Celebrating Tourism and Rural Development

Dear Friends,

The stunning light filling my room this morning coaxed me awake. I feel
gratitude that I have been given a new day of inner calm. I appreciate the
taste of fresh tropical fruit and the first sips of my dark, hot coffee. Taking
a deep breath while watching the jewel-colored birds fly through the air
allows me to see spectacular, vivid hues of exotic plants in the landscape.
Look around your area, Nature is surely bestowing beauty on you too.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of World Tourism Day. This year’s theme:
“Tourism and Rural Development” comes at a crucial time when countries
everywhere hope to recover from the effects of the global pandemic that
has affected travel. Promoting the importance of rural communities to the
tourism industry is not new in Costa Rica. It is taking a long time to create
successful, sustainable projects that safeguard the unique cultural heritage
and traditions of our small towns because they are often overlooked locally.

Our tourism industry leadership has not been able to guide different parts
of society to understand that everyone can benefit from rural tourism. For
it to happen, though, everyone needs to participate in improving or creating
products (crafts, foods, sightseeing tours, etc.). For too long we have taken
for granted our nation’s abundance of natural wonders to sell itself. In the
meantime, other nations (Nicaragua) in the region have been hard at work
and are more affordable and equally beautiful. It’s time for us to wake up.

Our longstanding commitment to peace and democracy is still in our favor.
Although our pandemic daily numbers are on the rise, authorities caution
us not to panic but to practice the measures they have spent months sharing
with us. Our borders are opening up slowly. The industry is optimistic about
recovery in the future and I agree with their assessment. Since childhood,
Costa Rica wrapped its tender tentacles around my heart. I unabashedly
promote visits here when the timing is better. Hopefully this downtime is
allowing creative minds to rejuvenate their rural tourism offers.

Have a wonderful day and a great week, Marietta

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