The behavior of tourism this year has been valued as very positive by the government and the private sector, both due to the increase in visitor arrivals and the improvement in income from the activity. However, thinking of consolidating the definitive recovery of the sector by 2023, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) and businessmen consulted by La República point out several opportunities for improvement in the medium and long term.
Developing the San Francisco market and that of Philadelphia, in the United States and Montreal, in Canada, throughout the year, is part of the bets that the ICT has planned to continue strengthening the country’s air connectivity. “In order to recover the figures of 2019, both in visitation and in foreign currency, we value returning to international fairs that we had suspended due to lack of financial resources, such as Top Resa, congress and meeting tourism fairs, and fairs dedicated to nautical tourism, in addition to other fairs that are very relevant to the country, such as adventure, weddings, bird watching, and wellness fairs”, said William Rodríguez, Minister of Tourism.
Likewise, he stressed that the institution maintains “intense work” with tourist agents and wholesalers that generate the sale of the national destination in other countries. On the other hand, promoting campaigns for local tourism and strengthening the use of hosting technology platforms will be necessary for tourism to benefit during 2023, according to Hernán Imhoff, president of the Tamarindo Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.
“We must carry out campaigns that help locals to undertake and exercise cultural tourism, this in turn will have a positive impact on the Tamarindo area and its surroundings, since we will further promote our Costa Rican culture, making us a more attractive area for tourists, our essence of Pura Vida is a key factor in attracting tourists who return to the country as a destination”, said Imhoff. Taking an extra step on the issue of recycling to consolidate Costa Rica as an environmentally friendly country will be necessary, either by improving education programs for local communities or with contributions from private companies, according to Imhoff.
Within the strategy of the recovery of tourism, nationals will have a fundamental role, which is why businessmen hope that Ticos take the initiative to travel throughout the year to new places. “We hope that this occupation will improve with the entry and arrival of more tourists, that Costa Ricans take the initiative to vacation more at different times of the year and that they are not the same destinations, because many times when it is rainy in one area, in others it is summer, that they get to know and learn that Costa Rica can be enjoyed throughout the year, depending on the area and the budget they have and their tastes”, said Flora Ayub, executive director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH).
In this sense, the intention is that the eventual improvement of 2023 does not remain only in certain areas, but can be perceived in all regions of the country. Having a government focused on strengthening, taking advantage of, and encouraging the development of tourism activities is the best strategy for the sector, according to Tadeo Morales, vice president of the Arenal Chamber of Tourism and Commerce. “As a country we need to understand that the best business in Costa Rica is tourism, it is a good business for everyone, for society, rural economies, the national economy, attracting foreign currency, it is very good for everyone. If people start to have a better way of life, they will be a better taxpayer”, explained Morales.
All these opportunities for improvement are essential for the country to reach again or exceed the figure of 3.1 million visitors in 2023, where Costa Rica could get ahead in the tourist recovery with respect to other countries that project until 2024 or 2025 a behavior similar to that of 2019.