SPECIFICALLY, a study by the CREST Center for Responsible Travel released in 2011 reports that 62% of travelers claim traveling responsible is “important” to them, and over 80% state they want their hotel to be socially and environmentally responsible.
But 73% of those polled did nothing to verify their hotel’s environmental practices, and 81% didn’t try to verify their hotel’s social practices.
In places like Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, it’s particularly important that the concept of responsible travel shift from idealistic talk to common practice. Referred to by National Geographic as “the most biologically intense place on Earth,” the Osa Peninsula makes up 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity and is the last virgin rainforest still standing on Central America’s Pacific coast. It’s also one of the poorest regions in the country.
To raise awareness about over-development and mass tourism issues in the region, iSeeiTravel co-founders Marco Bollinger and Eytan Elterman have launched a fundraising campaign to complete their documentary and photo project, 2.5%: Conscious Travel in the World’s Most Biologically Intense Rainforest. Watch the preview above.
A decision on whether or not to go ahead with plans to build an international airport on the peninsula will be made following an environmental impact study at the end of this year. The airport site is three miles from the Térraba-Sierpe Wetland, which is “a recognized Wetland of International Importance with annual ecosystem services valued at near $2 billion,” according to the New York Times.
Supporters claim the airport will create jobs and help reduce poverty in the area. Some locals are doubtful.
“There is a saying in the South (Osa),” says one local interviewed in iSeeiTravel’s documentary preview. “That we don’t want to be another Guanacaste.” In 2002, Guanacaste Province added an international terminal to its local airport, but many of the new jobs went to non-locals. In addition, wages did not increase proportionally with the cost of living in the area.
iSeeiTravel’s founders are hoping to complete their documentary and photo project before the decision on the airport is made. The project is already supported by several partnering organizations, including the Rainforest Alliance, Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality, Nature Air, and CREST.
You can help by donating on their Indiegogo page, with contribution amounts starting at $5. Those interested in contributing $500 or higher can become correspondents, receive producer credit, or take a trip to the peninsula for a behind-the-scenes look at the documentary project.
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Michelle is a musician, writer, and teacher just trying to see the world while doing what she loves for a living. She's taught ESL in Salvador, Brazil and kindergarten in Suwon, Korea, and now she's a full-time freelance writer living in Seattle (just to keep the city alliteration going). She'll try pretty much any food once and believes coffee is its own food group.
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