Authorities and tourism entrepreneurs in Costa Rica began this Monday Expotur, the main fair of the sector in the country, with the hope of contributing to the economic reactivation in times of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
After 35 years of being held annually in person, 2020 will be the first edition of this fair to be held virtually, which has been a challenge for the organizers of the event. Participation numbers are similar to those of previous editions: 264 Costa Rican suppliers of tourism products and services, and 250 international buyers from 33 countries, who will hold (virtual) business meetings from Monday until next Saturday.
“Faced with adversity, we must respond with perseverance. As a country we could not ignore what we learned, the results that Expotur has produced and will continue to produce positive results,” said Erasmo Rojas, president of the Costa Rican Association of Tourism Professionals (Acoprot) at the opening event, which organizes the fair. Rojas assured that “Costa Rica is alive and open to everyone” to receive tourists, to whom Pura Vida awaits you.”
The Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, affirmed that Expotur means “hope” for the tourism sector, which is one of the engines of the Costa Rican economy and which has been severely hit by the restrictions imposed by the global Pandemic.
Segura said that another sign of hope is that all the airlines that flew to Costa Rica before the Pandemic have already resumed their operations in the country or have announced a date for their return. “All of this makes us feel hopeful and we must focus on that hope,” said the Minister.
Segura highlighted the tourist attractions of Costa Rica as its natural and cultural riches, but also that this country does not have an army and that throughout history it has developed a solid health system that has allowed it to face the Pandemic successfully.
Strict health safety protocols
Another attraction of Costa Rica is the application of specific health protocols for the tourism sector. Tourism has been one of the sectors hardest hit by the Pandemic in Costa Rica, as air borders were closed between March and July. Since August a gradual reopening began and as of November 1st, Costa Rica receives flights and tourists from anywhere in the world.
Before the Pandemic, Costa Rica, a country of 5 million inhabitants, received close to 3 million tourists each year. In 2020, international visitation was zero between March and July, and between August and October, with the gradual opening of flights, only 9,000 international visitors arrived, according to data from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT). According to the ICT, in this reopening period, not a single contagion of COVID-19 has been detected in tourists, thanks to the preventive protocols that are applied.