Ecotourism, Ecological Certification and Environmental Policy in Costa Rica

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Ecotourism, Ecological Certification and Environmental Policy in Costa Rica
Morrissey, Shannon
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Beaches ( jstor )
Ecology ( jstor )
Ecotourism ( jstor )
Education ( jstor )
Environmental conservation ( jstor )
Environmental education ( jstor )
Environmental policy ( jstor )
Environmental regulation ( jstor )
Tourism ( jstor )
Universities ( jstor )
Costa Rica
Environmental policy
Undergraduate Honors Thesis


This paper examines the impact of Costa Rica’s ecotourism industry on social interaction with environmental policy through a review of literature and personal interviews. I review various aspects of the country’s environmental policy, examining the written policy aspects, the level of social obedience to the policy, and the administrative interaction with environmental policy. Included in my research is a brief history and examination of environmental programs including Payments for Environmental Services and ecological certifications. Data were collected from public sources (e.g. books, magazines, and government publications) and multiple personal interviews in the country. This thesis examines several questions: Do environmental policies truly matter to the Costa Rican people without economic incentive, and are these policies enforced completely without the influence of the ecotourism industry? Do Costa Ricans respect the environment for its inherent or instrumental value? What is the most efficient environmental policy instrument? Throughout this paper, I report the importance of tourism in the manner that the industry interacts with the Costa Rica environment, and the people’s interaction with environmental policies. I do this in order to gain a more concise picture of policy structure because tourism is the country’s number one source of income. My purpose is to learn effective practices that positively impact the Costa Rican environment, such as incentivizing environmental services. The final data analysis points to the importance of fostered environmental concern as a product of education and socialization of native populations. ( en )
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Awarded Bachelor of Arts; Graduated May 8, 2012 summa cum laude. Major: Criminology
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College/School: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
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Advisor: Damian Adams

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University of Florida
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Copyright Shannon Morrissey. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.


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Ecotourism, Ecological Certification and Environmental Policy in Costa Rica Shannon Morrissey College of Liberal Arts and Sciences University of Florida Gainesville, Florida May 2012


2 TABLE of CONTENTS Page Abstract 3 Introduction 4 Review of Previous Research Brief Overview of Costa Rica as a nation 6 Figure 1 General Map of Costa Rica, Central America 6 Recent History of Costa Rican Environmental Programs and Policy 8 Ecotourism General Concepts, History, and Background 11 Forms of Ecotourism 15 Table 1 Forms of Ecotourism 15 The Negative Side of Ecotourism 18 Ecological Certification 21 Table 2 Environmental Programs in Costa Rica 24 Blue Flag Ecological Certification 25 Ecotourism and Environmental Policy 26 Environmental Policy Instruments 28 Methods 3 0 Results 3 2 Table 3 Informal Interview Resp onses 3 2 Blue Flag at EARTH University 3 3 Costa Rican Accreditation Entity, ECA 3 4 Ecological Certification: The Rainforest Alliance 3 6 Ecotourism in 3 8 Education through Ecotourism: An Environmental Policy Instrument? 40 Policy Instruments for the Future 4 5 Implications 4 6 Conclusion 4 7 Future Research 49 Acknowledgements 51 Personal Background 52 Appendix 5 5 References 65


3 Abstract This paper examines the environmental policy through a review of literature and personal interviews. I review various social obedience to the policy, and the administrative interaction with environmental policy. Included in my research is a brief history and examination of environmental programs including Payments for Environmental Services and ecological certifications. Data were collected from public sources (e.g. books, magazines, and government public ations) and multiple personal inte rviews in the country This thesis examines several questions: Do environmental policies truly matter to the Costa Rican people without economic incentive, and are these policies enforced completely without the influence of the ecotourism industry? Do Costa Ricans respect the environment for its inherent or instrumental value? What is the most efficient environmental policy instrument? Throughout this paper, I report the importance of tourism in the manner that the indust ry interacts wit h the Costa Rica environment environmental policies. I do this in order to gain a more concise picture of policy structure because My purpose is to lea rn effective practices that positively impact the Costa Rican environment such as incentivizing environmental service s The final data analysis points to the importance of fostered environmental concern as a product of education and socialization of native populations


4 Introduction Ecotourism has rapidly evolved from a travel categorization to a lifestyle for certain cultures and regions. Costa Rica is a prime location and environment for ecotourism and the Costa Rican people have embrace d this profit generating tourist industry It may seem that Costa Rica is beautifully preserved and has always been in its pristine condition due to the care by the native residents. Perhaps it is the case that ecotourism became popular as a logical afterthought policies and administrative enforcement may have followed the eco tourism trend. The people and culture seemed to have adhered to the ecotourism requirement of preservation. Is this strategy? Ecotourism and its accompanying market and costumers, has not only created a unique way of life for the Costa Rican people, but has invoked changes in government policy and has prope lled the market for ecological certification. The Co sta Rican government and independ ent agen cies throughout the country have created a multitud e of ecological cert ification programs tailored to each region and market. These programs attempt to promote sustainable functions of tourist areas among other natural regions, and can provide fund ing and open up profitable markets to more rural areas. nd ecotourism are trendy. Currently, an increasing number of travelers chose an ecotourist an ecotourist is portrayed as more sustainable and less harmful to the environment because it supports and encourages preservation of a natural area (Higham 2007 ) This is in contrast to


5 traditional travel; take for example a cruise ship vacation. A cruise sh ip is most often a massive, gas guzzling boat that has been built by humans to satisfy our entertainment needs. In the production of the cruise boat, tons of building materials and fossil fuels were probably indulge d. Resources were used solely to create t This traditional travel does not appear sustainable. Sustainability is a goal of ecotourism. Ecotourism responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well being of local people 2012 ) When acting as an ecotourist, people are able to enjoy the feeling that they are helping th e environment by staying at a growing number of often beautiful, exotic locations. Review of Pre vious Research In our modern era the globe is being rapidly altered by both anthropogenic activities and natural occurrences. Anthropogenic impact refers to human activities, such as fishing, building and construction, mining, pollution due to cars and factories, among others. Natural occurrences inc lude erosion ocean tides, animal activity and weather patterns. Anthropogenic activities often cause natural occurrences to become more extreme, and many times negatively emphasize the effect of these occurrences. It is important to study the global chang es because these activities will irreversibly alter the global landscape and resources for current and future generations. For example, many energy sources we depend on today, such as oil and coal, are only available in a finite supply. It is becoming more and more necessary to conserve our natural resources not only to save the resources for future use, but to ameliorate the current negative environmental impact caused by the excessive use of these resources.


6 Costa Rica has an especially diverse, pristi ne environment, and the country is a model nation in regards to their environmental conservation efforts. Countries across the globe look to Costa Rica as an example of environmental conservation to strive towards in order to improve their respective count Although truly far from perfect, certifications and voluntary environmental initiatives funded by the government, enable the country t o preserve its environment much more effectively than many other nations approach is one that should be studied by all nations across the globe in order to emphasize the necessity of efficient environmental conservation that can duly improve the economy while promoting sustainability. Brief Overview of Costa Rica as a nation The Republic of Costa Rica, commonly known simply as Costa Rica, is a small country located in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua on the North and Panama in the South as shown in Figure 1 Figure 1: General map of Costa Rica, Central America


7 Source: Map of Costa Rica N.d. Map. University of Texas Libraries. where a free judicial system reins with the right to vote for all citizens R 2012 ) Compared to other Central American countries, Costa Rica is the most politically stable and is home to the most educated population, boasting the highest literacy rate among the surrounding nations ( Cosgrove, Prelle, and Weinstein 2012 ). This may be partially due to the 2012 ). Costa Rica is a prime tourist destination, due primarily to its accessibility, peac eful society, and beautiful environment. The country has been labeled the happiest country on Earth, and Happy Planet Index encouraged this rhetoric by naming Costa Rica at the top of their Happy Planet Index 2012 ). This index ranking is awarded to Costa Rica in recognition of the following factors: the highest life satisfaction in the world, the second highest average life expectancy of the Ameri an ecological footprint that means that the country only narrowly fails to achi 2012 ). Although only roughly the size of West Virginia, Costa Rica is home to 6% of the and 26 % of the coun land is protected by national policies or 2012 ). With this impressive environmental conservation, it is not surprising to learn that tourism is the number one source on inc ome, with the service industry supplying 68% of the GDP in 2008 ( Cosgrove, Prelle, and Weinstein 2012 ). Until recent decades, C osta Rica wa s tra ditionally an agrarian economy dependent on local coffee and banana farms to sustain the people and to earn


8 ( Allen et al, 1996 ) late 1980s due to primarily to the exportation of agricultural products and largely to the growth of tourism (All en et al, 1996 ). Today, Costa Rica has continued in t he pattern of exportation, touri sm, and international arrivals as the major factors keeping the economy strong ( Allen et al, 1996 ). Tourism, and the ecotourism sector in particular appears to be a profita ble market as Costa Rica is currently among the wealthiest and most economically stable countries in Central 2012 ) Recent History of Costa Rican Environmental Programs and Policy Beginning in the 1980s C osta R for d the country to r estructure its commercial debt (Swanson 2004). In essence, this United States government funded program paid the Costa Rican government and the Central Bank of Costa Rica to conserve tropical forests in the country ("U.S. Department of State" 2012 ) The money dispensed for this program was used to set up conservation sites and administrative bodies, but erally improved government fina nces. T he adoption of this program demonstrate s how conservation (Swanson 2004 p. 58 ) However, this program was inherently flaw ed Primarily, when pursuing conservation a foreig n debt is not a major threat to environmental conservation (Swanson 2004) Therefore, this program did not address underlying issues related to conservation Although the debt for nature program is still continuing the U.S. and Costa Rica agreed as recently as October 2010 that policy ("U.S. Department of State" 2012 ) On its own, the debt for nature program is not


