In a scenario where Costa Rican tourism celebrated the recovery of pre-pandemic levels, an internal problem raises alarm: the exchange rate. And the record fall of the dollar has become a financial nightmare for micro and small tourism businesses. This week, the currency closed at ¢516.73 in the Foreign Currency Market.
“Yes, it is true, more than a year ago we were at 680 colones per dollar, but more than 15 years ago we had an even better exchange rate than the current one. So we are receiving fewer colones per dollar than what we received 15 years ago and I ask: How much have the costs of producing what is needed in services to serve tourists increased during these 15 years? How much have salaries increased?
How much have the CCSS fee amounts increased?
In the last 4 years alone our costs have risen about 20%. Imagine how much they have risen in 15 years! The increase in tourists does not compensate, by far, for the drop in income and the increase in costs,” said Bary Roberts, spokesperson for the Tourism Movement for Costa Rica.
The contrast with regional competitors such as Colombia and the Dominican Republic, which devalue their currencies to gain competitiveness, leaves Costa Rica at a disadvantage.
In this sense, Roberts warns about the risk for tourism MSMEs
“It has been disastrous for tourism and we will see many of the MSMEs, which are small companies with three to 20 employees, that are going to close because they simply cannot withstand the cash flow and the drop in income and they are getting into debt, they are getting into problems, as we had to do during the pandemic,” Roberts added. Tourism for Costa Rica makes an urgent call to government authorities and the Central Bank, urging them to take measures to reverse this situation.