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Tourism Business: from partners, allies… everyone

Written by Mr. Luis Carlos Palazuelos Irusta – Adetur Costa Rica


The saying goes “unity makes strength”; whoever reads the fable understands better and realizes that breaking a bundle of wood is easier than breaking ten that have come together to form a kind of much thicker bundle. However, the fable is insufficient to be able to explain, in current times, that companies that come together for a common purpose must, above all, follow a guideline that clearly regulates the type of union they have, their limits, their rights and their obligations, in addition to other aspects.

In tourism, ways of “joining” have already been proposed with characteristics that are unknown to the majority, since it is thought that when talking about “associativity” (still excluded from the RAE dictionary), alliance and network, they are talking about synonyms and that is not it. The concepts we use are not exclusive to touristic activities, moreover, they are typical commercial activities and are born within the economy.

The purposes pursued are also diverse: many times they are merely declarative, that is, they mark a common position in the face of a specific fact that affects them and brings them together, such as a new tax, a political decision on the regulation of lodging houses, incentives for investment in a specific maritime zone, immigration regulations, etc. Other times, alliances are created to encourage tourists to visit a specific place, area or region and thereby achieve economic benefits. At present times, many enterprises find in networking, in alliances or in the formation of associations, an option for achieving economic reactivation.

For the specific case of the West, in Costa Rica San José would be the eastern limit, the group Red de Empresarios Turísticos de Occidente, also known as RETO, has been formed. This network is made up of entrepreneurs from different sectors of the tourism industry that have their operation centers in Alajuela, Naranjo, Poás, Sarchí and San Ramón (and many others in the process of joining). You don’t have to think long to understand that its birth is due to the moment so particular that humanity has been through and with it the country, but also, to an effort that has been projected for many years with the objective of democratizing not only the operation and tourists reception but also the diversification of the offer of Costa Rica to the international and nationals tourist.

Tour operators, small hotels, car rentals, artisans, restaurants and others have been joining the task of promoting visits to non-traditional destinations that deserve an opportunity, seeking visibility and guaranteeing the quality of their services. Reaching its objectives would not only confirm that the democratization of the offer is possible, but also that the economic benefit of tourism can help less privileged cantons in their social growth and thereby also demonstrate that tourism is a tool for that development that is so widely touted.

Stereotypes and paradigms can be demolished, for example those that emphasize sun and beach destinations, or the ones that present Costa Rica as a destination for Rain Forest Natural Parks only; world-famous destinations that are frequently saturated (not in vain are the most visited destinations such as Manuel Antonio, Irazú Volcano and various beaches in Guanacaste).

This type of initiative, such as the Network of Western Tourism Entrepreneurs (RETO in Spanish), should not be understood as competition. If I have a brother who tries to outdo my strength, outdo my intelligence, or outdo my physical attributes, should I get angry, hurt him, or deny him my help? The success of a family is the success of the whole, not of its components considered individually because it would no longer be a family success but rather that of the father, the mother, a brother and it is demagogic to proclaim things like “my victory is everyone’s”, ” I did it for you”, “we are all one”.

Now, the one in charge in this “family” is the State and its provisions should equally benefit all its children. The same thing that supports the child who stands out the most should support the child who wants to stand out. That support cannot be in words or encouragement. Resources must be allocated to facilitate, repair or build access roads, build attention services for tourists that in the end are also for the inhabitants of a specific place: information, complaint, police, security, health, communications, etc. In addition, resources must be allocated to help promote those destinations not only within the country but also abroad to the extent that satisfies everyone involved. In the end, everything that has been done for some must also be done for others.

We understand that there are priorities, that positioning is not a matter of days and that there is a demand that must be met, but we also understand that it is possible to expand the offer, position other products and destinations, discover either segments or at least niches of demand. interested in new products. In the end, it is irresponsible, discriminatory and reprehensible that in a family, the head does not watch over everyone.

Hopefully more RETOs will arise, more businessmen gathered together to make sure that everyone is a beneficiary of this great phenomenon of human society called tourism.