American tourists who want to come to Costa Rica mainly seek experiences in adventure tourism, pleasure, and ecotourism. This was demonstrated in the survey of more than 460 travel agents during the Proimagen Seminars held during 2017 in the main cities of the East Coast (Washington, Philadelphia, and Boston) and West (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego).
The survey contributes to valuable information for the development of work plans in the private sector and in the marketing strategies of the country directed by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT).
Adventure (23%): According to the prestigious Network of Luxury Travel Agents: Virtuoso; Costa Rica is in the top 3 of emerging adventure destinations in the world and consider that other countries in Latin America (Peru, Chile, and Cuba) regionally offer the perfect mix between nature and culture that the current traveler is looking for. Costa Rica, for its part, has a wide range of adventure tourism, including hiking, nature walks, cycling, kayaking, horseback riding, tubing, sport fishing, photography, diving, snorkeling, canopy, rafting, rappelling among others, which It allows the adventurer to enjoy the adrenaline in areas such as Rincón de la Vieja, Arenal, and many other places along the country.
Pleasure (21%): Looking for authentic experiences during your vacation, today’s travelers no longer wish to just rest or sunbathe. They hope to learn something new in the destinations they visit and integrate with the community. Talef Rifai, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), recommends for this reason to Costa Rica to strategically enter the cultural tourism market and creatively, make the most of our idiosyncrasy and folklore, incorporating them in each of the vacation experiences of our American visitors.
Ecotourism (17%): According to the National Geographic magazine, the Osa Peninsula is the most intense place in biodiversity in the world, and more and more ecotourism lovers visit this and many other sustainable destinations, such as Tortuguero, Turrialba, Sarapiquí, and Monteverde, among others. One of the favorite niches of ecotourism, it is currently the observation of birds, since in Costa Rica you can see more than 900 species of birds, and their sighting coincides strategically with the months of the green season, according to Sergio Arias, expert Costa Rican ornithologist.
In addition, the experiences of “Luxury” (16%), “Romance” (15%), and an increasing tendency of “Gastronomy” (8%) continue in the travelers’ order of preference. Apart from seeking innovation through these relevant market segments, it is extremely important to strengthen national and tourist security, which is key for the incoming government. It should reinforce and coordinate the different institutions for the training and execution of various multi-sectoral actions. Indeed, insecurity is one of the strongest detractors of tourism activity.
Currently, both Proimagen and ICT invest in the main international destinations, based on relevant studies and statistics such as the “Best Prospects” of Travel Styles, which analyzes the international cities where people with the greatest potential to visit Costa Rica are located.
In these cities, the ICT is in charge of promoting marketing campaigns and attending tourism promotion fairs, while Proimagen, as its right arm, strengthens the institutional work of promotion through the organization of executive seminars to train travel agents and the organization of familiarization trips, in order that these agents can come to know the product and tourist offer of Costa Rica.