Ronald Sanabria leads the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts to make tourism a viable conservation tool -- one that protects the environment and promotes the well-being of local communities. A native of Costa Rica, Sanabria has worked with the tourism industry on certification, productivity, quality assurance and sustainability since 1992. He joined the Rainforest Alliance in 1998, first working with the Sustainable Agriculture Division. Two years later, he began leading the development of the Sustainable Tourism program.
Sanabria has coordinated projects in a dozen Latin American countries, supporting sustainable tourism training and technical assistance for hundreds of tourism businesses and community-based operations while also connecting them with the marketplace. He led the creation of the Sustainable Tourism Network of the Americas (STCNA) and chaired its secretariat from 2003 to 2010. He assisted the creation of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) and sat on its board of directors from 2010 to 2012. He currently represents the Rainforest Alliance at the United Nations’ Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism.
Sanabria was the recipient of the 2008 EXPOTUR Friend of Nature Award in recognition of his efforts to promote sustainable tourism in Costa Rica and was listed in Condé Nast Traveler’s “Power Issue” as one of the 10 most influential guardians of sustainable tourism. His team at the Rainforest Alliance was awarded the Gallina de Oro award from the Costa Rican Association of Rural Community-Based Tourism in 2008 for their support assisting communities engaged in tourism, the Travel + Leisure Global Vision Award in 2009, and The International Ecotourism Society’s Innovation Award in 2010.
Since 1992, Sanabria has taught at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Costa Rica. A Fulbright scholar, he holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Costa Rica and a Master's degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University. Sanabria speaks Spanish, English and Danish fluently.