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Tourism in Costa Rica Drops

Jun 06

La Fortuna Was a Ghost Town Early this November

Costa Rica is one of the most popular tourist destinations for North Americans and is in the top 5 countries visited by this group. Many North Americans own property in Costa Rica as the flights are only between 2 to 5 hours in duration. However, over the past 12 months (from September 2007 through August 2008), Costa Rica received 10,000 less tourists from North America than the year before during a similar time period. The worst month this year for tourist entrances was this August, with 8,500 visitors less than last August.

The current economic situation in the U.S. has had a domino affect on Costa Rican tourist visits, especially as 54% of tourists are from the states. Carlos Ricardo Benavides, the Minister of Tourism, stated that the months of September and October this year were some of toughest in Costa Rica tourism history. This was partially due to U.S. focus on the elections rather than focus on vacations. This October saw only 122,000 people vacation to Costa Rica, however in October last year 130,500 people vacationed here.

Even though these figure have been released, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) is still hopeful for a 7% increase in overall tourists for the year, a number that dropped from the more optimistic prediction of 15% earlier in the year. In fact, they are soon expecting the 2,000,000th tourist of the year to land in Costa Rica within the next couple of days, and hope to round out the year with a total of 2.1 million tourists. This will be a historic benchmark for the country, something that they can hopefully continue to match or improve on despite touch economic factors affecting the entire world.

Many hotels are not even full for the high season in Costa Rica (Dec – Mar) and many such as Si Como No are offering incentives to stay extra nights with 50% off your final night. La Mansion Arenal in Arenal is offering the 4th night free if you pay for 3 throughout 2009.

This could well be a tough year for tourism in Costa Rica, however the Tico’s are hopeful that they will still be one of the premier tourist destinations in the world.

Photo courtesy of Delia Hernandez.

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Category: Costa Rica News  | Tags: , , ,  | 285 views

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