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IADB approves $20 million loan to Costa Rica for Sustainable Tourism

Costa-ricaA $20 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank will support a program to promote sustainable tourism in protected wilderness areas in Costa Rica, the IADB announced.

The program seeks to boost revenues for the National Conservation Areas System (SINAC), the state agency responsible for Costa Rica's 157 protected wilderness areas.

The program's strategy consists of raising the quality of tourism in protected areas by investing in infrastructure and improving the information and services provided to visitors. At the same time it will promote local development in the micro regions around the protected areas and improve inter-agency coordination, particularly between SINAC and the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism.

One of the program's goals is to promote sustainable tourism in a larger number of protected areas in order to reduce the burden on the six areas that draw a vast majority of visitors.

The loan will help finance investments in infrastructure and environmental conservation in 10 protected areas: Manuel Antonio, Corcovado, Braulio Carrillo, Volc?n Po?s, Cahuita, Volc?n Arenal, Iraz?, Tortuguero, Rinc?n de la Vieja and Ca?o Negro. Seven of these areas are in regions where poverty levels exceed the national average.

A total of 28 municipalities around these protected areas may obtain financing for projects such as improving access roads, hillside stabilization and drainage. The program also aims to involve the private sector in developing local tourism.

Additionally, the program will help strengthen SINAC's administrative and financial management as well as provide resources for training its staff in tourism.

The loan is for 20 years, with a five-year grace period and a variable interest rate.

 

Valere Tjolle

 
 

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