In this episode, Crist Inman discusses conservation-based tourism in Costa Rica and beyond, including his 20 years of leading a management company, La Paz Group, which worked with clients such as Costa Rica's Lapa Rios and Belize's Chan Chich Lodge. In 2019, Crist co-founded Organikos, a company that works with entrepreneurs in the artisanal food sector to commercialize “taste of place” products, and Authentica, a retail business focused on locally produced, design-forward handicrafts.
Crist began his career in restaurant and hotel operations, followed by graduate studies at Cornell University. His doctoral dissertation provided a foundation for the entrepreneurial conservation work he has been involved in ever since. In 1995 he was invited to lead the Tourism Competitiveness & Sustainable Development project, facilitating innovation in Latin America’s emerging “green” destinations. Starting in Costa Rica he worked with public and private sector leaders to ensure a coherent national strategy with conservation commitments as a key selling point. He continued this work over the next several years in the other Central American countries, followed by the Andean region, the Galapagos Islands, and Chile’s Patagonia region.
In 1999 he founded a management company to serve conservation-focused investors in this niche: La Paz Group has focused on developing and managing brands in the private sector dedicated to the entrepreneurial conservation of natural and cultural patrimony. This practice has included the planning, start-up and ongoing operations management of conservation-focused resorts such as Lapa Rios in Costa Rica, and Chan Chich Lodge in Belize, and expanding Xandari from a single resort in Costa Rica to a multi-property brand in Kerala, India.
From 2000-2010 Crist also taught courses in social enterprise for ESSEC in France, Instituto de Empresa in Spain, as well as Columbia University and Cornell University in the USA. For Cornell his course offered graduate students the opportunity to participate in semester-long field work on sustainable development projects in Senegal; Costa Rica; Croatia; Kerala, India; the Siberia region of the Russian Federation; and the Patagonia region of Chile.
In 2019 Crist co-founded Organikos, a company that works with entrepreneurs in the artisanal food sector to commercialize “taste of place” products, and Authentica, a retail business focused on locally produced design-forward handicrafts.
La Paz Group
“Beans, Birds, and Business Savvy” (Carol Latter)- Seasons Magazine
Professor Crist Inman on Sustainability, CBS Master Class, and beavers!- 3 minutes from/about the last course Crist taught
Patagonia Expedition Race