SUSTAINABLE TOURISM Our commitment to nature and caring for the planet’s limited resources starts in a small but beautiful country named Costa Rica. Throughout our history, Costa Ricans have made key decisions to sustain a high standard of life for our people. Costa Rica created a new constitution in 1949 and the most significant factor in it was the abolishment of the national army which opened financial support and allowed more attention to invest in social programs, such as education and health. Our health care system was built on solidarity and equality principles, meaning that 100% of the population is given equal comprehensive public health insurance with equal access to services. In 1945 Costa Rica declared Los Robledales our first National Park, located south of the province of Cartago along the Interamerican highway. The Costa Rican Tourism Board was formed in 1955 and around the same time a law established Volcan Turrialba and Volcán Irazú National Parks. In 1963 we started to organize our National Parks Department and from then on, we have created a large number of national parks, biological reserves, forest reserves, protected sanctuaries, wildlife refuges and one archaeological national monument. Costa Rica officially established its Biodiversity Law in 1998, opening the space to the creation of our current National System of Conservation Areas, (SINAC). During the last decade, governments along with the private sector impulse conservation of protected natural areas such as wet lands, mixed and
private wildlife refuges as well as the establishment of a large quantity of private reserves for conservation and ecotourism purposes. Approximately a quarter of our territory belongs to a protected area and experts have estimated that Costa Rica has 5% of the world’s biodiversity. We are grateful and proud that our governments have historically supported conservation initiatives proposed by distinguished citizens since 1945 when the first national park was established. Biodiversity has always been the main ingredient in Costa Rica’s tourism industry. As a tour operator, Vestours promotes the conservation of our natural resources since the are main ingredient for the development of our tourism. Thanks to our biodiversity, we can offer a wide variety of activities that our visitors can experience in a handful of places on Earth. Our protected areas have been the object of admiration, and have always enhanced the experience that our sales team design for our visitors. The tourism industry represents the main income for many families and the numbers keep growing every year, therefore our engagement with sustainable tourism starts here, with and for our people. We invite you to join us in this incredible journey, to learn with us how we can better protect our environment and to continue the legacy of those visionaries who decided to protect this small piece of paradise more than 50 years ago.