Stephanie Sheehy

From a Family Business to a Costa Rica for All

Stephanie Sheehy

From a family business to a Costa Rica for all

Emilio and Stephanie started their business in 2005 when they were only 25 years old. They were a young couple that decided to create a local ground operator where people were treated as individuals, not just numbers. Since the creation of IL VIAGGIO TRAVEL, the company's goal has been to provide unforgettable experiences in Costa Rica. 

From 2013 to 2016, the family expanded, and with two kids, Emilio and Stephanie began exploring the country from a different perspective, that of parents. It was during this time that they realized every family had different needs but a common desire for a seamless, joyful, and memorable trip.

Recognizing the importance of family trips and the need for specialization to gain a competitive edge, IL VIAGGIO TRAVEL realized that families come in a wide variety, including those with temporary or permanent disabilities. 

In 2013, the company started analyzing the country, and leveraging Stephanie's knowledge in design, they began implementing accessibility measures throughout the tourism value chain. This comprehensive process of investment, transformation, training, and the creation of accessible itineraries across the country took three years. 

In 2016, the company welcomed its first group of five wheelchair users from Spain, marking the beginning of a profound connection.

Driven by the achievement of showcasing the same Costa Rica to everyone, the company continued its efforts to create new accessible services throughout the country. IL VIAGGIO TRAVEL assists suppliers by providing training, conducting accessibility assessments, and helping them improve their facilities. 

In 2017, Emilio and Stephanie realized that to make a lasting impact and turn their vision into reality, a more robust organization was needed. Thus, the NGO Costa Rica Tourism Accessible Network was born, with 10 other founders who shared the belief in this path.

The NGO has three main objectives: to inform, educate, and verify. These goals have guided the execution of various projects, including a new country plan in which inclusion and accessibility are among the three key priorities. Additionally, two remarkable innovative projects have extended beyond the country's borders:

By promoting inclusive, accessible, sustainable, responsible, and social tourism, we can make a significant impact on 10 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The realization of change relies on the strong collaboration between the private and public sectors. Although much work lies ahead, Costa Rica is steadfastly progressing towards a future where people can be themselves, enjoy their experiences, and actively participate in a respectful, sustainable environment. The aim is for Costa Rica to become a global example, with its people as the central pillar of this transformation.

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

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