The tourism sector in Costa Rica seeks innovative actions such as virtual fairs and alternative promotions to adapt to the “new reality” that will prevail in the near future due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, which will force entrepreneurs to reinvent themselves.
After the closure of borders worldwide and in force for Costa Rica since mid-March, the tourism sector has been one of the most affected by the Pandemic, especially since the crisis came just begining a high season that was looking foward as one of the best in years.
The Costa Rican Association of Tourism Professionals (Acoprot) announced as a starting point towards recovery the “Expotur Tourist Fair”, whose thirty-sixth edition will be held from October 12th to 17th, and for the first time in a virtual manner.
The organizer’s goal is for at least 300 tourism entrepreneurs from all over the world interested in Costa Rica’s tourism products and services to participate, who may also hold meetings with Costa Rican vendors.
Adapting to a virtual fair will require technological and audiovisual tools so that Costa Rican entrepreneurs can offer international buyers experiences that emulate the tropical forest, beaches, mountains, volcanoes and all the country’s natural riches.
The businessman Daniel Chavarría, who is responsible for attracting buyers to Expotur, explained that: “it is very important to work on the reactivation because we have been in a zero season and that digital promotion is becoming an obligation for us. This activity will be the first opportunity to promote Costa Rica’s tourism products and services during the Pandemic internationally, establishing business appointments with buyers from Europe, the United States, Canada, and other countries,” said Chavarría.
The businessman also said that European airlines already have flights sold to Costa Rica and are waiting for the government to open its air borders, something tentatively scheduled for August 1st. “We believe that Costa Rica offers what the traveler of the new normal will seek, authentic experiences and security protocols. It is the ideal destination adding its sustainability, nature and well-being emphasis that already characterizes it ”, he added.
A Hit Sector Seeking To Resurge
The president of Acoprot, Erasmo Roja, explained that tourism is the best industry that Costa Rica has since it contributes between 8% and 9% of GDP and employs some 600,000 people directly or indirectly.
Rojas affirmed that this has been a sector seriously hit by the Pandemic, since between 90% and 95% of companies have been “at zero” this season, but was optimistic that Expotur will mean a “starting point” towards a recovery that “will not happen overnight.”
The objective of the tourist exchange is to generate visitations for the 2021 and 2022 seasons and to send a message that Costa Rica continues to work on the quality of its tourist product and that it has adequate sanitary protocols.
For his part, businessman Massi Devoto commented that the sector is hopeful that at the end of 2020 there will be a small resurgence similar to a “good low season” and positively valued the contribution of local tourism, although it is far from offsetting the 3 million of foreign tourists who visit the country every year.
At Expotur, which has the support of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, businessmen from all over the tourist chain will participate: from car rentals and tour operators to hotels, travel agencies and other providers.