Costa Rica Targets China as Part of the Recovery for Its Tourism Sector

    As one of the main objective for reactivating the Tico tourism sector

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    Costa Rica will bet on attracting Chinese visitors as one of the strategies for the recovery of the tourism sector, which is one of the engines of the Costa Rican economy and which has been one of the major affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

    The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) announced this past week a series of actions that it will carry out this year to promote the recovery of the sector, among which stands out a relaxation of requirements for Chinese citizens who want to visit the Central American country.

    The main measure is the waiver of the visa requirement for Chinese citizens of the cities of Beijing and Shanghai who want to visit Costa Rica as tourists. This will take effect as of March 1st and these Chinese tourists must comply with the requirement of having purchased a tourism package from a Costa Rican tour operator company duly registered with the authorities.

    Hardest hit

    “The tourism sector is the most affected in our economy due to the Pandemic and, recognizing this reality, we have adopted as a Government, with the leadership of ICT and other institutions, a group of measures to push the reactivation of tourism activity,” said the Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado.

    The President highlighted the greater openness to tourism in China, a country with which Costa Rica established diplomatic relations in 2007. Official data indicate that in 2019, Costa Rica counted 16,847 international arrivals of Chinese citizens. The ICT stressed that the potential of the Chinese market, since around 10% of the inhabitants of that country travel internationally, that is, about 140 million people.

    Other lines of action

    Another line of action announced is the promotion of tourism for nationals through actions such as creating the Father’s Day holiday and that public employees can accumulate days to have an additional day off per week. In addition, when possible, the institutions will allow remote working from tourist facilities suitable for this purpose.

    The Government also announced a series of investments in tourism infrastructure in national parks and credit programs under favorable conditions to support tourism companies and entrepreneurs in the sector.

    Official data indicate that Costa Rica, a country of 5 million inhabitants, received 3.1 million tourists during 2019, which generated 3,968 million dollars in foreign currency, but in 2020, due to the Pandemic, the arrival of tourists to the Central American country experienced a 70% drop.

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