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Tourism Certification

Revamping the sustainable tourism certification of Costa Rica

Certification in tourism is growing with international tour operators setting targets for sustainable hotels and tours.  Tourist are also more attracted and loyal to responsible travel and need a 3rd part verification.  With this in mind the Ministry of Tourism engaged Planet4People to lead the a consortia of organizations tasked with the development of the new CST.2.  With and open and multistakeholder process conducted throughout the country in over 20 workshops Planet4People,  Fundación Plan 21,  the Tropical Science Center and Connelly and Partners, LLC, undertook the task of updating the standard,  redesigning the certification process, designing a logo and a marketing strategy for the launch of CST.

In an unprecedented effort over 20 conventions were reviewed and the CST standard updated with new criteria,  but also within a framework that would reward destination engagement as well as continued improvement.  For this, an online platform was designed that enabled businesses to autoevaluate before beginning the process and auditors, to conduct the audits online.   The certification was redesigned to meet ISO requirements, and a new proposal for a decree presented.  Staff was trained to meet the new demands.   The most exciting addition was the integration of criteria that would guide the businesses to have an impact on the destination they operate in.


  • Update a 20 year old certification to include SDGs, GSTC criteria and relevant international conventions and national legislation.
  • Make it relevant at a destination level.
  • Make the certification process and system compliant with ISEAL, ISO and GSTC.
Instituto Costarricense de Turismo
Country of Project
Costa Rica
Expected Outcome
  • Revamped and modern certification.
  • Transparent and compliant certification system.

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