Puerto Rico has the resources and the potential to develop the sustainable tourism sector as it possesses a wide variety of natural and cultural attractions. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company has developed a guide to establish the bases for the development of ecotourism and sustainable tourism in the Island.
I. Green Certification Program
The Green Hotel Program seeks to ensure all tourist facilities endorsed by PRTC meet sustainability principles and improve long-term competitiveness of the tourism industry. For this Program, PRTC developed the following guidelines: Design Guidelines for Eco-touristic and Sustainable Tourism Facilities, and Operational Guidelines for Eco-touristic and Sustainable Tourism Facilities.
The Design Guidelines for Eco-touristic and Sustainable Tourism Facilities focus on new infrastructure projects and include the following categories: Sustainable Tourism Design, Eco-touristic Design, and Exemplary Eco-touristic Design.
Any form of lodging that complies and operates under the requirements of the Design and Operational Guidelines for Eco-tourism and Sustainable Tourism Facilities and the Green Lodging certification issued by PRTC’s Sustainable Tourism Division.
All projects submitting a request for certification have to comply with guidelines that include:
- Involving tourism stakeholders, primarily communities, as main actors in the planning process.
- Decision-making and management of the facility.
- Integration of the community’s climate and the natural beauty of the environment into the architectural design of the project in order to conserve the site’s cultural, historical, and natural heritage.
- Efficient use of the resources, including, energy, water, soil, construction materials, and the use of the resources during the construction process.
The Operational Guidelines for Eco-touristic and Sustainable Tourism Facilities focuses on new and existing buildings and includes the following classifications: Basic, Meritorious, and Exemplary categories.
Facilities requesting certification as sustainable tourism facilities must comply with sustainable criteria in the following operational areas:
- Approach routes and facility premises
- Administration offices and front desk
- Public areas
- Kitchen and dining
- Public restrooms
- Service and Maintenance
- Laundry room
- Facility roof surface
- Exterior reflectivity
- Rainwater harvesting
- Renewable energy sources
- Natural emergency preparedness
PRTC evaluates energy efficiency, water saving, appropriate disposal of waste products, indoor air quality, landscaping practices, recycling program, the establishment of an environmental policy, including service providers, as well as a green team, involvement and benefit of the local community, education and outreach, green fleet of vehicles, reduction of toxic and hazardous substance within the whole property. Under the Sustainable Touristic Facilities Program Memorandum of Understanding, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company collaborates with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Puerto Rico Solid Waste Management Authority to advance sustainable development and operation of hospitality facilities in Puerto Rico.
Click on the links below to download PRTC eco-touristic guides!
Agrotourism offers a behind-the-scenes look of how our Island’s harvests have shaped Puerto Rican culture and traditions. The Agrotourism Program’s purpose is to reevaluate agriculture in our society and promote it under a sustainable framework. In addition, agrotourism represents an additional income to the existing agricultural activity.
The PRTC established an advisory council composed of state and federal agencies and academic institutions. This council developed the Agrotourism Guidelines, which establish the general requirements for all projects, criteria based on the type of agricultural activity or business, and agro lodges. The program proposes two categories: basic and ecological.
Click on the link below to download the PRTC’s agrotourism guideline!
The purpose of the Ecotourism Program is to promote the creation and ensure the quality standards of ecotourism products. The ecotourism program is focused on tour operators and community-based initiatives which provide the means to enhance the communal quality of life as well as increase our destination’s diversity and offerings when looking for locations to visit, live and invest in. Puerto Rico might seem like a small island, but it offers six different ecosystems. From dry forests to rainforests, you can experience different natural scenarios such as coastal plains, karst systems with caves and caverns, wetlands, mangrove forests, salt plains, coral reefs and more.
The standards of the Guidelines of Ecotourism manual guarantee these goals are met while satisfying the clients’ expectations while taking into account the local realities and capacities and therefore, promoting a sense of place and authenticity. They provide a broad and detailed scope of the criteria, requirements, permits, and qualifications an ecotourism operation must fulfill in order to obtain certification. These areas are the general practice of the excursion, practices of minimum impact, infrastructure, lighting, noise, security, the conservation of natural and cultural resources, education and interpretation, local economic development, citizen participation. Under the conservation of natural and cultural resources, the requirements vary according to the type of activity proposed.
Click on the link below to download PRTC ecotourism guidelines!
II. Blue Flag Program
PRTC provides financial and technical support to the Blue Flag Program, which certifies beaches and marinas in compliance with the following criteria: environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management and safety, and services. As of the 2021-2022 season, Puerto Rico has one (1) beach, two (2) marinas and thirteen (13) boats certified under the Blue Flag Program.
Sustainable Tourism Workshops
All workshops are provided in Spanish.
Sustainable tourism workshops are educational talks aimed to create awareness about the importance of the conservation of the environment and the great benefits that are obtained when working towards sustainability general themes:
Interactive talk presenting the new trends in tourism and the universe of possibilities within the concept of sustainable projects.
Duration: Approximately one and a half (1.5) hours.
Audience: Aimed at new or future entrepreneurs.