9 efficient enough to serve as the primary environmental polic y instrument in the nation. Other more diverse and more widely reaching policy instruments are necessary to have a comprehensive system and no single policy instrument is effective. I n 1988, Costa Rica began to forecast long term development, focusing on environmental preservation through sustainable development. The Costa Rican government established ECODES, the Foundation for Ecology and D evelopment. This non profit, non party affiliated organization ha s been referred to by one researcher p. 2 ) This means that ECODES works with different organizations, developers and stakeholders, both local and foreign, in an effort to promote sustainable and environmentally frie ndly development without seeking a profit (Swanson 2004) In addition, ECODES is especially unique because stakeholder participation with ECODES is completely voluntary and is not mandated by the national government (Swanson 2004) Government figures in Co sta Rica incorporated suggestions laid out in ECODES into national policies regarding environmental preservation and development. ECODES promoted a centralized development strategy, in which the federal or central government would enforce all relevant poli cies and procedures. The 1988 ECODES strategy was commonly used as a guideline for national policies until the late 1990s Currently ECODES is not a prominent national guideline and instead focuses more on smaller, international development cooperation (Sw anson 2004). ironmental policies adhere to a less centralized approach, as prescribed by Agen da 21. This approach was drafted in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summ it) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Sitarz 1993 ). This document laid out the action plan to be taken globally,


10 nationally, and locally by governments and region s in respect to the environment (Swanson 2004 p 4 ). Agenda 21 emphasized a decentralized approach, where policy was to be administered at the local or regional level. Policy recommendations should be made at the national or state level, but then formulated and enforced at the local le vel. In its holistic and general approach, Agenda 21 focused on four areas of development: environment, production, social problems, and infrastructure (Swanson 2004). sustainable development efforts should be rooted at the local level setting the stage for future policy application (Swanson 2004 p. 4 ). Contrasting the localized focus of Agenda 21, the Earth Summit also created a guiding document called Capacity 21. This strategic document was focused more on external policies, and was to be administered by the national government. Capacity 21 was aimed at developing countries t o create and assist their capacity to integrate the principles of Agenda 21 into national planning and development (Sitarz 1993 ). Perhaps the most noteworthy and impactful action attained by Capacity 21 in Costa Rica was a fuel tax. This fuel tax provided funding for progr ams. The fuel tax also creat ed a market for the buying and selling of carbon which allowed carbon to be come internationally commercialized (Swanson 2004). Whereas ECODES promoted a central strategic approach, more modern policies like Agenda 21 are guided by decentralized programs a nd activities (Swanson 2004). For example, t he Costa Rican National Council for Sustainable Development, CONADES, is a non governmental agency that encourages sustainable development strategies in accordance with principles promoting ecotourism and conserv ation (Swanson 2004). CONADES takes a decentralized approach with no single guiding strategy. A decentralized approach can lessen the


11 administrative and policy enforcement burden from the national government, and can tailor guidelines to each climate and r egion of the country. In addition to CONDAES, there are also several other agencies w hich are responsible for ensuring sustainable use of environmental resources, and which govern over different regions of the country with varying document s serving as policy guidelines. Ecotourism General Concepts, History and Background the ec ot ourism market, as has also occurred in areas across the globe Ecotourism is a relatively new travel category and is still expanding and developing as a market. The argument can be made that changes within the environmental policy of Costa Rica reflect the prominence of ecotourism Jus t as the policy has become de centralized, ecotourism trend s have gener ally followed a localized management approach, with administrative bodies tailored to manage ea ch unique en vironmental region. The concept of ecotourism often becomes confused in the trendy, jumbled vocabulary used today in reference to the environment conscious are all ter ms that are thrown around throughout advertis ements, news reports, and product labels (Honey 2008) So where does ecotourism fall in this environmental scheme? Ecotourism is shorthand for ecological tourism ; ecological tourism is promoted to be more environmentally focused than other forms of tourism.


12 According to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), ecotourism can be defined by seven elements (Honey 2008 that the area has not been drastically altered by man and is often under some form of environmental protection (Honey 2008 in its aim to reduce damage to the environment often brought about by traditional tourist activities (Honey 2008 ). For example, ecotourism might employ alternative forms of energy for their residences or reduce consumption of resources in the area through recycling programs. Through its efforts in attracting the general pub lic, ecotourism builds environmental awareness by educating the community and foreign visitors (Honey 2008 ). A portion of the proceeds earned through the ecotourism industry in each location should be conservat (Honey 2008 ). One of the original aims of ecotourism is related to the previous educational element. Ecotourism should fund environmental research efforts and collect funding for environmental protection in the local area. In addition to protective f 2008 p. 29 ). Ecotourism population to become economically empowered (Honey 2008 p. 29 ). 2008 p. 29 minimal effect on both the natural environment and the human population of the host (Honey 2008 p. 30 ). Promoting cultural respect often requires education for the foreign tourist, as to social norms, traditions, and environmental customs. The last component of ecotourism as 2008 p. 31 ). Ecotourism is a holistic approach, as has been portrayed by the broad principles listed, and


13 attempts not only to promote travel and sustainability, but also positive politics. Environmentally conscious travel is one example of the efforts to improve general world prosperity, and falls in line with the principles of democracy which is encouraged by the United Nations. To summarize pect for 2008 p. 31 ). Ecotourism expansion worldwide is the result of increased interest in environmental conservation. Wearing and N eil claim that the most recent catalyst for the environmental and ecotourism movement was the publication of the Brundtland Report: Our Common Future in 1987 by the United Nations Commission on Environment and Development (Wearing and Neil 1999 ). This report encouraged sustainable development as ne cessary to continue supporting the According to the U.S. Census billion people in the past 12 yea 2012 ). There appears to be no slowing of population growth in the near future; as developing countries are experiencing the highest growth rates due primarily to exponential birth rates some experts estimate that the world population may reach 9 billion in the next few decades (Wearing and Neil 1999 ). The Brundtland Report recognized the need for a solution to a formidable question: how can we feed and the support the necessities of 7 billion people without irreparably damag ing our environment ? (Wearing and Neil 1999 ) This question was, and still is, relevant to policy makers, farmers, government agencies, corporations, and average families alike. Humans need food, clothing, shelter, and water, all requiring resources which come from the earth around us. Throughout the 20 th century, in developed and dev eloping countries alike, e disappearing at a depressingly rapid rate (Wearing and Neil 1999 ). Most often


14 occurring in developing countries, t hese fresh, open lands were needed for their resources and space for an expanding population, both rural and urban. Prior to the 1970s and 1980s, there appeared to be little incentive to protect these lands, as immediate survival and resource consumption t rumped preservation. Open lands were seen as having more instrumental value, rather than inherent value worth preserving. After the Brundt land Repor t, though, the spotlight was focused on sustainable development, which included ecotourism. Ecotourism ha d t he definite potential to reap economic benefit and to generate profit for a region, while simultaneously protecting the environment and educating natives and visitors alike. Ecotourism is rooted in the concept of local benefit, both environmental and economic. According to Wearing an d Neil, a crucial component Neil 1999 p. 62 ). The incentive is to promote protection of na tural areas with the promise of economic reward for the community. This is a localized approach because ecotourism must be tailored to each individual region and environment, and should be managed at the local level in order to be efficient. In addition to ecotourism being an incentive to keep the environment (Wearing and Neil 1999 want that reef to rem 199 9, p. 70 ). It is not un common for visitors in tourist regions across the globe to connect to the location and form an emotional bond. Ecotourism primarily promote s envi ronmental conservation but often also offers rural Neil 1999 p. 73


15 not require fancy amenities or high mai ntenance facilities (Wearing and Neil 1999 ). The tourist should be interested in the local environment and the way of life of the locals. In Costa Rica, this includes a virtual lack of air conditioning and hot water hand washing dishes and clothing, and a total loss of electricity during a major storm due to the absence of stand by generators. These aspects of life for the natives and visitors alike reduce energy and water consumption. This is in contrast to resort style vacations which may offer the oppo site: unlimited hot showers, clean towels daily, and air conditioning cranked as high as one desires. A massive resort boasting hundreds of rooms for guests is quite a contrast from the small villas and hostels dotting much Costa Rica Within ecotourism, r esource us e should be minimized while tourist s expose themselves to the indigenous rooted lifestyles of the natives. E cotourism is a rapidly expanding he current [worldwide] increase in international tourist arrivals is projected to be around 4%, much in line with the forecast long term annual g rowth rate of 4 ) In ecotourism and all nature related forms of touri sm account for ap proximately 20 % of total international travel (TIES 2012 ) This figure may not seem huge, but it is notable considering that ecotourism did not become a reality until the 1980s. According to a WTO es timate, nature tourism generates 7% of all internation al travel expenditure 2012 ). According to the World Resources Institute tourism overall has been growing at an annual rate of 4%, while forms of ecotourism are increasing at an annual rate between 10% and 30% (TIES 2012 ). Projected statistics sugge st that the ecotourism market will only continue to expand as populations become more environmentally conscious.


