Costa Rica offers itself to the world as a “sanctuary of well-being”, endorsed by efficient sanitary protocols and based on sustainability and biodiversity without crowds, underlines the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura. He explains that his country is open to all “international tourism”.
Segura recognizes that these are “complicated” times due to the uncertainty generated by the Pandemic, so he recommends speaking with travel advisers who know in detail what is happening in Costa Rica, those who have been able to verify that health prevention protocols are very ” well implemented “.
Costa Rica, a country with 97% literacy, has a “solidarity health system that includes 1,053 primary care clinics in rural and coastal areas,” highlights the Minister of Tourism. The Government has been able to verify that, of the 450,000 international tourists who arrived between last August and this April, there is only a 0.2% incidence rate of contagion among them. “This speaks very well of our prevention protocols”, they are “very solid”, he assures.
“Those travelers who want to go to a biosecure destination, based on open natural areas, based on biodiversity and non-agglomerated experiences, a ’boutique’ destination, we open our arms to them and tell them to come to Costa Rica,” he emphasizes.
The tourism industry is very important in Costa Rica, representing almost 9% of GDP, but it has been hit hard by the effects of the Pandemic. This has meant a drastic reduction of a third in the number of foreign visitors, from 3.1 million in 2019 to one million in 2020, and of the sector’s foreign exchange earnings, from 4,000 million dollars to 1,300 million, says Segura.
The forecasts are for one million international tourists also this year, approximately and, from there, he expects a “gradual process of recovery”, driven by an already “vigorous” resumption of direct air connectivity from the US and Europe. European travelers grow year after year and are already 25% of all foreigners who arrive; they are demanding and this helps the quality of tourist services to grow.
Sustainable Nature And Vaccination As Motors
Segura predicts that 2022 is going to be a much “faster” recovery year, due to a significant increase in the mass vaccination in the main countries of origin of tourists arriving in Costa Rica (USA, Canada, Spain, United Kingdom, France , Germany).
“Vaccination, without a doubt, is a very important basis of our hope,” he admits, “but coupled with the fact that the fundamentals of Costa Rica as a tourist destination, which are not new, have already been developed for decades, and are particularly important right now”.
Thus, he mentions its system of 30 national parks (26% of its geography is a protected area). Tourists today go to seek outdoor experiences, of nature, in open spaces, and “that is what Costa Rica has been as a tourist destination for many decades.” “We offer the world a sanctuary of well-being”, of knowing “la Pura Vida”, which is the opposite of the Pandemic, he adds.
To facilitate the arrival of tourists, right now the only two entry requirements are an electronic affidavit, the so-called “health pass”, of not having COVID; and the presentation of a health coverage insurance in case of contagion and quarantine during the stay, although the incidence among tourists is “very low”, he adds.