Q COSTA RICA – When it comes to being green and moving around the world, the travel industry is making big changes. It looks like Panama, one of three carbon-negative countries in the world, is stepping up for World Environment Day on June 5th, seeking to be among the favorite sustainable tourism destinations for Costa Ricans.
The country is one of the three carbon-negative territories in the world, making it an ideal destination for environmentally conscious travelers.
In 2018, Panama banned plastic bags and the Panama Canal is aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Along with Bhutan and Suriname, they’ve created the Carbon Negative Alliance to share best practices and advocate for global climate action.
Plus, they’ve committed to restoring 50,000 hectares of forest land to absorb 2.6 million tons of CO2 by 2050. And they’ve just passed a new law that gives sea turtles the right to live in a healthy environment.
If Costa Ricans are looking for a sustainable vacation spot, Panama has plenty to offer, from eco-friendly hotels to green excursions.
- Participating in sustainable activities, such as hiking, bird watching, and visits to protected areas to support local conservation efforts and learn more about Panama’s rich biodiversity. Panama has more than 16 national and marine parks, and nearly 35% of the country, or nearly 2 million acres, is designated as a national park, tropical forest reserve, or wildlife refuge.
Travelers can enjoy cloud forests, tropical jungles, the Pacific and Caribbean oceans, as well as the Sarigua National Park (known as a wetland of international importance due to its salinization). When done mindfully, traveling is a sustainable way to experience Panama’s beautiful nature.
- Experiment and help conserve the marine resources of Panama. After the launch of the World Alliance for the Oceans “30×30”, Panama joins as one of the few nations in the world to achieve the protection of more than 50 % of its total marine area, the first country in Latin America to do so. By designating more than 46 marine protected areas, Panama is ensuring the protection of its ecosystems and conserving the carbon sinks that have been vital to its carbon negative status.
As a result of the strong protection of the oceans, Panama has maintained healthy oceans that constitute an optimal destination for visitors to practice aquatic activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving.
- Visit one of the four indigenous communities that preserve their principles centered on the idea of caring for and respecting nature, water and their culture as a guarantee of a prosperous life. Travelers can use Panama’s community tourism network, SOSTUR, which is a digital platform for rural communities to share their vision and support the implementation of regenerative tourism. Travelers can select tours through several pilot communities with immersive experiences that support local communities.
- Utilize Panama’s extensive public transportation system, which includes buses, trains, and metro lines, to reduce carbon emissions and support sustainable transportation efforts. As of February 2023, Panama requires that all vehicles of public entities that use fuel be replaced by electric cars, with 40% electric by the year 2030.
At the end of 2023, tourism is projected to account for 16.4% of Panama’s GDP, surpassing the 15.8% from last year. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that the industry will generate about 400,000 jobs too.
Plus, Panama has become a popular destination for travelers worldwide, according to the WTTC report.