Lapa Rios Ecolodge was one of the first 2 hotels to get the 5 leaves. It was not easy, but now the rules have become even more stringent and are applied across the board regardless if it is a hotel in a big city, a nature lodge in the deep rain forest, or a youth hostel in the city.
The CST has exactly the same set of rules for all tourism regardless of its location, size, services, specialty, clientele or anything else. All are evaluated, held to and judged by equal standards where the individual differences are huge.
It’s important for a tourism destination to have the ICT certification, as travelers are increasingly more likely to check out the sustainability of their next planned destination. But, it puts the little guys like boutique hotels and wilderness destinations at a huge economic and practical disadvantage to comply with the same costly, uncompromising rules as a Marriott or a Hilton.
Disregarding the individual differences and individual emphasis in tourism projects makes as much sense as holding, for example, all educational institutions under only one criteria. Harvard, a public high school, a junior college, a preschool and maybe even daycare centers.
Why not look into it and see if the CST can be made more effective and fair to all tourism, not just the big hotels. To make it more relevant and attractive for everyone to comply with their own category. It should invite and include everyone but not everyone should measured by the same yardstick.
It’s just a conversation to start with and everyone is welcome to join. The CST is very worthwhile and internationally respected. It needs some adjustments and the list of valid complaints and objections is growing.
Let’s all take a sober new look at how it might be improved and made more equitable for all tourist destinations?
Written by: John Lewis, Co-owner of Lapa Rios Eco Lodge