Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Post trip thoughts

After my 10 day journey through Costa Rica I can genuinely say that I learned a great deal about the culture, the people, and the country over all.  Our travels took us all over the small country, touring rain forests, cities, volcanoes, and beaches. Meeting some great people along the way who rely on the ecosystem to make a living.

I believe that what I will remember the most from visiting Costa Rica is the amazing forests and animals that inhabit it. Costa Rica is a very small country and although it only makes up about .03% of the earths surface, it is in the top 20 in biodiversity. In fact Costa Rica is home to nearly half a million different animal species. During our hiking tours through the rain forest we learned about many different birds, insects and mammals.

Other than the beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife, what I liked about Costa Rica was there commitment to sustainability and preserving their number one tourist attraction, their ecosystem. Their goal is to create sustainable tourism, a practice that is looking to meet the demands of tourism without compromising their environment for the future generations. We saw countless examples of this concept being implemented throughout our time. Most evident was at UGA. They took every measure to be sure that there was no waste and everything that would lead to the camp being sustainable was done.

Overall, through this trip I made memories that I will remember for a lifetime, and have come to realize our wasteful ways in the United States. I would like to thanks our faculty to make sure everyone remained safe and was able to learn as much as we did.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Day 7

Question of the day:

In two instances today we saw  individuals working to preserve the original Costa Rican culture.  (I.e, the indigenous woman selling decorative gourds and the learning farm growing white pineapples).  Give three examples of louisiana businesses/organizations that are working to preserve our local culture.  And how do these contribute to our state economy?

Three businesses that are conducting business to preserve the Louisiana culture are Louisiana crawfish company, a business that will ship live crawfish to anywhere in the county. The swamp tours in Henderson, and most festivals around the state, in particular, the buggy festival in Church point.

Eating crawfish is a big part of the Louisiana culture. It brings family together to crawfish boils where other staples of the la culture are consumed, and la crawfish company is sharing that with the world. People who have seen crawfish on tv maybe interested and want to try it but have no plan to visit the state, but this gives them the opportunity to experience it and get them somewhat interested in a visit to la.
In la there are swamps all over the state. Many people make a living from the swamps, whether that is from fishing, hunting, or catching gators. After taking a tour of the swamps in Henderson, it sparks the interest of outdoorsman. Being that these tour companies make their living off of the swamp they will maintain it and even invest in the preventative and maintenance care. Thus preserving the swamps for future generations.

There are festivals almost every weekend in our state, some are just an excuse to eat and drink, and others are created around actually preserving a piece of the states history. The buggy festival in church point is a great example of this. The people of church point used buggys as their main mode of transportation much later than people around the country, well past the 1950s. This festival was created around preserving and Sharing this history with people from all over the country. They usually have antiques buggies on display and historians on hand telling everything there is to know about them.

These organizations are improving our economy my building interest in our history and how we live our everyday lives. They bring in tourist dollars and really go a long way in creating people opinions of our culture and area. Which will create repeat visitors and referrals.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Day 6

Today we visited a pineapple plantation on the eastern side of Costa Rica. The production manager showed us around the facility and gave us a little background into the operation. He also described to us how recently more and more famers are discontinuing their work and moving to planting pineapples. They believe that this will give them the best opportunity to maximize profits. The problem with this is that growing pineapples take a lot of space, and being that over half of Costa Rica is covered by forest, it leaves very little room for new pineapple farms to develop. So farmers have began buying up the land and cutting down existing forests. I believe this movement to begin growing and exporting Costa Rica's number one agricultural export to not fit in with the country's brand of essential Costa Rica. The brand was created years ago to promote preserving Costa Rica and  implementing a sustainable lifestyle. Deforestation, which had been a huge issue with Costa Rica since the 50s, is one of the issues that Essential Costa Rica is trying to fight. Although these farms employ hundreds of locals and pay them a fair wage, which does put money back into the economy, I believe that removing forests outweighs the benefit. To me this is not consistent with the model of sustainability. The more forest are removed the harder it will be continue the strides that they have made over the past years. Tourist will not want to travel to Costa Rica to tour pineapple crops, but the rain forest in the area is one of the leading attractions.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day 5

Costa Rica has developed an economy that has been built around sustainability and preserving and respecting their culture, ecosystem, and citizens. Because of this they have one of the strongest economies in Central America. They have established free zones within the country that allows large companies to move their operations to Costa Rica, in exchange for severely lessened taxes, or in some cases tax free. This practice is much like the bill that was passed under the Jindal administration, which allowed filmmakers to shoot film in Louisiana for less taxes. Which lead to hundreds of projects being moved to the state, which stimulated the economy. 