16 Forms of Ecotourism Ecotourism is prevalent in a variety of forms, as shown in Table 1 varying from region and environment. Ecotourism is a form of alternative tourism; it is in contrast to conventional tourism (Wearing and Neil 1999 ) What is conventional tourism? The definition varies, based on the individual and on the regions, similar t o the varying definition of ecotourism. Put simply, conventional tourism is the more established, traditional form of tourism. Conventional tourism includes cruise ships, resort style vacations, all inclusive hotel stays, and a wealth of other options. Th e conventional tourist ideal focuses on giving the guest a vacation from daily life. The tourist should be relaxed, free from work or worry, and pampered to the extreme. These ideals can be attained in ecotourism, to a certain extent. But alternative touri many large scale tourism developments undertaken in areas that have not previously been 1999 p. 74 ). Convention al tourism is not traditionally concerned with those ideals. Table 1. Form Name Description Example 1. Sustainable Tourism A necessary component of ecotourism; tourism that does not deplete natural resources Low impact activities such as camping or hiking 2. Voluntourism Traveling to do volunteer work which assists the local rural community in various ways Installing water pipelines in a rural community while living with the natives 3. Community based tourism Tourism in which the visitor resides in the home of the local host; goal is to immerse in culture Horseback riding on a local 4. Agroecotourism Ecotourism focused on local farmers; farmers show visitors how they make a living by farming sustainably Visitor farming with the host family 5. Alternativ e Tourism Synonymous with ecotourism


17 Table 1. Forms of Ecotourism Source: Honey, Martha. Ecotourism and Sustainable Development 2nd. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2008. Print. Alternative tourism takes many forms. In some cases, the tourist will reside in the home of a local host in order to experience the culture and environment (Wearing and Neil 1999 ). In community based tourism, a type of alternative tourism, one goal is to establish direct personal and cultu ral communication between host and g uest in an effort to cross cultural boundaries and create mutual understand (Wearing and Neil 1999 ). This form of tourism includes special i nterest tours such as an afternoon on a rural farm or ranch (Wearing and Neil 1999 ). In the mountainous regions of Costa Rica, tourists can enjoy a hillside horseback tour or a rafting trip. This form of tourism can also be labeled nature based tourism for precisely that reason: the tourist activities are based on the surrounding natural resources (Wearing and Neil 199 9 ). Most often, alternative tourism is small scale and localized. Each district or area in a country may offer a multitude of small to moderately sized accommodations, lacking in a huge hotel or all inclusive resort. Sustainable tourism is an essential asp ect of ecotourism, and is not necessarily its own form of tourism. In many regions across the globe, governments or agencies are planning for ecotourism destinations. Planning is necessary for an ecotourism market due to the characteristic s of ecotourism, which include the ideals of sustainable development. According to ideas introduced by the Brundtland Report sustainable development encompasses current and future generations access to resource necessary for human life (Higham 2007 ). This definition incl udes three areas: economic growth, human development and environmental preservation (Higham 2007).


18 (Wearing and Neil 1999 p. 68 ) Sustainable tourism includes minimal impacts which often implies tourism to operate on a small scale and there must be a system to measur e and record changes wrought on the e nvironment (Wearing and Neil 1999 ). Finally, i n order to remain incorporated into the ecotourism effort (Wearing and Neil 1999 ). Voluntourism is another form of alternative tourism and ecotourism. This is one of the newest categories of tourism, and is growing quickly due to its appeal. Certain voluntourism programs can offer travel opportunities for volunteers that assist local conservation and community development initi atives, and may promote financial d evelopment in the local region (Higham 2007 ). Through these experiences, a tourist philanthropist can often travel relatively cheaply and assist a rural community. Tourists can vacation and develop career skills while embracing a new culture and learning a bout the local environment. Voluntourism is a diverse field with opportunities for a range of peoples and availabilities. In one voluntourism organization, the average tourist age ranges from 18 to 70, with volunteer periods lasting from 2 weeks to 2 years ). To a growing number of travelers, this experience seems like a win win. The Negative Side of Ecotourism Ecotourism has assisted preservation efforts across the globe, has promoted education among varying local populations, and has allowed tourists to travel while enjoying nature. Although there are many positive aspects of ecotourism it is notable to point out the negatives associated with this new er activity and market. to mimic ecotourism (Honey 2008 ) Ecotourism lite may appear identical to ecotourism to the


19 uneducated traveler, bu t ecotourism lite is lack ing in the substance that denotes true ecoto urism. T his watered down version is easier to produce and is unfortunately prominent. According to 2008 ). This is partially due to the lack of standards and definitions, and the scarce prevalence of ecotourism regulation and administration. Even today, there is no universally accepted definition of ecotourism, but The International Ecotourism Society definition has be gun to popula rize and gain recognition (Higham 2007 ). In the Virgin Islands, one developer takes advantage of this lack of regulation and labels his resort as he wishes. Stanley Selengut, owner and developer of Harmony Resort, self proclaims that his resor t is wholly eco friendly (Honey 2008 ) The lodgings at Harmony Resort supposedly created from recycled materials, utilizing solar p anels and rain capture systems (Honey 2008 p. 74 ). However, it is questionable how much of the mate rial is recycled and whether solar energy is the sole energy of the resort. To fulfill the definition of ecotourism as laid out by TIES this resort would have to meet multiple standards For example condos, they foun d that (Honey 2008 p. 77 ). Perhaps Harmony Resort is not definitive ecotourism, but another example of ecotourism lite. Fortuna tely for Selengut, it seems that most tourists are not edu cated on true ecotourism. Another common problem one that is a component of the larger problem termed ecotourism Munshi, and Kurian 2005 ). Green washing is po rtrayed by mimics of the green movement, in reference to attempts at recycling and utilizing sustainable energy sources, among other examples. True green efforts use materials that have a high


20 percentage of recyclables, while green washing mimics may claim their mat erials are recycled, yet are really only partially formed by recycled materials. Green washing can also refer to r ecotourism lodges only use eco friendly cleaning products and recycled toilet paper. The developer often has the ability to stretch the truth and the reality may be somewhat differen t that the advertisement. Since the early 2000s greenwashing has become increasingly common in corporate public relations projects in order to earn more positive public attention ( Munshi, and Kurian 2005). Corporations in America and abroad, including tourism companies, are all fond of going green and promoting their supposed social responsibility, but this is often a scheme that leads to mimics of true environmental sustainability. Greenwashing through public relations campaigns in corporations allows the respective company to manipulate an image of environmental, soc ial, and cultural responsibility. Often these campaigns fall on enthusiastic consumers, including unknowing environmentalists. After thorough research on the actual environmental platform of many corporations, their public relations campaigns do not align with thei r practice (Munshi and Kurian 2005). D ue to a lack of The benefits of ecotourism for the environment, local population, and tourists can be fantastic, when properly planned and implemented in a holistic fashion. For example, in Ecuador, ecotourism is expected to generate upwards of $1.6 billion for the nation by the end of the year. Twenty development alternative to traditional A n advantage of


21 ecotourism is th at the average ecotourist invests a higher amount of money on an ecotourism trip than the average commercial tourist (Diamantis 2004). Therefore more money is coming into a community. Also, t he local community benefits because of the returns of ecotourism, namely employment of natives (Higham 2007). Unfortunately, when operating under the veil of ecotourism lite, the loc 2008 p. 166 ). According to author Martha Honey, because ecotourism lite is so prominent and few have learned to follow true ecotourism principle 2008 p. 79 ). A guilty party Kingdom (Honey 2008 ). The park opened in 1998 and promised to provide visitors wi th a vacation in addition to an educational and environmental experience amidst the 250 species of animals (Honey 2008 ). Paradise was not attained, however, due to improper management and handling of the animals. Although Animal Kingdom attempted to resemb le natural environments, a concrete park is not truly nature. Eleven animals died within the first year of the ican crowned cranes were run over by tour 2008 p.68 ). In light of these mishaps and many other ecotourism lite creations, some may wonder if ecotourism and development can ever be positive for the environment, even if done in the right manner Ecological Certification While it is impossible to get an exact estimate of what percentage of ecotourist destinations are genuine or the copycat, ecotourism lite, the percentage of ecotourism lite seems


22 to have been decreasing throughout recent years. This may be partially due public scrutiny and can also be accredited to eco labels and ecological certifications Eco labels are present in many sectors of society, ranging from labels for sustainable cardboard products to labels for housing units and hotels. In tourism, an eco (Dowling and Fennell 2003 ). responsible tourist is clearly willing to buy eco labeled tourism products in order to contribute to environmental 2003 ). Therefore, tourists are affected by eco labels and these eco labels can have a positive influence on the environment perhaps as long as the tourists are aware of the labels and are educated on their purpose. Ecological certification is a form of eco labeling that can be applied to multiple industries and varies within and throughout different countries. Most often, ecological certification requires adherence to set of standards and is not merely a n infinite label; the certification must usually be renewed annually. O rganic shrimp and coffee, engineering and forest management companies each have a respecti ve ecological certification process and program. Forest certification is popular in the United States in order to reputable organization that the timber product was produced in an ecologically and so cially (Kiker, and Putz 1997 ) The same basic idea rings true with all ecological certifications. In the tourism sector, ecological certif ication should, in theory, result in an area that is clean er (clean in regards to lower rates of pollution and environmental damage) and more environmentally friendly than most non certified destinations Certification is appealing to tourists because the certification guarantees that the area is ly responsible


23 destination [that] Fennell 2003 ). Ecological certification in tourism does not necessarily equate exactly with ecotourism, but its principles are similar and the certif ication can be a good indication of true ecotourism As with many green endeavors, there are imitations of eco labels that are not true ecological certifications and do not represent ecotourism. It is often difficult for the uninformed tourist to distingui sh between true certifi cation and falsified advertisements (not necessarily authorized) environmental logos, the complexity and diversity of criteria and the lack of information on eco labeling (Dowling and Fennell 2003 ). In Costa Rica, ecological certification has recently gained greater acclaim and popularity. This can be directly equated with the growth of ecotourism because ecolo gical certification is an effor t to erect standards and expectations within the market. Perhaps the m ost prominent national certification program in Costa Rica is the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST). The CST was created in 1997 by the Costa Rican Ministry of Tourism, and is currently managed by the sa me national ministry (Rivera 2002 ). The certi fication was originally aimed at hotels in response to a growin g concern for the environment in the midst of rapid hotel constr uction in the hotels in 1987 to about a 2002 ). Currently, the application for the CST is available for hotels, agencies and companies and it incorporates tour ). A hotel can apply for the first (lowest) level of certification and then work to meet the more rigorous standards of higher levels. The CST is a voluntary environmental initiative, in contrast with mandated environmental laws. In fact the CST is the first performance based voluntary environmental program created by a developing cou ).


