By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
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
Center for Responsible Travel clip
Osa guide Edwin Villareal
characterizes the area as the goose with the golden eggs.
water and its use by golf courses and swimming
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
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.