Sustainable Tourism In Latin America

cuba 159Tourism in Latin America was the focus of a seminar held today, hosted by Branding Latin America at The Savoy Hotel in London. Travel companies, airlines, embassies and the media attended the annual event that aims to update the industry on developments in tourism throughout Latin America. 

As experts in sustainable tourism, we were invited along to contribute to the event. Mercedes Tallo, our director of sustainable value chains delivered a well-received presentation on how tour operators can support sustainability…  

Tourism, one of the world’s largest industries, employs more than 235 million people worldwide and generates some 9.2 percent of the global GDP. However, its impacts, including pollution, deforestation, inefficient energy use and cultural exploitation have led some to suggest that individuals should stop travelling altogether, but we don’t believe that’s a sustainable solution.

Tourism is an important source of income for many communities located in extremely bio-diverse and fragile areas. Individuals that once turned to poaching or clear-cutting to support themselves have realised that they can earn a better living by conserving their natural surroundings and promoting their homes as sustainable tourism destinations.

But, what is sustainable tourism? Sustainable tourism addresses a wide range of issues — including economic viability, socio-cultural sensitivity and environmental conservation. It actively aims to reduce the travel industry’s negative impacts on the environment and local communities, and its principles can be applied to large or small travel destinations of all types. While sustainable tourism can include urban centres and other culturally significant locations, ecotourism is a type of sustainable tourism that focuses specifically on rural and wilderness areas. On its own, nature tourism provides very little specific information. Generally, it is applied to rural and wilderness destinations, but it does not necessarily offer travellers any guarantee of environmental or social responsibility.

Tourism - Costa Rica Rio Celeste

The Rainforest Alliance offers training to tourism businesses — including hotels and lodges — that provides them with the tools and techniques they need to run efficiently and sustainably. Businesses that have completed our program earn the right to use the Rainforest Alliance Verified™ mark on promotional materials.

Through and other tools, we also provide travellers, tour operators, and travel agents with a comprehensive listing of destinations that are not only beautiful, but also benefit communities, flora and fauna.

The community of tour operators working with us is called TOPS: Tour Operators Promoting Sustainability. These tour operators are:

  • Improving their performance in sustainability
  • Improving the sustainability of their supply chains
  • Working together to address challenges in destinations
  • Encouraging travellers to visit sustainable destinations.

Outbound tour operators that join the TOPS community are also key in helping educate travellers and making sure more and more travellers visit sustainable destinations in Latin America.

Tourism 6

For more information about the Rainforest Alliance’s tourism program, visithttp://www.rainforest-alliance/tourism.


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 Date / Fecha: 4/06/13

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