Guanacaste is a region known for its folklore and its customs. The development has been marked by the increasing entry of tourists through the Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport, causing its expansion and diversification, converting it in the most important and growing economic sector of the last decades and with the greatest impact in the past years.

Liberia is also known as The White City due to the typical whiteness of its facades; historically the capital of the province is a “sabanero” town, but lately it has converted in the entrance for tourists that travel to the Guanacaste beaches and National Parks.

The necessity of providing restaurant services grows in a parallel manner to this tourist development and therefore regionally, in a City where the existing food and beverage businesses must encounter new challenges, evolving towards the dynamics of the global environment of more demanding consumers and of competitors in more intense relationships.

Sustainability, as a model for the country’s development, sets out the necessity of satisfying society’s current requirements without compromising the rights of future generations of satisfying their own. Costa Rica is very clear that its development must not be based on an excessive exploitation of resources to cover its habitants’ basic necessities. Therefore, it is indispensable to incorporate changes in our entrepreneurial vision, how to make things differently, incorporating tools that contribute to the socioeconomic progress of all in a more responsible manner.

Several years ago, the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) implemented a norm for gastronomic sustainability with very accurate purposes that serve as a reference and analysis framework in the adjustment of businesses’ ideas and objectives.

Gastronomic sustainability seeks to preserve essential resources to guarantee in this way the requirements of future generations, and at the same time transfer gastronomic knowledge from generation to generation, protecting the cultural heritage of our communities. In general terms, it wishes to motivate the creation of gastronomic attractions for the enjoyment of all, while gastronomic experiences are improved for national and foreign tourists, taking advantage of the possibility of having food without artificial ingredients, positively impacting all.

The norm is based on the compliance of thirteen basic principles, which must be taken and applied in the companies that are interested in the obtainment of the distinction. Each principle seeks, in general terms, the strengthening of the national gastronomic identity, the true enjoyment of resources and the economic growth, entrepreneurial and social.

These are:

1- Responsible feeding; favor the consumers’ health, as well as narrowing the existing relationship between human beings and the planet, a fundamental aspect to guarantee the development of future generations in a satisfactory manner.

2- Strengthening Seasonal Menus; taking advantage in a maximum manner the harvest periods of raw materials.

3- Increase the consumption of organic products; reduce the consumption of agrochemicals and environmental repercussions.

4- Reduce the importation of products; strengthen local production and economies, which at the same time decreases the carbon footprint, reducing the necessary transportation for the distribution of products.

5- Livestock and Fishing; control the excessive production and damages to ecosystems, product of these practices. Innovative approaches must be incorporated to increase productivity, preserve natural resources and use raw materials in a sustainable and efficient manner.

6- Food Sovereignty; respect the people’s rights to nutritious and culturally adequate food, which are accessible, produced in a sustainable and ecological manner, and their right to decide on their own food and productive system. The center of the food systems and policies are those that produce, distribute and consume food above markets and companies’ demands.

7- Food Security; assure that in all circumstances there is a sufficient supply of quality food for all the inhabitants of the current generation and future generations; guaranteeing a healthy life and active participation in social activities.

8- Electric consumption; reduce the current energy consumption based on the use of fossil fuels, substituting it for clean and renewable energies, and improve energetic efficiency. The rational and efficient use of the energetic resources permits the production of a product or the provision of a service consuming less energy and generating inferior levels of contamination.

9- Water Consumption; be conscious of water shortage and its importance for life, the decrease of wastefulness and the search of ways to make a more efficient use of this resource.

10- Food Harmlessness; change the approach from reactive and proactive. Sustainable practices must be incorporated, which guarantee security and quality in the food production and consumption.

11- Adaptation to climate change; not only considering how to reduce vulnerability to negative impacts, but also how to benefit from the positive ones. The adaptation measures must be focused to short and long terms, and include components of environmental management, disaster planning and management.

12- Innovation and creation of dishes; the constant renewal is sought to continue being competitive. It is urged to seek traditional cuisine, but with innovation, creating an integral offer that combines traditional and creative cuisine.

13- Entrepreneurial Social Responsibility; be committed before its groups of interest and society in general. It is sought that companies are voluntarily integrated to social and environmental concerns in their commercial operations. This implies to contribute to sustainable development, security, health and social wellness.

The society that we desire is the responsibility of all, with small changes, we contribute in building a better society, a better world.

Aileen Ocampo Fernandez