It’s a term that is getting thrown around more and more lately. Buuuut what exactly does that mean? Here is a chart to help confuse you:
If that didn’t do the trick, try this one:
So what exactly is sustainable tourism? I think the truth lies somewhere in between the two:
Often it is summed up into three words, all starting with “p”.
People, planet, profit.
Maintaining cultures and customs and identity. That’s people. Visiting places in a low or no-impact way, both direct (you not littering) and indirect (your tour guide riding his donkey to work instead of his moto). That’s planet. Bringing in much-needed tourist dollars to underdeveloped regions so that it becomes financially viable to support the people and planet. That’s profit. And that is as complicated as I am going to get in this explanation.
The term “sustainable tourism” was coined in the early 1980’s and but sharpened its claws in central american tourism before it even had a name. The term has a complete hold the Costa Rican market and won’t be letting go anytime soon. And why should it? It’s sustainable! Nicaragua is about 1,000 years behind. Behind who? Behind the USA, behind Europe, behind it’s southern neighbor, the happiest dang country on the earth. There is a long, dark history to Nicaragua that can tell you why, but there is a light we are approaching and it’s the long, inspiring future that will show us how.
I have been working on the RightSide Guide since January 2011 and I love, love, love it. But there are bigger fish to catch and I am now working on a network for Nicaraguan tourist companies called NicaConexiones. The idea is to create an umbrella organization that can bring these businesses together, offer travel discounts to tourists and help bring Nica tourism that much closer to sustainability.
Have patience, the site has a long way to go and I hope to be ready to open the NCX doors by 1 January, 2014. But anybody who is truly concerned about sustainable tourism in Nicaragua has already learned that patience is everything.