Your trip is your dream, your happiness and your free time; that is why at GWA we want to help you make this dream come true. Tell us more about your tastes and your preferences for us to create an unforgettable customized trip just for you.
The prestigious Certificate for Sustainable Tourism is a program created by the Costa Rican Tourism Board to categorize and differentiate tourism companies according to the degree to which their operations approach a model of sustainability in the management of natural, cultural and social resources. For more information on this certificate, you can visit the official website http://www.turismo-sostenible.co.cr/. The program awards business with one to five leaves.
GWA has been awarded with 4 leaves and we are working hard to get our fifth leave, the highest certification of the program.
The crazy adventure of starting our own travel company was only just a dream. We dreamt of being able to offer experiences to travelers’ other travel agencies would not offer, we dreamt of something different and being a tour operator that could truly show all the beauty of Costa Rica and its people.
It is obviously not that easy to start a company with no capital; that is why our first goal was to make a bit of money selling small trips and day excursions to Costa Rican clients. Luckily, relatives and friends started to book our services for hotels, tours and transports.
2009: global financial crisis or enthusiasm?
The 2008 global financial crisis greatly affected the tourism sector and the consequences of this economic slowdown were highly noticeable in Costa Rica until at least 2010.
Despite the economic context, we remained optimistic and we managed to catch the attention of various companies and private clients who were interested in the Costa Rica we promoted: visits to local communities, unique tailor-made tours and the opportunity to choose what they wanted to discover and to get involved with.
Thanks to this unique circumstance we managed to build a small financial capital that enabled us to attend to a bigger number of tourists in Costa Rica. With the money we saved up during our first two years in business, we were finally able to build our first website in 2010.
2011: a turning point for our company, in many different ways.
-We received our first international group of tourists from Mexico.
-We took part in our first trade show, CATM (Central America Travel Market), hosted in Panama that year.
-We caught the attention of more foreign travel agents who wished to work with us and to offer Costa Rica as a cultural and ecotourism destination.
-We became members of ATTA, the Adventure Travel and Trade Association.
-Thanks to the growth of our activities, we were able to contract new employees that shared our vision and who helped us develop our company and get better at what we do.
In 2012, we strengthened our relations with our first client from the USA; this event opened us the doors of the North American market. We also started to participate in more international fairs, and we managed to differentiate our products that started not only to be seen as something different but also as something innovative; in short “tailor-made travel” with a little tico twist.
International trade fairs offered us the opportunity to establish good contacts with foreign travel agents and gave us an invaluable experience, things that we could not have learnt from books. But in 2013, we opted for another method of contact, the one we like to call
“knocking on doors”. That year, we went on our first official market research trip to the USA (East Coast).
We took on the task of contacting various companies via emails or phone calls until we finally reached what we had hoped for: a meeting to introduce ourselves personally to each company. We sometimes had to send up to four emails and to make up to three calls before finally getting a chance to set up a meeting with a person; but in the end it was WORTH IT.
We kept on spreading our idea of how Costa Rica should be enjoyed; “a country full of lovely people surrounded by an incomparable natural wealth and all of this, tailor-made for you”.
We took the decision to create a new website and to focus a little more on educational travel as we received various groups and they always gave us good feedbacks on the unique itineraries we designed for them.
Thanks to all the efforts we put in creating sustainable trips, we were granted the “Certificate of Tourism Sustainability” by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism in 2014.
We knew Costa Rica could be explored and enjoyed by people from all over the world, so, the great dreamers that we are decided to invest in another market research trip in 2016 and this time we decided to head towards Europe. Again, we wanted to visit companies interested in promoting Costa Rica as a cultural destination, as a pioneer in ecotourism and as a paradise for adventure lovers.
In 2017, we joined the American organization Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA), with the aim to offer a new approach to student travel: a highly educative experience in a highly sustainable country. We still offer tailor-made travel in Costa Rica and in 2017 we started to combine it with two beautiful destinations: Nicaragua and Panama.
To finish 2017 on a high note, we wanted to give our company a fresher image, one that would truly reflect GWA so we decided to entirely restructure our website.
In 2018 GWA started grown and new members of the team came and with this, new ideas.
Diving the company into three main areas, GWA Classic trips, Student trips and luxury tours. With this division now we can offer a most precise service to each and one of our clients.
In 2019 as GWA was growing exponentially we decide that Luis Diego is going to be in charge of business coming from The Americas and Alberto for Europe. Luis Diego had attend to the SYTA Summit in the USA and Alberto to WTM in London and the ITB in Berlin. At the end of the year we acquired a manager software called Tour Plan that allow us to create faster proposal for our clients.
2020 have been a year to slow down and look into things our daily operation did not allow us. We reinforce our GWA brand with a new website, create new programs for the clients and work in learn about best practices in sustainable tourism.
We work together with the local authorities to create Covid-19 protocols, think in the safety of our clients and employees.
If you want to learn more about us, to be part of our history or to discover real Costa Rica, Panama or Nicaragua, then think no more and CONTACT US. It is always a pleasure to help you! PURA VIDA.
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