24 Table 2. Program Name Description 1. Blue Flag Ecological Certification Ecological certification that was first awarded to coastal communities which meet environmental standards including having efficient recycling programs, waste water treatment, etc. Can also be awarded to non coastal communities 2. Payments for Environmental Services (PES) Costa Rican government pays private individu als to conserve their forest land. Payment is given yearly per hectare. 3. Certificate for Sustainable Tourism (CST) Voluntary environmental program that is awarded to hotels, agencies, companies which meet environmental standards including sustainable buil ding materials, clean water usage, etc. 4. Eco label Products and companies are awarded an eco label when their consumer product has a less negative effect on the environment than other very similar products. The product must be sustainable and may meet a v ariety of criteria. Eco label is a broad term that encompasses the term ecological certification 5. Debt for Nature Program Began in 1980s, the U.S. government paid the Costa Rican government to conserve tropical forests in order to alleviate Costa Rican for eign debt. Somewhat successful but did not adequately address conservation issues. This program still continues today Table 2. Environmental Programs in Costa Rica [Please note: not a comprehensive list of all programs in the country; merely the main pro grams studied] Source: Dowling, Ross, and David Fennell. Ecotourism Policy and Planning Cambridge: CABI Publishing, 2003. Print Blue Flag Ecological Certification Costa Rica has multiple environmental programs and initiatives, as shown in Table 2. Another voluntary environmental program is the Blue Flag ecological certi fication, which many Costa Rican s refer to, with pride, as the Blue Flag award This certifica tion was originally aimed at beaches and the surrounding seaside community and was cre ated to ensure


25 environmental cleanliness and protection standards for the beaches The Blue Flag was created by several Costa Rican authorities, including the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, MINAE (Ministry of Environment), National Water Service, Ministry of Public Health and CANATUR (National Tourism Chamber ) and is managed by the National Blue Flag Commission (Diamantis 2004). and is made up of 8 different government institutions, wit h each having a representative on the board. (Arguedas 2011 ). Blue Flag is unique because it is run by the government, not Non Governme ntal Organizations (NGOs) (Arguedas 2011 ). Governmental management shows Costa than less prominent internal or foreign groups. According to Manrique Arguedas, the leader of Blue Flag at EARTH University in Limon, Costa (Arguedas 2011 ). Th is is important because it ensures ongoing quality control. A community can receive the Blue Flag award one year but then lose it the next if they fail to comply. Blue Flag renewal is not guaranteed and must be gained, not given. The Blue Flag Board review s applications for award and renewal each year and all Blue Flag certifications and applications are free of cost (Arguedas 2011 ) To outsiders, the Blue Flag program may appear to be yet another government regulation that gains little national notice. In contrast, when questioned about the impact of Blue Flag on the t he impact of the Blue Flag certifications are obvious and notorious, throughout the whole country 2011 ). is appar ent through its growth. For example, i n 2003, only 2 8 coastal communities were Blue Flag certified and i n 2010, 96 coastal communities were certified (Arguedas 2011 ). Due to it s success, the Blue Flag program has expanded and can now be awarded to non coas tal


26 communities and other entities In fact, Costa Rica is the only country in the world that provides certification programs for communities other than coastal areas (Arguedas 2011 ). As of summer 2011, t here are seven categories of Blue Flag: beaches, n on coastal communities, educational communities, p rivate forest res erve or natural protected areas, watershed and basin areas, climate change mitigation ( for com munities and companies), and the newest award area, carbon neutrality (Arguedas 2011 ) In addit ion to the Blue Flag, Costa Rica now supports a new category of certification, the White Flag specifically for quality certification for water intended for human consumption (Arguedas 2011 ) Ecotourism and Environmental Policy Parallels between Costa Government mandated e nvironmental policies in Costa Rica are enumerated in the envir onmental laws with French Civil Code and is a form of ci vil law. In a civil law system, codifications must be made in 2012 ). This is in contrast to English Common law, as practiced in the United States and other countries throughout the world which often more gratuitously employ judicial interpretation The Constitution of 1949 is the most recent constitution in Costa Rica, although many laws created before 1949 are still followed and legally up 2012 ). The oldest recorded environmental law in the country was codified in 1909: Law No. 2012 ). No new environmental laws were created after 1909 until decades later in 1942: Law N 2012 ). The three most recent laws were codified in 2002 and concern the mining code, marine


27 2012 ). The laws seemed to have evolved considerably in the past century as the coded laws focus on more 2012 ). Perhaps this reflects the increasing awaren ess of and concern for the environment. The attitude of the time period has also been portrayed by Costa Rican presidents, including Daniel Oduber Quirs, who served as president from 1974 1978. During his term, his focuses included forestry and natural re source 2012 ) Ecotourism is a market related directly to evolving environmental policies. Ecotourism ive idea of attaining economic growth while nations (Cosgrove, Prelle, and Weinstein 2012 ). Promotion of environmental educat ion within schools, through govern ment initiatives public service announcements, and media images in the 1980s encouraged the growth of an ecotourism market (Cosgrove, Prelle, and Weinstein 2012 ). This time period coincides with the decade boasting the codification of at least four enviro nmental laws in Costa Rica. In the 1970s, public environmental awareness is demonstrated 2012 ). The 1990s is the only decade in which more environmental laws were created other This does not determine causation between ecotourism and environmental laws, but does portray a strong correlation between the two entities. Ecotourism has become especially prominent in Costa Rica, as compared to the r est of


28 To urism brings in a large sum of money to the nation: tourism becam industry in 1992 and this is still true today (Wearing and Neil 1999 ). T he expansion of sustainable development also parallels the ecotourism surge, as both entities support similar holistic ideals Ecotourism in Costa Rica has imp ortant policy implications because it is interconnected with multiple aspects of society (Wearing and Neil 1999). It i s not merely a Neil 1999 p. 93 ). Unfortunately, the ecotou as defined by Wearing and Neil) partially due to the lack of adequate funding and the presence of foreign investors who fail to include local citizens in the planning and management of ecotourism destinati ons, national parks, and other conserved areas (Wearing and Neil 1999) Regardless of the level of success attributed to the ecotourism scheme, the effect of the ecotourism market on environmental policy in the Costa Rica can be considered a success in its elf. Environmental Policy Instruments In an attempt to create policies that positively impact the environment and ecotourism market simultaneously in recent decades, the Costa Rican government initially took a command and control approach (Rivera 2002). Th p. 3 ). A command and control approach mandates compulsory instruments which most often require strict adherence to wri tten policy on a local, state, or national level. Typically, the policies are written on the national level. This can lead to problems because national policy may not correspond with local issues due to differences in environment, including characteristics such as


29 terrain and weather. For example, in Costa Rica, the environment in San Jose is much colder, drier and more elevated than coastal regions such as Jaco Beach. Policy guidelines for San Jose would generally not be applicable to Jaco Beach. Additiona lly, since the 1990s, the command and p. 3 ). In Central America specifically, it has been found that command and p. 3 ). Although Costa Rica has been cited to have the most effective government in Central America, the country st ill does experience these difficulties, according to Silvia Gamboa (Gamboa 2011 ). In more recent years, beginning in the late 1990s and 2000s, Costa Rica has begun to enforce fewer mandatory policies and has instead switched focus to voluntary programs (R ivera 2002). Voluntary programs include ecological certification such as the Blue Flag and the Certification for Sustainable Tourism. Some policy makers suggest the use of voluntary programs as environmental policy instruments, which greatly deemphasizes c ompulsory regulations and written laws. Voluntary programs in contrast to mandatory laws can be beneficial p. 4 ). Regio ns that subscribe to voluntary programs are more likely to adhere to the guidelines because these guidelines can be tailored to each specific environment. Also, because the programs are voluntary, the people in the region must proactively desire to enforce the program themselves. Here a self policing system reins, which proves more effective than governmental regulation. However, voluntary programs as a policy instrument are also critiqued. While there is a higher rate of adherence within voluntary programs there are less willing participants in some regions, either because the natives lack


30 knowledge of the program or have no desire or energy to bring the program to their region. Some to prevent more p. 4 ). Generally, voluntary programs serving as environmental policy instruments are very effective with those who prescribe to them. Unfortunately, due to their voluntary nature, not everyone follows them. Methods For five weeks during July and August 2011, I lived at EARTH University in Limon, Costa Rica, as well as traveled to various locations across the country. I began my research by interviewing my professo r and advisor at EARTH University Carlos Montoya. A s a foreigner it was necessary for me to view the perspective of a Costa Rican citizen in order to perform successful research. I desired to know what the local citizens wanted to learn about their enviro nmental policy and what aspects would be most effective for me to research and further analyze I in formally interviewed eight people in five locations and I made an effort to communicate with as many locals and visitors as possible I deliberately chose the candidates for interviews by searching for a range of perspectives on ecotourism and its interaction with environmental policy. I first interviewed three professors to gain the insight of an educator in Costa Rica. One EARTH faculty member, Manrique Arguedas, is also the manager of the Blue Flag program at EARTH. He taught me about the program and the benefits it can bring to a community. I interviewed one environmental lawyer Silvia Gamboa, to learn about the legal system and citizen adherence to po licy. Silvia also taught me that education is arguably the most important element to foster environmental concern. I interviewed one student at EARTH University to


