Costa Rica and Cayuga Collection @ SXSW

What is SxSW?

South by Southwest, abbreviated as SXSW and colloquially referred to as South By, is an annual event of parallel film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences organized jointly that take place in Austin, Texas.

It started in the late ’80s as a local music festival and over the years became a premier launching point for up-and-coming music acts, under-the-radar movies, and tech startups. Because of its great reputation, the biggest names in entertainment and tech now flock to Austin each year as well.

We were very excited and proud to be selected by the Costa Rica Tourism Board to represent the Costa Rica private tourism sector at this prestigious event in 2022. Cayuga’s Co-Founder and President Hans Pfister shared the stage in a panel discussion with ICT’s Marketing Director Carolina Trejos and the Co-fonder of an NGO called “Five Minute Beach Cleanup” Carolina Sevilla. The moderator was James Wong, a travel journalist based in Austin.

Hans Pfister (Cayuga Collection) and Carolina Sevilla (Five Minute Beach Cleanup) at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

We shared our vision of creating the symbiosis of sustainability and luxury at our eight Cayuga Collection Hotels in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama to a very engaged audience asking lots of questions. They were especially curious and inquiring about the “secret” of Costa Rica’s success. Carolina Trejos emphasized Costa Rica’s decision to abolish the army in the late 1940s and invest in education and health as well as the creation of an extensive national park system.

Hans Pfister was very passionate about “walking the talk” in sustainable practices and how guests can spot properties that are just “greenwashing” from hotels, resorts, and lodges that really committed to doing things right. Asking guests to save electricity and water by reutilizing their towels or recycling plastic bottles is not enough to make a difference.

One of the added bonuses of being invited to this event was the opportunity to attend other conferences and hear speakers like Francis Haugen, one of the “Facebook Whistleblowers” or attend networking activities and concerts.

Francis Haugen, Facebook Whistleblower at SxSW

One great surprise was running into Millay Cogan at one of the social events. Millay was an intern at one of our hotels in Costa Rica after graduating from the Hotel School at Cornell University. She developed a passion for sustainability and stayed on for a few months longer becoming Cayuga’s first Sustainability Coordinator in 2008. She had not been back to Costa Rica so it was great to catch up. What a small world…

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