- Founder and CEO, DDD Servicios Estratégicos; Former CEO, Tikal Tours (Ecotourism)
Born San José, Costa Rica, 1950. Universidad de Costa Rica (1972); Marketing and Strategic Planning, Instituto Centroamericano de Administración de Empresas INCAE, Costa Rica (1995).
“[Y]ou can’t exploit cultures or destinations, you have to come add to them. A lot of companies have the ‘corporate social responsibility’ concepts; well, that’s obviously something that has to be integrated absolutely with everything you’re doing.”
Bary Roberts, president of DDD Servicios Estratégicos and past president of Tikal Tours, reflects on four decades of experience as an entrepreneur and government official in Costa Rica’s sustainable tourism industry. Roberts explains how he developed a small travel agency focused on outbound bus tours to Guatemala into one of the principal conduits for North American and European ecotourism into Costa Rica during the 1980s and 1990s, and the first tour operator in the country to employ the term “ecotourism.” He recounts his efforts as a director at the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism to create a collaborative partnership with the private sector to develop the Certificate for Sustainable Tourism, Costa Rica’s widely-recognized certification system for green tour operators and hotels. He also reflects on the challenges facing small and medium-sized tourism enterprises more recently, and the need for greater strategic planning, vision, and ethical principles to guide the future development of sustainable tourism in Costa Rica.