The Three Keys to the Continual Growth of Tourism In Costa Rica

Costa Rica, which re-opened its doors to international tourism in August 2020 with the arrival of an Iberia flight, has positioned itself in 2021 as the best alternative to travel in this period and in the post-pandemic, recovering more than 30% by April of its visitors.

As part of the strategy in its commitment to the reactivation of tourism, the Minister of Tourism of Costa Rica, Gustavo Segura, visited Spain within the framework of Fitur accompanied by the delegation of the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) and sixteen tourism companies that wanted to be present in the international exhibition.

In specialized events aimed at the professional tourism sector and the press, Segura presented first-hand the achievements of the tourism industry in Costa Rica since its gradual international opening began in August 2020, becoming one of the few countries in the world open totally in which you do not need a PCR test nor quarantine to enter.

Progressive international opening

Since March 2020, a Roadmap has been activated marked by a path towards tourist reactivation in which 17 health protocols have been implemented for tourist activities and progress has been made little by little in softening measures related to capacity, opening of beaches and guarantee of compliance with safety and health protocols. All this culminated in November 2020 with the opening to 100% of the maritime and air borders for international visitors.

In fact, at present, a total of 471 Costa Rican companies have the Safe Travels seal granted by the World Travel and Tourism Council to the country and since the 100% opening of the air and maritime border of Costa Rica, it has recovered to April represents 30% of international tourism, which translates into 295,999 international arrivals from January to April 2021, “a growing trend compared to the last months of 2020,” says Minister Segura. “Although the scenarios are variable, we estimate that with the measures we have implemented we could receive up to 1 million tourists in 2021, which would allow many companies to operate at a balance point,” he concludes.

This figure is expected to increase significantly after the agreement with Iberojet (Grupo Ávoris / Barceló) that will provide new direct weekly flights from Madrid to San José (Tuesdays and Saturdays) as of July 13th, complementary to the traditional direct flights of Iberia, which at present operates with three weekly frequencies, but starting in the summer it recovers the daily frequency as before the Pandemic throughout July and August, in addition to the operations of other European airlines such as Lufthansa, KLM, Air France or Edelweiss.

The opening of the air border is of vital importance for the reactivation of employment through the tourist industry, which in turn is one of the main engines of the national economy, responsible for almost 10 points of the Gross Domestic Product and more than 600 thousand direct and indirect jobs. The reactivation of the tourist industry also entails the generation of foreign exchange, which is of crucial importance for the stability of the exchange rate of the dollar against the colon.

Costa Rica, a land volcano with clouds above, here we present its competitive advantages:

Visitor profile

With an innovative tourism model, based on the development of the destination and its products; sustainable; and inclusive – which is committed to the benefit and development of local communities-, the profile of the tourist who visits Costa Rica is that of a cultured visitor, with a high educational level and income, who is interested in the country – not only for its attractions. tourism- and for those destinations with principles according to their interest. They prefer culture and nature to nightlife and they like to move around and get to know, in addition to trying the local gastronomy. Likewise, more than half (54%) prioritize saving on flights compared to the 20% who prefer to save on accommodation.

Costa Rican Intrinsic Values

The success of this recovery lies in the clear positioning of the country as a “sustainable tourist sanctuary” par excellence, since, in addition to grouping more than 6.5% of the world’s biodiversity, it continues to implement measures of expanded sustainability conservation (it has 26% of protected areas in 54% of forested territory) and of social progress in tourism, configuring a leading tourist destination in the world in terms of ecotourism, sports & adventure, well-being, multiculturalism, traditions, gastronomy and sustainable luxury, wide air connectivity to European level and with the safety of tourists ensured with compliance with all COVID regulations.

Pura Vida

In addition to all this, the country of Pura Vida has always been perceived among the first positions of the happiest countries in the world, and the first in Latin America in the Happiness Index of the “New Economic Foundation”; committed to conservation; peaceful, since it does not have an army and therefore does not have military spending; without a disproportionate growth in tourism: 94% of the country’s tourism industry are small-scale companies with fewer than 40 rooms; and also, with leadership in the field of renewable energies and the decarbonization plan.

It is a government axis with which it hopes to become a green economy with net zero emissions in 2050, thanks to measures such as the prohibition of the use and entry of single-use plastics in National Parks, Biological Reserves and National Monuments, effective from last February. In addition, Costa Rica accumulates six years with more than 98% of renewable electricity generation.

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