31 view the perspective of a younger citizen who will be part of the next generation of workers farmers, and tax payers in the nation. The student, Kenneth Santos, comes from a family of farmers. I interviewed an employee at ECA, the Costa Rican Accreditation Agency in order to learn the benefits and costs associated with accreditation and certific ation for the government and companies T he accreditation provided by ECA is not completely focused on the environment, but on effective company policy and management in general. I interviewed an employee at the Rainforest Alliance in order to learn about ecological certification on an international level. I interviewed an operator at a hostel in Santa Teresa, a small beach town on the Pacific coast to view ecotourism in one specific region. Blue Flag is present in Santa Teresa and I wanted to observe the effect of the Blue Flag program on the citizens and ecotourism market, as well as the environment, in the community. The interview locations include cities on the northern Caribbean coast the southwestern Pacific coast and a city in an in terior region : S anta Teresa Beach, Montezuma, Jaco, San Jose, and Guacimo Questions for the inte rviews included but was not limited to, the following topics: ecotourism and its interaction with both locals and foreigners in the community ; the effect of ecotourism on the local environment ; adherence to environmental policy and the local knowledge and perception of environmental policy in the region ; relative success of environmental protection initiatives in the region; impact of ecotourism on local and national environmental initiatives; effect of education on environmental awareness and preservation efforts. The average total interview length w as app roximately 45 minutes per respondent. The data were assessed qualitatively and were analyzed comparative ly based on additional reading s personal observance and research on previous studies and theses.


32 Results Ecot ourism is a broad category of tourism that may be applied to many varying programs and tourist destinations. Ecotourism, as previously defined by Honey, is the definition utilized to measure the results for this project. Results of data collected via informal interviews are shown in Table 3 Topic Question 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Person Interviewed impact on environment? Interaction of locals with ecotourism adherence to environmental policy? Success of environmental protection in region? Education affects environmental preservation efforts? 1. Silvia Gamboa, Environmental Lawyer N/A Not many people are aware Very little adherence, no governmental enforcement Not much in San Jose Yes, definitely 2. Kenneth Santos, student Can be negative Only educated people understand implic ations Depends if one is educated Older populations need more education Yes 3. Manrique Arguedas, Manager of Blue Flag Can be positive if done right Positive Very little adherence Yes, success Yes 4. Edmundo Castro, Professor Can be negative Positive Little adherence, lack of education Yes, success Yes 5. Carlos Montoya, Professor Ecotourism is good, if proper implementation! Positive Little adherence, lack of education Yes, success Yes 6. ECA Costa Rica Accreditation Agency N/A N/A Little adherence Moderate success Yes 7. Esteban Eriksen, Rain Forest Alliance Can be positive if done right People must be made aware People adhere if they know policy Yes, success Yes 8. Hostel No opinion unconcerned Uneducated on policy Yes, success No opinion Table 3. Informal Interview Responses


34 Case Study: Ideal Adherence to the Blue Flag Program Some of the most active supporters of Blue Flag and its accompanying pillars can be found at EARTH University. EARTH University is a small, private university in the Northern Caribbean region of Costa Rica. The university boasts a large international stude nt population and a premier hands on education, specializing in agriculture and sustainable development. Manrique Arguedas began the Blue Flag program at EARTH, has helped educate the students and faculty and has promoted Blue Flag throughout the country. EARTH has gained four Blue Flags, with the first in 1994: non coastal, preserved forest, climate change mitigation, and carbon neutrality, in addition to the White Flag for human water consumption (Arguedas 2011 ). On the pristine campus of EARTH University the benefits of Blue Flag are apparent. For example, their activities for an entire day (Arguedas 2011 ). During the rest of the year as well, biking is popular, p artially due to the fact that few students own cars, but also because the students have been effectively educated on the hazards of vehicle emissions. Although EARTH is a perfect example of Blue Flag and its benefits on the community, not all areas of Cos ta Rica are Blue Flag certified as it is more prominent in certain regions. Also, not everyone in the nation is educated about the program or environmentally concerned. An environmental lawyer working in San Jose, Costa Rica portrays a slightly contrasting view from that of Arguedas towards the Blue Flag program. When asked if Blue Flag is an aid to 2011 ). In her eyes, the problem is that av 2011 ). This is especially pronounced in the cities, such as San Jose where there is a small rural population within a large urban population, lacking in a strong community atmosphere. (Envision New Yor


34 region with community centered towns like High Springs). When questioned about the impact of mor 2011 ). The next question surfaces: are more tourists and money promotes the Costa Rican economy and can support conservation activities, w hich is a positive for the local environment. In the contrasting view, increased tourist activity equates to more damage to the environment, and the increased money cannot ameliorate this damage entirely. And, the increased surplus of money requires proper management for it to be allocated to effectively aid in environmental preservation. For example, the current fuel tax in Costa Rica, overnment does not use al l of the fuel tax for the funds it is supposed to [be] allocate [d] to (Gamboa 2011 ) Therefore, the funds might run out for environmental programs 2011 ). More money does not al ways equate with positive environmental impacts. Even in light of criticism, it must be noted that the Blue Flag is still undoubtedly one of the best ecological certification programs of its kind in the world (Arguedas 2011 ). The program is growing and exp erts forecast that it has great environmental, economic and social potential for the future (Arguedas 2011 ). Case Study : Costa Rican Accreditation Entity ECA Entre Costarricense de Acreditacin ECA is a private certification agency with its headquarters located in San Jose, Costa Rica. ECA does not necessarily specialize in environmental protection and ecological certification, but the agency does work with many organizations and corporations that are concerned with environment al preservation (ECA 2011 ). ECA can be described as a third party, working between the government and independent


35 organizations. Certification provided by ECA is recognized b y the government and can allow for subsidies or monetary benefits for independent corporation s (ECA 2011 ). According to an practices a re literally the best practices that certain businesses or companies can follow to meet envi ronmental goals, even if they are unable to be perfectly in line with written policy 2011 hat can correspond to varying levels of policy adher ence depending on the respective organization. In many cases, the best practice may be more efficient, and more realistic, than strict adherence to a multitude of policies. Best practices can be used for water and waste management, factory operations systems, and pollution control, to list but a mere f ew. As of 2011, ECA ecological certifications are all voluntary and none are mandated necessary by the Costa Rican government (ECA 2011 ). 2011 ). This cert ification is also voluntary, but is quite different than current environmental certifications. According to an y or corporation (ECA 2011 may be considered less appealing to corporations unless they see monetary benefit from carbon neutrality in the future, says the ECA employee (ECA 2011 ). Appare 2011 ). In fact, oncern (ECA 2011 ). Environmental responsibility can correlate to sustainable planning for future generations which is something that all nations must consider.


36 environm she gave a mixed response. Environmental concern among Costa Ricans is often ery much image, with not enough action 2011 ). fforts are developing is easier such as economic and health care goals (ECA 2011 ). She agreed with Silvia Gamboa an environmental lawyer, on the concept of Blue Flag certifi cation an d stated that it is an effective certification program for those who utilize it (ECA 2011 ) environmental and economic benefits that can accompany Blue Flag certification. ECA portrays but one segment of Costa Rican agen cies that interact with the government in handling quality control for environmental preservation efforts. While the agency cannot guarantee perfection in environmental management, it demonstrates one initiative taken by corporations and the government ali ke towards environmental preservation. Case Study: Ecological Certification, The Rainforest Alliance headquarters loca ted in downtown San Jose (Eriksen 2011 ). Th is organization works within 2011 ). Hence, the alliance works with far mers and companies to promote products to individual consumers. The Rainforest Alliance is funded by multiple international companies including and Target, among others (Eriksen 2011 ).


37 Rainforest Alliance certified products are ph ysically identified by a green, circular label products include coffee, tea, flowers, fruits, and cocoa. The Rainforest Alliance also certifies individual far ms and forests. Companies must apply for their products to receive this label, and (Eriksen 2011 ) The Rainforest Alliance certification takes a local culture. The Rainforest Alliance works primarily with Central American countries and one culture as well as the environment in the region (Eriksen 2011 ) The Rainforest Alliance recognizes that foreign companies have a major force in these countries, and some are contributing negatively to the local established culture. The goal is not to bec (Eriksen 2011 ) based (Eriksen 2011 ) This ve rification can be considered as an ecotourism certification by tourists, although it is not yet technically recognized as such. The Rainforest Alliance has become involved with the tourism industry because tourism greatly impacts the economy and environmen t of Central American countries. Tourism is not merely (Eriks en 2011 ) Development and tourism often come to a country as a pair. marke 2011 ). Costa Rica promotes its tourism industry with the


38 p based tourism. Sustainable tourism is currently a desirable product and consumers are willing to pay more for interested in sustainable el or travel destination (Eriksen 2011 ). Therefore, a verification label for sustai nable tourism can be very helpful to tourists and businesses alike, and can assist tourist destinations in publicizing their product. The main goal of sustainab (Eriksen 2011 ) and other false forms of sustainable tourism. Case Study: Ecotourism in Costa Rica Santa Teresa Santa Teresa is a small beach town located o n the Nicoya Peninsula along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica Although there are many beautiful areas in Costa Rica that could generate awe, this is a particularly picturesque coastline. Perhaps because Santa Teresa is small enough to be considered a village and has on ly recently attracted notable tourist numbers the beaches are white and many are completely lacking in human depressions ("Don Jon's" 2011 ) The main 2011 ). Santa Teresa is rather new on the tourist map and is not completely overrun with tourists, although all signs and restaurant menus are displayed in English as well as Spanish. Due to this, there are a smaller number of lodging options as compar ed to more popular tourist destinations, such as Playa Hermosa.


