Although tourism conditions around the world have been affected by COVID-19, Spain is working on various initiatives that would guarantee tourists from Central America an experience with the sanitary measures and conditions stipulated by the European Union and the Schengen Area.
In this regard, Fernando Villalba, Tourism Advisor of the Embassy of Spain, pointed out that although the Iberian country is one of the countries with the highest reception of international tourists along with France and the United States, it is not exempt from complying with the pertinent measures required by international organizations and, for this reason, the authorities have taken on the task of creating different programs that help to guarantee safe tourism, while at the same time providing support to the sector.
This is how the Secretary of State for Tourism, in coordination with the Ministry of Health, undertook the task of creating a series of guides that will help the tourism sector in preventing infections. These cover areas such as service, cleaning and disinfection, maintenance and risk management for the different subsectors of the industry.
Different organizations and entities such as the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP), autonomous communities and the Spanish Association of Occupational Prevention Services (AESPLA) participated in this project, coordinated by the Institute of Tourism Quality, among others.
Data from the Spanish Tourism Office in Mexico reveal that during 2019 Spain received about 55 thousand tourists from Costa Rica, one of the main reasons for their arrival being the search for natural environments similar to those found in the Central American country
Spain waits for Costa Ricans
“Costa Rica is for us not only a recipient of tourists, but also a country that emits tourism, as is the case with Spain. In Costa Rica, nature tourism has great importance and something similar happens in Spain, so we have taken on the task of implementing measures that guarantee enjoyment, but above all provide confidence and security to local and international visitors”.
According to information from the World Tourism
Organization, this sector, with its main focus on activities with nature, represents 15% worldwide. In Spain, during 2019, it was estimated that around 35 million overnight stays would be associated with nature tourism and nearly half a million international tourists would come to the country for mountain tourism.
Measures and Recommendations
Among the measures and recommendations that have been taken for this activity are the limited capacity for each venue, the adaptation of the routes to facilitate social distance, the digitization of brochures and maps, restrictions on interactive facilities (virtual reality, touch screens, etc.), as well as the registration of visitors and the signing of a responsible declaration of knowledge and acceptance of established hygienic-sanitary measures.
However, not only this type of tourism is attracting the attention of foreigners. Data from one of the main reservation portals in Spain mentions that little by little the confidence and interest of visitors in urban tourism or the so-called “slow travel” is recovering, hence cities such as Madrid, Seville and Valencia are profile as three of the sites with the highest reception of tourists.
Regarding the interest of Costa Ricans in the Spanish country, Villalba mentions: “The tourist from Costa Rica visits Spain because they are interested in living gastronomic, urban and cultural experiences.” “In this sense, the hoteliers, for example, have adapted their establishments to ensure the health of their customers and collaborators by reducing capacity, separating tables, limiting the bar and advance reservations,” said Villalba.
He emphasized that the security measures, as well as support materials, are hosted on the Travel Safe site, where in addition to the measures already mentioned, there are specific recommendations for those who will have experiences in tourist transport, beaches, amusement parks , nightlife, ecotourism, among others.
Invitation to Costa Ricans
Finally, Villalba invites Costa Ricans to learn more about the tourism offer that Spain offers its visitors. “We have one of the most important tourist information portals in the world, which is spain.info. There is information on how to travel safely today. It does not refer exclusively to Spain, but is of a general nature. For our part, we will be prepared with the necessary precautions for when people can freely travel again”.