Sustainable Tourism

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. This is why the Puerto Rico Tourism Company has developed a guide to establish the bases for the development of ecotourism and sustainable tourism in the Island. These are important tools for the proper development and management of these new tourism approach that will position Puerto Rico at a new level in this market segment.

Sustainable Tourism Magazine Read Law 254 Request an endorsement or certification

I. Green Certification Program

Sustainable Touristic Facilities 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 focuses on new infrastructure projects, and includes the following categories: Sustainable Tourism Design, Eco-touristic Design and Exemplary Eco-touristic Design.

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
  • Guestrooms
  • 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, establishment of an environmental policy, including service providers, as well as a green team, involvement and benefit of 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 Program
The Agrotourism Program’s purpose is to reevaluate the agriculture in our society and promote it under a sustainable framework. In addition, the agrotourism represents an additional income to the existing agricultural activity. The PRTC established an advisory council composed by state and federal agencies and academic institutions. This council developed the Agrotourism Guidelines, which establish the general requirements for all projects, criterions based on type of agricultural activity or business and agro lodges. The program proposes two categories: basic and ecological.

Click on the link below to download PRTC agrotourism guidelines

Ecotourism Program
The purpose of the Ecotourism Program is to promote the creation and ensure the quality standards of ecotourism products. 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.

The guidelines 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: 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. At present, Puerto Rico has seven (7) beaches and two (2) marinas certified under the Blue Flag Program


Sustainable Tourism Workshops

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:

Tourism thousand and one possibilities

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.
Accessible tourism, commitment and sustainable opportunity

Motivational talk where we establish the importance of accessibility, promote the right of tourism for all and project sustainable activities integrating the general population.

Duration: One (1) hour.
Audience: Established entrepreneurs.
Sustainable Tourism, agents of change!

Interactive talk establishing the modalities of sustainable tourism and promoting a change in paradigms, to further the individual's responsibility and the group vision towards a real change in tourism projects.

Duration: (1.5) One hour and half approximately.
Audience: University Students.
Sustainable Tourism, consciousness and responsibility

It seeks to awaken interest in conservation, the respect for the environment, and the commitment to educate oneself, learn and promote effective practices from one's place.

Duration: (1.5) One and a half hours approximately.
Audience: Intermediate / high school level students.
Learn, preserve and enjoy...

Dynamic and experiential talk for children where aspects and important practices for the conservation and enjoyment of our natural resources are discussed.

Duration: Fourty five (45) minutes.
Audience: Elementary School Students.
Other topics upon request

Aimed at all publics based on the following topics.
1. Ecotourism
2. Agrotourism
Request a Sustainable Tourism Workshop


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