Sustainable In Costa Rica

Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa Unveils New Report

Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, an eco-luxury wellness resort in Costa Rica, has unveiled its official Sustainability Report for 2020/21 demonstrating socio-economic strategies across environmental management, corporate social responsibility, and culture.

By turning the concept of hospitality inwards during a global crisis, Tabacón has remained an economically responsible partner to its community, staff and suppliers, all while protecting, regenerating, and promoting the benefits of natural resources at the core of the Tabacón experience.

The report aligns initiatives against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and lays the groundwork for ambitious sustainability plans in the coming years.

“We are honored to share our Sustainability Report and showcase how the Tabacón family faced the enormous challenges of 2020/21 together with care and optimism, and sustainability as top of mind in each and every one of our actions,” notes Marcel Stittner, resort general manager.

“These actions have built a strong foundation as we continue our journey and forward focus towards offering carbon neutral stays in the short term and carbon neutrality for the resort by the end of 2023 while improving mindful wellness offerings and promoting diversity and inclusion. As we continue to see successful growth year-over-year for the business, we are determined to leverage our success for the betterment of our community, guests, and beloved Costa Rica,” said Stittner.

Social responsibility took precedence in 2020/21 and the report outlines means used to support staff during 8 months of closure; going beyond government standards to provide ‘a source of respectable employment’ and contribute to the teams’ quality of life.

This included maintaining benefits such as staff meals, voluntarily advancing retirement pay, providing the opportunity for work outside usual roles, and undertaking maintenance and renovation.

For Tabacón staff, 28,476 hours of Occupational Health training took place between September 2020 and December 2021, at which point Tabacón was back to 90% of its March 2020 payroll.

Over this period, the resort was recognized for enhancing its internal and external inclusion policies with initiatives like ‘Three Days Pay for Paternity’ and increased accessibility for all resort-wide, including a wheelchair ramp into the main pool.

As a stakeholder in tourism within the La Fortuna region, community care extended outside Tabacón. Staff prepared and delivered 6,885 lunches to more than 850 families over 7 months in 2020, and contributed to the #FeedFortuna online campaign, which raised just shy of $20,000, feeding 500 families.

The report demonstrates that in 2021, Tabacón surpassed its goal of a 5% reduction in energy consumption, achieving a 9% decrease from the last comparable year, 2019. Over this two-year period Tabacón completed its program to become 100% LED and began a Solar Energy Project with the installation of 836 photovoltaic solar panels. Efforts made in 2021 to reduce reliance on single-use products such as PPE, and the resort’s Material Transfer Center began to record the amounts of non-recoverable waste to create a benchmark for 2022.

Since Tabacón’s water supply is 100% derived from natural springs located on-property, with all hot water used in the resort naturally heated by the Arenal volcano, a water usage monitoring system was introduced in 2021. Consideration for downstream water protection and native landscaping was demonstrated during the renovation of the main pool area where Tabacón’s house nursery provided 96% of the 1,036 plants used to surround the pool.

The property itself consists of 353 hectares of rainforest, only 7 of which are built on, and is home to a rewilding program. Since 2009, more than 1500 trees have been planted by guests as part of Tabacón’s Plant A Tree Program and are tagged for guests to revisit. These trees are home to different types of birds. Tabacón has been involved in cultural projects, such as the Communal Band of La Fortuna which supports 200 musicians.

By empowering the Food & Beverage team through supply-chain training, Tabacón has increased the prevalence of home-grown and home-crafted items on the menu across the resort’s 2 restaurants and 4 bars. New food and cocktail (including vegan and non-alcoholic) menus have been designed. These are served with a side of ‘story’ to provide context about their heritage in Tico traditions.

Tabacón’s unique access to mineralized thermal springs and the role of pure water when it comes to health and wellness provided a natural opportunity to welcome people to a safe space; the ‘COVID-Hero’ campaign invited local and domestic travelers to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of the hot springs with discounted packages, while new spa treatments were designed to provide emotional balance and facilitate mental wellness.

A new Coffee Tasting Experience explores the history of a key export. Tabacón also uses Biosfera products exclusively in the spa. This La Fortuna-based company was established by a former employee and inspired by her time at the Tabacón Spa.

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Posted in COVID-19, Hotels, Resorts, Responsible Travel