population’s shortcomings (food, housing, health, employment, …), because These resources are the only platform that future generations of this country have to satisfy their own needs.


The CST represents a new source of competitiveness, a way of differentiating the tourism industry from our competitors, in which the development of a tourism product is encouraged, with a connotation of sustainability, thus opening up new possibilities for marketing and international promotion.


In addition to the support that the Costa Rican Tourism Institute offers at the promotional level, the company certified with the CST, can use the brand as a differentiating factor of its offer. This, in addition to the efficiency in the operation that is achieved under this scheme, by promoting savings and efficient use in the management of resources, has a positive impact not only on the quality of the product, but also on the cost-benefit ratio. .


What is 100% responsible tourism?

  • It is the type of tourism that the country needs to be an example in Central America for many years.
  • Tourism with operational efficiency that promotes the saving and efficient use of the country’s natural resources.
  • Tourism that is committed to the community and its needs, seeking an environmental solution.
  • It is the certification that every tourist company should have to carry out nature conservation actions.


When you see the CST brand you will know that …


  • The company avoids gas emissions, and damages caused to the environment by pollution or other chemicals.
  • The company carries out management and nature conservation actions. Always protecting her.
  • The company manages the waste it produces in a way that does not create a negative impact on the environment.
  • The company consumes natural, biodegradable products and recycles all those that can be reused.
  • The company has a program for saving water and electric energy in all the premises it owns.
  • The company is inviting you to learn about the natural wealth of our country and urges you to take care of it and protect it.

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