Piloting Tourism Sustainability Standards
Sustainable tourism is one of the four focus sectors of the eco.business Fund, but, in contrast to the other three, it has received limited attention in the past. This started to change in 2020 with a market study on sustainable tourism standards initiated by the Development Facility, followed by the development of a Green List. The Green List is now composed of six investment items related to water and energy efficiency, circular economy and protection of cultural and natural heritage. This was followed by an in-depth analysis of existing certification programs with the support of a consultancy firm, to identify relevant sustainable tourism certification programs and examine their alignment with the eco.business Fund’s eligibility criteria, impact, and mission. As a result of this study, three additional sustainability standards were approved, namely Costa Rican Sustainable Tourism Elite Program, EarthCheck, and Green Globe.
As part of the COVID-19 response project, the Development Facility sponsored the creation of a Tourism Toolkit for the clients of Banco Promerica in the sector. It is composed of 25 strategies designed by tourism experts to guide the bank’s clients in sustainably recovering from the effects of the crisis. As a follow up to this project, the Development Facility has successfully implemented a pilot project together with Promerica that tested these strategies to pave the way towards a more sustainable and resilient tourism in the LAC region. With two end-borrowers, the adoption of the Green List investment items introduced above, as well as the adoption of the Costa Rican Sustainable Tourism Elite Program, and the implementation of the “COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Toolkit” have been tested. The DF gained valuable first-hand experience in the tourism sector. Banco Promerica Costa Rica has built capacities and strengthened their offer to finance the adoption of sustainable measures in the tourism sector. The hotels made progress in complying with at least 80% of the CST principles and criteria. These included the development of a sustainability, biodiversity and climate change strategies and action plans, the identification of environmental and social risks and stakeholders' engagement strategy definition.