Last Thursday the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) reported record numbers for people traveling to Costa Rica in 2013. With 2.4 million visitors arriving, the number of people traveling to Costa Rica increased 3.6% over the past year. According to the ICT, Costa Rica saw 2,427,941 international arrivals with the biggest growth of travelers coming from tourists flying to Costa Rica. According to Allan Flores, Costa Rica tourism provided the country with $2.43 billion in revenues in 2013.
In 2013 the number of travelers visiting Costa Rica by air reached a record 1.6 million, up 4.6%, and those traveling to Costa Rica by land or sea was around 800,000.
According to Flores, “The sustained growth (of tourist arrivals) by air in these last four years is the reflection of an aggressive strategy to attract new airlines, (with) new destinations and more seats, on which we have been working jointly in the public and private sectors.”
The majority of those traveling to Costa Rica are Gringos. Over 39% of tourists are from the United States and 12.4% come from Europe. The remainder comes from Central America and other parts of the world.
CANATUR Hopes to Improve Costa Rica Tourism Numbers in 2014
With these new statistics, tourism has now grown over 15.6% during President Laura Chinchilla’s administration; however, the National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) is not satisfied with the 3.6% growth.
According to the Tico Times CANATUR President Isabela Vargas said, “We always consider any increase in the number of visitors as positive, but we can’t say we’re satisfied – it’s not enough. Costa Rica has the natural conditions and a tourist product to attract more travelers than those who are coming now.”
In order to improve the tourism numbers for 2014 the National Tourism Chamber has said that government actions to reduce the cost of energy and fuel, to offer better public safety, as well as to make procedures more flexible and improve infrastructure will be required.
Employing over 150,000 people and indirectly providing work for another 400,000, tourism in Costa Rica is undoubtedly a major component of the country’s economy.