39 of self enclosed accommodations. The website states the choice of cabins, apartments, and hostels, ranging in price from 17 USD per night for a hostel to 90 USD per night for a private apartment 2011 ). is promoted catering to the visiting surfers and those who wish to live like Costa Ricans, or at least think that 2011 ). 2011 ). Note that all prices are listed in Amer ican dollars rather than Costa Rica colones. Costa Ricans, In contrast lodging or in either its physical signs on location or on the website. However, the underlying environmentally conscious attitude is emphasized. Don 2011 ). Ecotourism comes into play here because the attractions in Santa Teresa are all related to the surrounding environment: the beach, coast, and the surround ing jungle. 2011 ). Throughout the area, many restaurants and lodgings urge 2011 ). The white sand implies an untouched beauty, free from human destruction; this is very true in Santa Teresa. Santa Teresa not only self proclaims its cleanliness, but is approved by the national government and multiple other organizations through it s Bandera Azul (Blue Flag) a ward. The


40 Blue Flag is an ecological certification program 2012 ). This certificati on not only verifies the cleanliness of the beaches, but certifies the surrounding community regarding the water quality, involvement of the locals in environmental protection, waste management, and sa nitation of 2012 ). The Blue Flag award is a point of pride for many Costa Rican beach communities and has been awarded to Santa Teresa multiple years in a row. Ecotourism is present here benefits the local community, almost solely. Following the community beneficiary pillar in TIES definition of ecotourism, one source states that by their owners, giving you the chance to have the real feeling f rom locals 2012 ). In addition, Santa Teresa free from condos and big co which promotes the beneficiary of the local community A be catering to this tourist category in Santa Teresa steps taken to protect the environment through the Blue Flag award, and do they support ecotourism? Upon questioning on this topic, the local operator merely shrugs. He states that the environmental protections. As long as it does not intrude on his surfing, he remains neutral on the topic. Perhaps this is an example of a Costa Rican who merely wants to enjoy the simple pleasures in lif e, or perhaps he is not thoroughly educated on the topic. Either way, he appears largely unconcerned with future outlying impacts.


41 Education through Ecotourism: An Environmental Policy Instrument? Silvia Gamboa, an environmental l awyer in Costa Rica, regularly interacts with government agencies and policies while working with her diverse clientele Upon questioning about the impact of government poli cy on environmental consciousness in t he nation Silvia states that it is not necessarily the government but e ducation [that] causes the most impact! (Gamboa 2011 ). Education works most effectively when aimed at the younger population. ld er people have not been 2011 ounger people, in schools, have learned things s uch as recycling, washing hands; simple things 2011 ). personnel (Gamboa 2011 ). This statement has been supported by multiple researchers and seems to be a common reoccurring problem in Central America (River a 2002). If education is ultimately necessa ry to promote efficient and sustainable environmental protection, d oes ecotourism have an e ffect on education, and therefore an effect on environmental polic y ? Education is critical to all aspects of environmental management, according to Professor Edmundo Castro (Castro 2011 ). This includes techniques for sustainable farm management, forestry knowledge for lan d management, and simple action plans in order to live sustainably through recycling and other low impact activities. Edmundo, a professor at EARTH U niversity, assists in recycling efforts among other environmental initiatives, and attests that EARTH students and faculty live in a sust ainable manner and do have a low impact on the environment (Castro 2011 ). Low impact refers to the human induced damage to the environment. While it is almost impossible to inflict no damage, due to our modern human needs, low impact is ideal.


42 The lifestyle of the students at EARTH University is primarily due to their education, which contributes to their genuine environm ental concern, states Professor Castro (Castro 2011 ) Many of these students pursue careers in agricultural fields, so to them the heal th of the environment may be directly related to their future well being. Environmental concern is not merely due to econ omic incentives for these hopeful farmers however The earliest 2011 ). Indians absolutely depended on the surrounding environme nt for their daily survival, food and shelter, and the Indians harbored a respect for Mother Earth through this dependent relationship. This bond to the local environment has been passed down within families for generations, although it is often lost in mo dern culture, especially for those families living in cities covered in buildings and concrete In order to reinforce environmental concern in the country today, Costa Ricans and visitors alike must gain a mutual respect for the environment. Here is where education must come into play, says Castro (Castro 2011 ). Costa Rica as a nation has made a serious commitment to education which was first demonstrated almost 50 to the education system (Castro 2011 ). Now Costa Rica boasts the highest literacy rate in Central America and the national government continues to promote several educational initiatives each year (Honey 2008). Most recently, in spring 2011, government of ficials in San Jose promoted an environmental and cleanliness education program aimed at elementary aged children (Gamboa 2011 ). Silvia Gamboa recalls her young daughter learning to wash her hands without wasting water and to recycle and reuse all food con tainers (Gamboa 2011 ). Gamboa firmly believes that


43 environmental education must begin at young age, but even the older generations must be educated in order to enact true environmental preservation across the country. Kenneth Santos, a student at EARTH Un iversity, grew up in a rural area in Costa Rica, not far from Guacimo, Limon. Kenneth has wor ked on farms to some degree since a young age, and he has interacted with many older farmers in the region (Santos 2011 ). He states that these farmers use outdated or inefficient methods and are generally unwilling to listen to information no reason to change (Santos 2011 ). Often, these traditiona l methods of farming are unsustainable, destroying the soil within a few harvests and was ting huge amounts of water. Water conservation is especially important in the drier climates in northern Costa Rica, such as that in Limon. One reason for older farmers to modify their method s: if they view modification as a way to gain more profit (Santos 2011 ). According to Santos and oth ers at EARTH University, improved farming methods that take environmental considerations into account usually do gene rate increased profit for the farmer (Santos 2011 ). Unfortunately, it is difficult for small, rural farmers to compete with larger, foreign corporations within Costa Rica, such as Dole or Chiquita so farmers lose hope in ever gaining a substantially higher income (Sant os 2011 ) Even EARTH University has business with foreign companies: EARTH supplies Whole Foods supermarkets with many of its organic grown bananas. This portrays the domination of foreign forces within the agricultural economy in Costa Rica, which is perh aps a problem within itself. However, there can be profit for sustainable farming even with the influx of foreign corporations. A gro eco family while educating the visiting tourist on e nvironmentally oriented farming practices (Wearing and Neil 1999).


44 to become more familiar with the local culture. Cultural immersion is an important aspect of ecotourism and the tour In addition, agro ecotourism promotes a healthy environment because a group of agro ecotourist farmers will grow integrated crops separated out between different farmers (Montoya 2011 ). Growing a variety of crops reduces soil destruction, while crop rotation allows the soil to recharge for future crops. Practicing these techniques leads to a more sustainable farm. But, these techniques also require education and cooperation among nearby farmers. Ecotourism can serve work. A central pillar within the definition of ecotourism is education. This leads back to the original question: does ecot ourism encourage education which in turn can promote environmental conservation ? As demonstrated by the previous example, m any agree that yes, ecotourism does promote environmental education with varying degrees of succ ess (Castro Gamboa Montoya 2011 ). The presence of ecotourism in a particular community often determines the level of education in the region. This may be partly attributed to the fact that successful ecotourism which in turn provides a profit for the community, is dependent on a pristine environment. For example, in San Jose ecotourism is less prominent due to the city environment, so the general population is less concerned with ecotourism and is somewhat less educated on local environmental preservat ion Whereas, in Santa Teresa, the Blue Flag program promotes ecotourism in the small communit y and a higher proportion of citizens are aware of, and often support, the environmental initiatives.


45 Policy Instruments for the Future Is it possible for the Costa Rica n government to utilize ecotourism as an environmental policy instrument ? And if it is possible, how can this goal be attained? Environmental policy is defined and measured here primarily by efficient and sustainable management of natural resour ces. Several experts, including professors and lawyers, state that it is possible and desirable to use ecotourism as an environmental policy tool (Gamboa, Arguedas 2011 ) If citizens become passionate about caring for the environment through education and experience, mandatory environmental policies could become unnecessary. First, information must be made available to the public. With the example of the Blue Flag program the concept of the certification may be well known nationally but the accompanying environmental standards are not public knowledge In the communities that do have the certification, knowledge on environmental preservation in that area is more wide spre ad, but even in those communities, sometimes only the initiators of the Blue Flag program know about its standards in detail (Gamboa 2011 ). For every person that demonstrates genuine environmental concern, there is another person who simply does not care ( Gamboa 2011 ). Even with this reality, the voluntary nature of ecotourism and ecological certification programs makes them more desirable than governmen t mandated initiatives and laws. This is because voluntary programs are cheaper to enforce, require fewer government funded resources, and have a higher rate of compliance among those who adhere. Within voluntary programs, self policing reigns. In addition to proliferation of information about ecotourism, the government must give an incentive to rally the C osta Rican population towards environmental preservation. M any citizens and visitors alike do truly care for the inherent value of the environment, so it may not be necessary to provide a financial or material istic incentive. For example, a clear end result or goal


46 could serve as a motivational factor to increase env ironmental awareness and action to positively impact the environment. If citizens feel as though they are proactively making a difference and assisting a specific cause, they will be m ore likely to take part (Castro 2011 ). Currently Costa Rica has a goal to become a carbon neutral country by 2021 (ECA 2011 ) This is a goal with specific actions and steps to be taken within multiple levels of society including cor porations, government a gencies, schools, households and citizens. If Costa Rica becomes carbon neutral by 2021, it will be the first country in the world to have attained this. Perhaps the personal and national pride accompanying this success is an incentive to many who are help ing the cause. If the government, MINAE in particular, were to set other short term and long term goals with clearly defined actions to be taken, more citizens would become involved, thus increasing environmental awareness and potentially aiding environmen tal preservation for the future. Implications The major result is that education is necessary for ecotourism to serve as an efficient environmental policy tool. This education must start at a young age, most preferably in elementary school so that young children can begin the education process with this idea in their spread early education in schools T he national government has already worked to emphasize education since the eradication of the army with the diversion of the military funds to the education system. In addition, in order to educate older populations, the national or local government must promote hands on education that is localized and tailored to the environment in each specific region For example, older farmers must be shown sustainable farming techniques and must be educated on the concept of agroecotourism if it is desirable to bring the market to their community.