Years ago Costa Rica realized that their way of life would not be sustainable, in preserving the ecosystem, which makes up the biggest part of their tourism. They began to implement different parameters that would work to aid this endeavor. the initiative that we learned about today was the free zones that have been established. We visited vmWare and Thomson Rueter, large international companies that are taking advantage of this program. The government also offers even greater tax breaks if companies set up their headquarters outiside of the greater metropolitan ares of their cites. The is one example of how this program is impacting sustainability. Moving the businesses out of the center of town will alleviate traffic flow, lowering carbon emmisions. In the case of Thomson Rueter, they have hubs set up around the city where they will offer transportation to employees free of charge. This promotes the idea of car pooling and limiting the number of vehicles on the road. 

We didnt get a chance to learn much about the operations of vmWare, but we did get a look at their company values, that they believe in deeply. Their values rest heavily on being better people and making the world a better place for everyone. These ideals fit right in with Costa Rica's goal of sustainablility. They are hoping to make their country a better place by enacting change and improving the lives of the people who call it home. VmWare believes in having its customers particpate in giving back to the community, this is just another example of their culture improving sustainability. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Day 4

Establishing a country brand is essential to success when signing trade agreements, because of the added value. Today we listened to two business lectures, one speaking of country branding and the other on trade agreements. Country branding is essentially promoting the exports of products and services to other global economies. In order to successfully establish trade agreements on this grande a scale both must be well known to the other. The benefits of creating a country brand is that the face of that country becomes known to the people around them. This in return, creates a sort of interpersonal relationship between negotiators that shows professionalism. Other benefits include creating a unified brand to be advertised world wide and the economic value that comes from such branding.

In order to create a successful Louisiana brand three things needs to be met. Firstly, Louisiana is a symbol of family much like Costa Rica. The idea would be to brand Louisiana with the slogan "Where you are family. Having lived in Louisiana my whole life, I know how the people treat one another. Neighbors know each other, strangers treat each other like they are family, much like in Costa Rica. This brand would be successful because when people visit other cities they want to be accepted and treated like they are welcome. Not just written off only because they are a tourist. The new brand would let potential visitors know that they will be taken care of if they decide to visit. Whether that is sharing food at a UL tailgate or just sharing with visitors popular spots to visit. Secondly, I would establish the state's goods and services other countries would be interested in. The most important of which would be the natural gas /oil fields and the products created by the ports. Finally, I would call Louisiana the greatest place to visit within the states.  Between the traditional festivals to the cuisine, even to the culture itself. Louisiana's brand is not only the easiest to market but on a country wide range would be the most successful.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monteverde day 2

Today we took another hike into the rain forest on the UGA campus. It was cool.

Pizza was cool.

The eternal forest was cool.

The bar was also cool.

Our professor is also extremely cool.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Monteverde Day 1

On our second day we made the trip up to Monteverde to stay at UGA Costa Rica and see the surrounding areas. We visited a couples businesses and toured the facilities. They two businesses are very different but do have some similarities.

We visited La Bella Tica coffee, a roaster who runs his business in the area. They grow their own coffee beans as well as buying from other suppliers. He described the process and how the coffee goes from the plant to the cup. They showed the traditional ways of roasting coffee beans as well as the more efficient, modern ways. La Bella tica coffee sells their coffee mainly to local and people in the community. They are currently trying to expand the operation, by placing an email addres on the bags and shipping product as requested.

After leaving the coffee roaster we stopped at Monteverde Cosmetics, a small family operation that specializes in making organic, all natural soaps and other cosmetics. They make a base for the soaps then add in different natural ingredients to make different scents. They have a contract with the University in San Jose to help them create new scents by researching new ingredients and creating basically essential oils. Monteverde cosmetics has a larger operation and ships and sells on a larger scale. They sell to certain businesses in the San Jose area, as well as selling on Amazon. They ship crates if product to an Amazon warehouse in Florida, and it then ships to customers from there.

La Bella tica coffee only represents a small segment of the supply chai. They take coffee, process it and roast it. Then sell a small amount to local, and give some to those who help. Monteverde cosmetics takes it from the beginning to the end with the help of Amazon. Both Ways are different but they suit the business and help it become successful.

Day 1

After long delays and slow lines through customs, we finally have arrived in San Jose. I was never well versed in Spanish, but after the first hour in Costa Rica, I've noticed just how little Spanish I actually know. Which is none I suppose. Hopefully I am able to pick up enough conversational Spanish to get by.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Pre Departure

The day has finally come for us to board our flights and head to San Jose, Costa Rica. I am very excited to embark on this adventure. Cannot wait to experience the culture and see all what