Despite the positive numbers, businessmen are reserved in their projections for January, since they are clear that the visitation was from local tourists
The last weeks of December brought a bit of tranquility to entrepreneurs and workers in the tourism sector, with hotel occupancy that reached between 70% and 80% in beach areas, according to surveys conducted by the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels.
While the tourist areas located on the beaches of Guanacaste, the Central Pacific and the Caribbean showed very positive numbers, occupancy in those of the mountains was between 45% and 50%, especially in areas such as Monteverde or La Fortuna and in the cities it was limited to 30%.
According to Flora Ayub, president of the Chamber of Hotels, they are clear that these numbers responded to the last two weeks of vacation and that they correspond mostly to national tourists.
“You have to take into account that there is no high season, it is not something we will see this year and we do not know how long it will be; Although it is true that international tourism is gradually increasing and the country makes its efforts to promote Costa Rica abroad, the process is slow,” Ayub clarified. According to the most recent data on foreigners’ incomes, Costa Rica received a total of 36,044 tourists by air, mostly from the United States, Europe and Central America.
For Tadeo Morales of the Arenal-Chamber of Tourism of the North Zone, one must be very reserved when analyzing the numbers of the visitation of the last two weeks, which presented the highest peak of visitation (historically they are the most assisted over the years).
“The figures for this end of the year 2020 and the beginning of 2021 do not allow us to say that we had a recovery, if we compare the visitation with previous years, of course, we have to thank the national tourism responding positively. Visitation was between 40% and 80% occupancy in all sites, and although international tourism does not exceed 25% of what we had in the past, it is an incentive, “said Morales.
Rescue plan needed
From their perspective, tourism in Costa Rica will not be the same, because they feel that the government and authorities do not take seriously the requests of the sector to promote a rescue plan and what could be expected is that many companies close and banks begin to execute collaterals, bankrupting many.
“Many large hotels are looking to raise money to pay settlements and reduce their services again, unfortunately some will not be able to survive. We cannot accept a speech by the President of Costa Rica saying that we are already seeing a recovery in tourism, because that is not the case”, argued the businessman.
On the contrary, Morales indicated, that government discourse denotes a total misunderstanding of the economic administration that the country has at this time, which does not understand the dynamics of the sector, does not carry out actions, or make proposals to rescue the standard of living of families working in rural areas.
For her part, Flora Ayub added that it was essential for hotels, especially in the Greater Metropolitan Area, to seek innovation mechanisms, so as to attract local tourists. Some examples of this type of initiative are related to offering weekend packages or a single day to visit the hotel facilities, where they can do movie sessions or bubble pool, allowing them to have a reservation, exempting them from the restriction vehicular measures.