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Public–private partnership as an innovative approach for sustainable tourism in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

María Dolores Herrero Amo (ESCP Europe – Madrid Campus, Madrid, Spain)
M. Cristina De Stefano (ETSII, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain)

Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes

ISSN: 1755-4217

Article publication date: 8 April 2019




The current tourism model based on luxury hotel resorts in the Gulf of Papagayo (Guanacaste, Costa Rica) is largely affecting the living condition of its nearby communities. This paper aims to discuss the importance of promoting public–private partnerships (PPPs) as innovative forms of governance to increase the sustainability of this tourism model.


Based on the review of institutional documents and the PPP literature, this article critically maps each stage of the process to design PPPs for sustainable tourism, taking into account the case of Guanacaste. In this way, it offers a practical guideline to plan partnerships involving academia, public institutions and private partners in particular tourism sites.


The paper shows that the feasibility of a PPP in Guanacaste strongly depends on the alignment of partners’ local interests, on the adequacy of the partnership to the social and economic conditions of the context wherein it has to be carried out, and on the appropriation of results from partners.


This work combines a theoretical and practical perspective to understand the interactive process to be carried out to design PPPs in developing tourism destinations.



Herrero Amo, M.D. and De Stefano, M.C. (2019), "Public–private partnership as an innovative approach for sustainable tourism in Guanacaste, Costa Rica", Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 130-139.



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