47 Further implications include the extent that Costa Ricans embrace ecotourism and its principles in their community. In order to be a truly effective environmental policy instrument, the principles of ecotourism must be adhered to and the policy must be sus tainable so as to be utilized by future generations. Ultimately, incoming tourists, and ecotourists, must minimize their impact on the environment in order to conserve. This can be done through proper management of ecotourism sites and by making education and literature on the topic readily available to incoming tourists. Conclusion Do environmental policies truly matter to the Costa Rican people without economic incentive, and are these policies enforced completely without the influence of the ecotourism industry? Do Costa Ricans respect the environment for its inherent or instrumental value? Although I did not find one concise answer to any of these questions, I did learn varying perspectives on social interaction with ecotourism and environmen tal policy. I lived in Limon, Costa Rica for five weeks during the summer of 2011 and traveled to multiple cities in several areas of the country. environmental policy. I have examined wr itten policy and have looked at the administrative interaction with environmental policy. Data were collected from public sources and multiple personal inte rviews in the country After thorough research and analysis, the key finding is that education is n ecessary to promote the most successful adherence to environmental policy. This is in line with the 2002 value of to work efficiently (Highham 2001,


48 p. 11). Ecotourism can potentially serve as an environmental policy instrument when managed and adhered to effectively. Ecotourism often proved to be more effective than written environmental laws because ecotourism has the potential to bring in much profit for those participating in this market. Also, ecotourism is an effective policy instrument because it is a voluntary instrument in contrast to mandatory practices. Coerced compliance to policy, such as paying or subsid izing a company to adhere to environmental policy, is unsustainable because it does not address the general problem that leads to environmental destruction: lack of environmental concern. In addition, it is not financially efficient to pay citizens or companies to adhere to policy because this money could be used for other purposes, such as creation of national parks, and the money will eventually run out. I discovered that, in general, Costa Rican citizens living in more rural regions, especially those cities in protected environment regions, have a higher concern for the environment and are more apt to take part in environmental conservation efforts. Those citizens living in more urban, populous cities have a lesser concern for the environment. This ma y perhaps be due to the environment the respective citizens live in. Those citizens living in rural regions often live in jungles or near exotic beaches. Citizens living in urban regions, San Jose for example, live surrounded by concrete and industry and m ay be more oblivious to the environment of their nation on a daily basis. Costa Rica is an environmentally diverse nation with ecosystems ranging from dry mountains to humid jungles to war m beaches to active volcanoes. A t is difficult to categorize the co untry as a single environmental entity with one set of environmental policies and corresponding enforcement agencies. Therefore a system must be created to efficiently manage the varying environmental regions in the country. Due to the growth, prominence, and


49 environmental concern associated with ecotourism, this market may be used as a tool for environmental management and could perhaps become the most successful tool However, ecotourism must be managed properly. T he ecotourism administrative body is fou nd to be most efficient when following a localized, as opposed to national, approach. In addition, local communities and citizens must be directly involved in the ecotourism planning and administration in order for the initiatives to follow true ecotourism as defined by the International Ecotourism Society. Communities should benefit economically while also learning to properly preserve their native environment in an ideal ecotourism scheme. Future Research Ecotourism, and the literature surrounding the industry, is still growing and there is much that can be researched further in order to present a more comprehensive research base. In particular, more quantitative data and measurements are needed to provide concrete figures primarily for economics analysis. There is very little quantitative data addressing ecotourism industry growth in Costa Rica and its direct financial impact on the local citizens and communities. In the future, I would like to research thi s and record numerical data. I would like to visit more destinations and interview more citizens and government agencies pattern towards ecotourism. Analysis of this wo uld provide a direction to tailor education for those visiting Costa Rica in order to be most successful. I would like to research the differences and similarities in environmental attitudes among native born Costa Ricans and those who move to Costa Rica, such as Europeans and Americans.


50 There is not a dearth of literature on ecotourism, especially ecotourism in Costa Rica. The literature mainly analyzes case studies of specific regions in Costa Rica and neglects a broad view approach. In addition, it i s often difficult to track and research ecotourism due to the difficulties in definition. There is no single, globally recognized definition of the term ecotourism. In the future, a standardized definition is necessary in order to level the playing field a nd allow for comparative analysis. Most importantly, in the future I would like to determine and test exactly what is the most effective combination of environmental policy for Costa Rica, and then attempt to apply this in the United States. Based on my r esearch thus far, I prematurely believe that government funded programs managed and enforced by local administrative bodies are the most efficient environmental policy instruments. The Blue Flag program is an example of this. However, there must be a middl e man in place to ensure that the government money is being used properly and not abused or wasted. Also, the entire community must take part in the management of an environmental program in order for it to work most effectively. This may require an outsid e over seer who does not have an emotional interest in the community. Stakeholder interests must be limited, as well. I hope to one day create a theoretical law model.


51 Acknowledgements University Scholars Program, University of Florida Damian Adams Ph. D., School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida Lonn Lanza Kaduce, Ph. D., Department of Sociology and Criminology & Law College of Liberal Arts and Sciences University of Florida Lora Levett, Ph .D., Departmen t of Sociology and Criminology & Law College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Florida Silvia Gamboa, Environmental Lawyer, San Jose, Costa Rica Manrique Arguedas, Blue Flag program manager, EARTH University Carlos Montoya, Professor, EARTH University Edmundo Castro, Professor, EARTH University Kenneth Santos, Student, EARTH University Entidad Costarricense de Acreditacin ( ECA) (Costa Rican Accreditation Entity) Ryan Brust, Translator, University of Florida


52 Personal Background My first journey to Costa Rica was in March 2010 during which time I worked on coffee farms through a volunteer spring break trip with Florida Alternative Breaks (FAB). During this first experience, I fell in love with the lu sh, green country and was in fascinated by its wildlife This positive fee ling towards the country Americans, based upon what I saw and heard and through the research I have now conducted I knew that I wanted to return oast as soon as I was back in the states, and began slowly planning how I would go about that mission and what I could learn in the process. I returned during the summer of 2011 for five weeks from July to August and conducted research for m y senior thesis I studied at EARTH University in Guacimo, in the province of Limon near the northern Caribbean coast. My feeling was the same upon arrival in the country as in 2010 : I just wanted to be outdoors, relishing the beautiful environment especi ally near my university located in a sub tropical rainforest climate. Hailing from Florida, I was accustomed to the humidity and genuine ly enjoyed the cold showers and lack of air conditi oning. I traveled to the Puerto Viejo beach on the Caribbean coast du ring my first weekend at EARTH University, an d continued to fall in love with every aspect of the country. But had not seen it all. I think it was in the 3rd week of my stay in Costa Rica that I noticed the magic began to fade, ever so slightly. I traveled to the Pacific coast and spent some time in 3 beach towns: Jaco Beach, Montezuma, and Santa Teresa. As I bussed from one spot to the next, the beaches became more beautiful, and the towns became more rural and less overwhelmed by tourists. From the store signs in English and the people approaching me with trinkets they hoped I would buy, I realized that with my blonde hair, I will always be a tourist in Costa Rica. Of course I am an


53 American, and although a student, still a tou rist. I began to see that no matter what part of the country I visited, whether the capital, the farming region, the beaches, or the rainforest, Costa Rica wanted m y money. The only place in which I felt like I could go about my daily routine and explore a s I wished without being hassled to make purchases was EARTH U niversity. environmentalism in Costa Rica genuine? Costa Rica is a beautiful country with wonderful and comprehensive e nvironmen tal policies, but those most often put into practice are those that benefit tourism. Tourism is the bread and butter of Costa Rica. It must be noted, however, that this statement is very much generalized and does not apply to all policies in all s ituations. Many Costa Ricans show an awe invoking care for the environment, regardless of the money they will earn from it. But in my experience, I learned that Costa Ricans, like the rest of the world, want to make their dollar. Fortunately for the Costa Rican environment, profit can often be generated through careful application of sustainab le and conservationist policies, especially in the ecotourism market. Through my research and time living in Costa Rica, I learned that environmentalism in Costa Rica is genuine among some people, including multiple policy and know nothing of policies or environmental programs. The difference in concern varies from region to region; I learned that environmental concern is more pronounced in rural regions and less emphasized in cities, including San Jose. In addition, I learned that the presence of environmental programs, such as the Blue Flag program, was much more obvious in rural areas and was virtually obsolete in city regions. A thought provoking question throughout m y research is summed up by the following


54 Costa Rica were not a ma jor eco This is exactly what I began to wonder as I spent more time in the country and interacted with more natives and non natives alike. If Costa Rica were not a major tourist destination, would the beaches be kept pristine, free of trash and crawling with wildlife? Without tourism, would the volcano regions be labeled National Parks? Would the thousands of miles of lush rainforest still be thriving with monkeys and jaguars without the tourist attractions and dollars? Yes, the countr y is beautiful. But is this beauty appreciated for its inherent value or for the instrumental value it has brought to the people of Costa Rica? The answer to these questions depends on whom you ask. My professor, Edmundo Castro, would probably say that Cos ta Ricans do appreciate the inherent value of the environment. In contrast, Kenneth, a fellow student at EARTH University admits that many people care more about gaining money that preserving the local environment. While there is no perfect answer to these questions, in my research over the past 9 months, I hoped to have delved deeper than the average American tourist.


