Costa Rica Bets On the Spanish Market to Reactivate the Arrival of European Tourists to the Country

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    This Wednesday May 19th, the World Tourism Fair (Fitur) starts in the city of Madrid, Spain. The participation of Costa Rica, this year, becomes more relevant for an industry that is going through a severe crisis due to the situation caused by the Pandemic.

    The Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, assured that the Spanish market is a key bet to reactivate the arrival of European tourists to the country, especially in the face of the boreal summer (June to August).

    “We hope that this and other actions such as the presence with positive information in the wide-ranging Spanish media, the coordination of immersion trips by travel agents and the press. Also other strategic actions will be reflected, in the coming months, in direct flights from Spain. Both in those of Iberia, as well as in the reservations of the new Iberojet airline”, the Minister stated last Friday.

    Natural sanctuary

    The Minister added that the theme of the offer is aimed at continuing to present the country as a sanctuary to recharge energy and connect with nature. It began to be unveiled at the ITB Berlin Now 2021 fair, another of the most important activities in this industry, internationally.

    Only during 2020, the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur) estimated the losses of the sector at about $ 3,000 million. Although the situation improved after the opening of borders, recognized the hierarch of Canatur, Rubén Acón. The spokesperson said that the national industry will take at least four years to recover the pre-pandemic levels. Acón recalled that before the health crisis, 85% of the business was represented by international tourists.

    Given that the projections point to a gradual increase in international arrivals, it is clear that taking advantage of the long vacation season in the Old Continent is vital to give the sector a breath of fresh air.

    Disruptive actions

    Segura affirmed that the goal is that at least the arrival of tourists who visited the national territory during 2020 is equal. Last year there was a drop of 67%. This is equivalent to the arrival of about one million travelers, while in 2019 the figure was 3.1 million people.

    “Participating in FITUR helps Costa Rica remain present in the minds of potential Spanish and European tourists. Reinforcing the positioning of our country as the ideal destination to recharge energy in the midst of nature in a sanctuary of well-being with the presence of sustainability as a transversal axis ”, he explained.

    The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) will seek to string together and capitalize on a series of disruptive actions that it has been developing in recent months. The outstanding event, by some experts, was to place the name of the country during the Copa del Rey, on April 17th.

    That day, the entity scheduled a total of 300 seconds on the electronic billboards of the soccer stadium, La Cartuja, in Seville. Precisely, the final of the tournament was played there, between FC Barcelona and Athletic Club de Bilbao.

    A couple of weeks earlier, the ICT marketing department also arranged for the production team of the Spanish program Planeta Calleja to visit to record a new episode in the national territory. The renowned show had already been in the country in 2018.

    Strategic projects

    “Costa Rica has the clear purpose and slogan of positioning itself as the ideal destination to recharge energy, as well as a natural sanctuary to reconnect with what is truly essential in life.

    We strive to be in the mind of the traveler so that when there is more confidence and possibility to do tourism, they come to our country to connect with the essential values of life. We have developed high impact strategic projects. Positioning ourselves as a “sustainable tourist sanctuary”, Segura declared.

    At the same time, Segura highlighted the importance of using the country’s good mentions on international portals. Recently, various specialized media publications such as Lonely Planet and National Geographic have highlighted the natural wonders of the country. Precisely, the latter chose Costa Rica as the setting to launch their new official profile on the Tik Tok network.

    Challenges ahead

    Minister Segura recognizes that the challenges are multiple and require immediate solutions. That is why he joined the call that different chambers have made for the Executive and the Legislature to achieve the approval of the largest number of bills that could mean the survival of the industry.

    These range from alternative measures, such as the positioning of Costa Rica as a friendly destination for audiovisual productions, to the Guarantee Fund. The latter has been a clamor within the sector. “We again make a call for consideration and analysis so that the aforementioned projects become law in the coming weeks,” he said.

    According to the ICT projections, published in February, the country would be receiving around 1.6 million international arrivals, this 2021. This, in the best of the visualized scenarios.

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