History of Rural Tourism in Costa Rica
Rural community tourism is about providing an awareness and appreciation of the rural community.
In 2003 an alliance of organizations for the enhancement of rural community tourism was created in Costa Rica. This alliance was between COOPRENA (Consortium of Rural Tourism Co-operatives) and ACTUAR (Costa Rican Community-based Rural Tourism Association) with these bodies pioneering and promoting rural tourism in Costa Rica.
The United Nations Program for Development (UNPD) has provided financial and technical assistance and has worked with the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) to define and characterize community rural tourism as a national tourist product and has been involved in the creation of CantuRural, a national Chamber of rural tourism of which Casitas Tenorio is a founding member.
By passing laws concerning rural tourism and encouraging rural tourism, the Costa Rican legislature has shown a commitment to this important sector of Costa Rican tourism and a commitment to the rural inhabitants.
“Rural community tourism consists of planned touristic experiences which are integrated sustainably with the rural environment and developed by local citizen organizations for the benefit of the community.’ – Costa Rican Institute of Tourism, 2005.
It’s also about maintaining communities, and allowing them to develop at their own pace, in their own direction, on their own terms and in a way that is sustainable for the future
Some of the main characteristics of rural tourism are that it integrates natural beauty and the daily life of rural communities, adapts itself to the dynamics of rural life and preserves the welcoming, relaxed and rustic atmosphere that characterize the rural areas of Costa Rica rather than being overwhelmed by the touristic experience. Rural tourism is maintained and promoted by local initiative and participation and helps strengthen local organizations. It ensures that local people are included in the economic benefits of tourism which often supplements farming income and promotes local land ownership.
Being involved with rural community tourism means you’ll have a unique -and uniquely Costa Rican -experience. With rural community tourism, you don’t have to be the only one who benefits from your trip –the whole community can!
You have the opportunity to support sustainable development in rural areas by supplementing and diversifying incomes for farming families, helping preserve local cultures and traditions and promoting conservation of natural resources.
Rural community tourism respects host communities, their guests, and the planet that we all share by including sustainable practices as well as being able to meet and interact with Costa Ricans in their daily lives and see and experience Costa Rican culture.