Small-is-better tourism is theme of new video

Legislators and supporters of responsible tourism will present a video that seems to support minimal development on the Pacific coast.

The video is titled La gallina de los huevos de oro: Turismo en la costa Pacifica de Costa Rica. A reasonable translation would be “The Chicken That Lays the Golden Eggs: Tourism on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.” The fable with that title sometimes refers to a goose.

The showing is being sponsored by Marcela Guerrero Campos, the vice president of the legislature, and the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsible Travel.

The showing is Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Salón de Expresidentes in the legislative complex.

The center on its Web site defines its position this way: “Responsible tourism includes many types of travel, all of which aim to minimize tourism’s negative impacts on the environment, and maximize the positive contributions tourism can make to local communities.”

A trailer of the video also is available on the Web site HERE! The video is for sale there in both English and Spanish.

A summary of the video says that it compares the costs and benefits of big tourism centers with those of a small scale on the Osa Peninsula.

Among other persons, the video features  Margarita Penón, a former deputy and ex-wife of Óscar Arias Sánchez, who says that not every type of tourism is the same. In the past she has been critical of the way Guanacaste was developed and has been critical of all-inclusive hotel visits.

In all-inclusive stays visitors receive lodging and food at the hotel and usually do not venture much into nearby communities. Consequently, the hotel gets the bulk of the money.

The video also addresses the availability of

water and its use by golf courses and swimming pools. There is a definite anti-foreign tone with photos of condos and sprawling hotels. One resident says that small lodges owned by locals would be better than big hotels. The video also is critical of cruise ship passengers and says that each passenger only spends an average of $67 in Costa Rica and that the big money is made by the cruise lines.

A discussion is supposed to follow the video, and the speakers are identified as Wilhelm Von Breymann, minister of Turismo; Diego González, president of the Cámara Nacional de Ecoturismo y Turismo Sostenible, and Alejandra Monge, executive director of Fundación Corcovado, which also is supporting the video.

For years Costa Rican officials have been trying to encourage tourism to smaller communities with perhaps lodging with local farmers.

“Community Rural Tourism is one of the initiatives that, little by little, has represented an important means of development for those rural communities potentially capable of competing with other high quality attraction sites,” says the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo on its Web site.  Still, the bulk of the tourists want to go to the beaches.

The Osa peninsula is the home of Parque Nacional Corcovado, probably the most primitive and unexplored section of the country. There are efforts at developing a major marina and hotel complex on the east shore of the peninsula.

Osa guide Edwin Villareal characterizes the area as the goose with the golden eggs.

Osa guide Edwin Villareal characterizes the area as the goose with the golden eggs.

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