Skift Take

Costa Rica is one of the few countries that considers social progress as a key metric of tourism industry success. That's why tourism industry entities, including luxury hotels, are encouraged to train and hire locals. Opportunities create a wealth ripple effect.

Series: New Luxury

Luxury Travel News

The Skift New Luxury column is our weekly column focused on the business of selling luxury travel, the people and companies creating and selling experiences, emerging trends, and the changing consumer habits around the sector.

“You can’t have a five-star hotel in a one-star community.” That’s the quote that really stood out for me from Skift Global Forum, which took place last Wednesday and Thursday in New York City. It came from Costa Rica’s minister of tourism, María Amalia Revelo.

While old-time luxury travelers might have been more than happy to stay at an all-inclusive resort in a developing region, siloed off from the surrounding community, the same cannot be said of the current generation. Yes, travelers still want to venture to unexplored destinations while staying in five-star luxury, but should they feel they are contributing to the gap between the haves and the have-nots, it will diminish their experience.

Moving forward, as luxury hoteliers move into developing areas, they have to be concerned not only about the bottom line but also about creating wealth and a better quality of life for the local population. That means building out infrastructure that benefits the community. That means paying attention to the environment. And that means providing education and opportunities for locals.

As Harsha L’Acqua, CEO of Saira Hospitality, noted at Skift Global Forum, this is a win-win strategy. After all, it operates on the idea that when locals get the proper training, they are going to be the most loyal employees, since they already call that place home.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @dailysuitcase.

— Laura Powell, Skift Luxury Editor

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Costa Rica Matures from Ecotourism Pioneer to Industry Leader: Costa Rica was calling things green and eco way before it was cool. Now it’s going beyond ecotourism to embrace holistic sustainable tourism. Smart move, especially when arrivals keep growing.

Hospitality’s Duty is to Serve Guests — and Humanity, Says Saira Hospitality CEO: The hospitality industry is based on service, but Saira Hospitality has found a way to expand the meaning of that service to both the guest and the local community.

Inspirato CEO Predicts Its Subscription Model Will Spur Followers in Luxury Travel: Introducing a subscription model to the travel industry could lead to a transformation in the way companies sell their products. On the other hand, it may be a challenge to get travelers to lock themselves into one brand over a period of time — unless, of course, there is an attractive perceived value.

Are Luxury Leisure Agencies Better at C-Suite Travel Than Their Corporate Peers? Leisure expertise is useful for serving the customized demands of VIPs, but travel advisors may find that even deluxe business travel requires a corporate mindset.


Skift Luxury Editor Laura Powell [[email protected]] curates the New Luxury newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday.

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Photo credit: Children in Costa Rica. The country's tourism minister spoke at Skift Global Forum in New York City on Sept. 18, 2019. Visit Costa Rica

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