A Playa Grande hotel owner is being featured on a YouTube channel as an example of successful ecotourism.
He is Louis Wilson, who operates the Hotel Las Tortugas. The Florida native came to Costa Rica 40 years ago as a surfer.
The show is available on the Reserve Channel, which seems to be a cross between Public Broadcasting and travel programming.
The hostess of the expat segment of the channel is Savannah Jane Buffett, who with Wilson spends 24 minutes exploring the hotel, the dry tropical forest and the mangroves at the Pacific coast location.
Wilson, his wife, Carrie Bruggerman, and Ms. Buffett also highlighted an effective way for Costa Rica tourism businesses to promote themselves online. Unlike some of the YouTube clips from Costa Rica, the Reserve channel show is professionally produced. A lot of purported promotional material from Costa Rica appears to have been taped in someone’s garage.
Wilson is featured correctly as one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Parque Nacional Marino las Baulas adjacent to his hotel. The beach is a major leatherback turtle nesting ground, but Wilson told Ms. Buffett that turtle arrivals are much lower now because the ocean is threatened.
The expat segment on the Reserve Channelshares billing with cooking, talk shows, health programs and even one on photography. The most recent photo program featured, among others, ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Another expat show features a man restoring buildings in the center of Panamá. All are fairly lengthy treatment of the subject. Ms. Buffett went on a boat ride with Wilson to explore the wild areas, and he had plenty of time on camera describing his life and the construction of the hotel.
The reserve channel is a creation of Uncommon Content, which said it is creating and distributing seven original series for the Reserve Channel as part of YouTube’s Original/Premium Programming initiative. The initiative is a Google $100 million effort to get original content on YouTube.
YouTube rapidly is becoming major competition for traditional television. The videos and video channels feature subscribe buttons so that users can receive information by email and also be notified when a new segment is added.
So far, the Playa Grande segment with Wilson has had just 2,500 viewers, but it has been up just since Thursday. Some YouTube videos see hundreds of millions of viewers. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo has its own video channel on YouTube, now featuring the talking sloth from its $6.5 million 2011 campaign. The channel is not well publicized, however, and many of the videos have been up for a year or more but have fewer viewers than the expat sequence.