By Ellen Zoe Golden Photos courtesy: CCTT
- CCTT to Lead Process with support from ADI
Businesses and people of Tamarindo have been called upon to continue efforts led by the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism of Tamarindo (CCTT) in order that the community be awarded a Blue Flag. Many leaders of the local tourism trade met last month to learn what exactly they could do to move forward in the process to receive this special award.
The Blue Flag would demonstrate that Tamarindo is socially and environmentally committed to improving not only the town, but the world as well.
The Blue Flag Ecological Program is not only an educational tool to improve the environmental, hygienic and public health conditions of Costa Rica, but its Mission states that it hopes to “encourage the organization of different sectors of civil society, with the objective of achieving sustainable development in the national territory.”
And it doesn’t hurt to promote Tamarindo as a Blue Flag community in order to draw more tourists who see these parameters as a sign of excellence.
There are 14 Blue Flag categories ranging from Special Events to Educational Centers to Beaches and more. Hernan Imhoff, President of the CCTT, clarified that these efforts introduced last year and those that will continue now with the public embracing the task, are in order to obtain the Blue Flag designated for Communities.
“The Blue Flag project has today several categories for the efforts in which we will be involved, but now we will be focused primarily on obtaining the Blue Flag for Communities, which is for now the most interesting. Subsequently and in the near future, we will opt for others including the Beach category,” explained Imhoff.
The Community requirements objective is: “Establish an incentive to promote the organization of local committees and integration of the same, with the purpose of seeking conservation and development, in accordance with the protection of natural resources, the implementation of actions that tackle climate change, the search for better hygienic-sanitary conditions and the improvement of the public health of the inhabitants of Costa Rica.”
Imhoff said: “We are completely committed to this project. The image of Tamarindo as a tourist destination cannot depend solely on the beauty of nature and the services it offers to tourism. There must be a clear image between the community and what it represents for society.
Therefore, the efforts of the CCTT are aimed at achieving such an important distinction for our community. Apart from our own efforts, we have the necessary contacts that will give us the advice to achieve our goal.
These contacts are the other institutions that make up Blue Flag Ecological Program including the Costa Rica Tourism Institute (ICT), National Water and Sewer Service (AyA), Public Health Ministry (MS), Environment Ministry (MINAE), Education Ministry (MEP) and the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR). It is required that a community organization form a committee to present a request for consideration, which has already been completed by the CCTT, and this committee is tasked with spearheading the implementation of the activities and requirements needed to obtain the Blue Flag.
An agreement has been made between the CCTT and the Asociación de Desarrollo Integral de Tamarindo (ADI) for the former to take the reins in this project.
Among the CCTT-led 2016 efforts toward the Blue Flag were four conferences to introduce methodologies and technologies to save water, as well as work with the Santa Cruz Municipality, the Ministry of Health, and the National University that had solid waste collection days in Tamarindo and Langosta resulting in 4.5 tons of garbage collected and removed including many mosquito breeding sites.
“First of all, we think environmental education is a category that will help us as a community,” Imhoff said about the additional efforts that the CCTT hopes to implement towards the Blue Flag.
“The new generations must be committed to the measured use of resources, recycling, have respect for the environment and the correct coexistence with nature. All these aspects that I mention are the values that the Blue Flag signifies, not only in this, but in any other community.”
The program guidelines also require that actual members of the community participate in all efforts initiated by the CCTT and its accompanying institutions towards obtaining the Blue Flag. “We need to strengthen the management of the guidelines that make up the Blue Flag distinction in the community, as well as in the local industry,” concluded Imhoff.
“This way, the contribution can be made between the people and the institutions in order to adapt and comply with the regulations imposed by the program. Only in making these practices can a habit be made from a perfect collaboration to meet the requirements.”