55 Appendix Figure 2. Detailed map of Costa Rica Source: rica map.gif


56 Figure 3. Housing complex in San Jose, Costa Rica Figure 4. Santa Teresa Beach, Costa Rica


57 Figure 5. Montezuma, Costa Rica Figure 6. Government Building in San Jose, Costa Rica


58 Figure 7. Blue Flag in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica


59 Figure 8. Blue Flag Signage in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica Appendix B. Meeting with Manrique Arguedas, manager of Blue Flag program and faculty member at EARTH University July 11, 2011 Costa Rica is the only country that has certification for other communities besides beaches. In the rest of the world only beaches certification Blue Flag nationally, in Costa Rica o Run by the government, not NGOs o The governing body of the Blue Flag Program is a Board BF Board is made up of 8 di fferent government institutions, with each having a representative on the board o At EARTH, Blue Flag started with waste management o Blue Flag started in 2004 at EARTH, 7 years ago o Began with non o Originally the purpose of BF at EARTH was to gather, chart, and record everything that was happening at EARTH systematically o Now EARTH has its own clean water supply o At EARTH, 4 Blue Flag certific ations (4 Blue Flags):


60 1. Non coastal 2004 2. Preserved Forest 3. Climate Change Mitigation 4. Carbon neutrality 2010 Now also there is a White Flag: given for water for human consumption water is very safe and clean at EARTH The impact of the Blue Flag certifications are obvious and notorious, throughout the whole country certification The most important thing about Blue Flag is that it MUST be renewed annually, every year o Must be renewed through the BF board. Apply for renewal In Costa Rica as a country: Blue Flag began first coastal communities, then non coastal, then ed ucation communities 1. Beaches 2. Non coastal 3. Educational communities 4. Private forest reserve or natural protected areas 5. Watershed/ basin areas 6. Climate change mitigation --for communities and companies (companies are meant to lead communities) 7. Neutral Climate Co mmunities ***This one comes after all others sometimes can be gained without beaches or watershed if those certifications are waived due to local environment New certification: Public Health Certification o No one is certified yet, too new. But has been ap proved by the government/ board Costa Rica Blue Flags: o Coastal Areas In 2003, only 28 communities were BF certified In 2010, 96 certified o Non coastal and all others In 2003, only 8 communities were BF certified In 2010, more than 100 o Total all types of certification In 2003, 56 communities were BF certified In 2010, 107 There are different initiatives to protect the environment in CR, besides BF o Another certification: Certification in Touristic Sustainability for hotels, restaurants (businesses only) o Ma naged by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism Payments for Environmental Services (PES): o Interesting program intended to pay for environmental services to farmers. Costa Rican government is paying local farmers o 1 st country in the world to pay for its own c services from its citizens Volunteer market PES is not for reforesting, but for preservation (could this lead to money problems what do farmers do with the land and how to they gain money?) Must renew contract for payment every year for up to 5 years of payment


61 This is NOT connected to BF certification The CR government will have benefits internationally because it has done this PES program, though E nvironmental Policy is a LARGE topic in CR o 3 rd best environmental legislation in the world o Broad and comprehensive o The problem is not having the law, but how to apply the law and motivate the citizens to follow law Questions Is there money involved in the certification process? Do areas benefit economically by certification? o No money cost involved certification is free! o Benefits: acquire credibility to attract tourists, investors. Then you can apply for other benefits form government, etc Does BF lead to sustainable government policy? Or does government policy lead to BF? o The policy has been there for a long time. BF empowers communities to apply policy and pushes other policies. The government facilitates these policies Is there a link/ connection betw een PES and BF? o No o PES was created partially in an effort to raise funds for certifications, in general Source: Russo and Candela article, PDF on Kindle Is poverty affected by BF certification? o Manrique says yes. Poverty is positively affected/ declines. BF improves the quality of like to the extent that you have better water. The regions are improved. People learn and start living better, so BF does make a difference. BF might promote business o Poverty often is directly related to education, in general. BF provides education. o This is always a challenge though, especially in rural regions o BF promotes a shift in culture. Huge challenge --poverty is not just money related. There can be lots of money in impoverished communities Are the different types of certi fications international, or just in Costa Rica? o Just in Costa Rica. All other countries only have beaches certification. Is BF successful in promoting sustainable tourism? o o the BF board that was the purpose for the beaches certification, to promote sustainable tourism. However, tourists themselves may pollute. How is BF implemented? o In CR, people that are certified are asked to promote the program to other communities. When one community can show the other communities the benefits of certification, the others will follow. o Usually a community, company, or institute will mentor, under the supervision of the BF Board o The board works with money of Institute and hires people who are employees of all separate institutes. There is no separate, specific BF organization that governs it is made up of different organizations. All are commissioners form government agencies o At EARTH there is a BF committee. In each Blue Flag certifi ed area at EARTH, there is a representational officer. May be teacher or librarian most of the time, then spend part of their time on BF o There is also a budget to support BF


62 Appendix C. Meeting with Edmundo Castro Professor at EARTH University July 13, 2011 Topics to research: What is an environmental policy? Perverse economic policy instruments Read about environmental services in Latin America Look at landscape and impact from forest clearing, PES, etc After 1950s --Latin America needed to produce meat. Land was cleared from Mexico to Brazil, in all of Latin America. This reduced biodiversity, caused soil erosion and soil compaction o Use of pesticides o All done to gain economic value without considering economic and future cost In 1970s --environment al topic became more important! Environmental health relates to the health of the community After 1992: Meeting in Rio --much environmental concern in the world. Needed to manage economic interests. o PES has been a success in CR according to Prof. Castro 1997: Biodiversity Law --Environmental services o Water, carbon fixation, aesthetic value, biodiversity Social Impact of PES o If there is not a positive impact due to PES in the community, then PES is not working o PES is just a subsidy when it does not have a value to the community Appendix D. Meeting with Carlos Montoya Professor at EARTH University July 7, 2011 Ecotourism: Ecotourism in CR was organized and planned by an American Ecological Blue Flag Certification: Born in Spain Tourist beaches certifies that they are safe in ecological terms: drinkable water, clean waste, etc Adopted in Europe, central and South America, Africa, etc. NOT in USA Originally it was created so the government did not take the initiative; was started In CR, government did take initiative water management district Also started different certification chapters forests, educational, etc The Blue Flag certification is for the community, NOT the environment or region o As you certify a community, e ducation is more important than policy. Educate before you lay down laws o Must stimulate the community. Often, do not even need to enforce the laws; coercion is unnecessary If a region becomes Blue Flag certified it is added to the National tourist map it will hopefully attract tourists! This is definitely an incentive for regions/ communities to acquire Blue Flag certification


63 Educational institutions became interested in Blue Flag certification now there is a separate certification o There are different levels, also from 1 5 stars o Nowadays, everyone wants certification! If a country uses an NGO to initiate certification, it goes beyond state initiative. Federal government may also have this prominence of influence o The best advantage of using government t o pursue Blue Flag is that they can enforce the law. Also, the government has money o Government will wave taxes and give you permission to sell environmental services. Can take advantage of this in a community applying for Blue Flag o Local and state governme nts may not have as much widespread influence Once you get the certification, you must report every year to renew the certification Usually, the community makes commitments and must follow them to keep certification. Often, the commitments are National Law but not always. It is not required that the commitments relate specifically to the law o Some relate to waste management process o certification In CR, Blue Flag is supporte d by the Institute of Tourism o There is a public and a private Institute of Tourism Originally, Blue Flag was for marketing tourist beach communities o pride, community Questions and further research: e Flag? Do we have something else? o Blue Flag shows leadership of CR government in taking care of the environment for future generations. o Are there regulations on and around USA beaches? Building, sanitation, etc? What is the negative of using government to initiate Blue Flag over NGO? Appendix E. Meeting with Silvia Gamboa Environmental Lawyer, San Jose, CR July 21, 2011 o Silvia is Costa Rican grew up and has always lived right outside of the city of San Jose o Silvia went to law school and then went to receive her masters in environmental law. No undergraduate university require d just law school (which is a type of university here). o Silvia is used to run track and field, and still competes occasionally with her husband in races i n California, etc o Silvia is married with 1 small daughter o o There are too many policies. Too many policies to enforce, and CR does not have the resources to enforce them. CR needs to hire specialized workers, but no one wants to work for the government. o Yes, they are helpful now. o Ma ybe not sustainable --not long term sustainable


64 o o Government does not use all of the fuel tax for the funds it is supposed to allocate to. This is a bad thing the fuel tax is supposed to support PES. Therefore, the funds might run out for environmental programs o Blue Flag information. For tourism activities it does bring in more tourists and money. o Environmental programs do not help all the poor. But it does help those that are organized. These people that are helped by the programs can become more sustainable in their practices. The conse rvation programs only work when the community gains money. o Education causes the most impact! Older people have not been changed change o Younger people, in schools, have learned things such as recycling, washing hands simple things o Mostly interact with agencies that giver permits. There are SO many agencies for every activity imaginable. o Help clients understand how to comply with practices Example EARTH: helped EARTH comply with policies, write reports, negotiate with authorities General notes: o e resources to enforce, not enough people o In CR, there is a lot required by the government to enforce these policies. Which is the opposite of most countries. Usually the companies in countries must show the government they are following policies. o With com panies if one company buys another, if the new company does not comply with policies then they could shut down


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