Rafting on the Sagavre river. Photo Mydestination.com
Rafting on the Sagavre river. Photo Mydestination.com

COSTA RICA TOURISM – Costa Rica aims to attract tourists with more purchasing power, educated and who stay more days, announced the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ICT) – Costa Rican Tourism Board.

The aim is not only to increase the number of arrivals, but also their time spent in the country and the average spending, said Thursday the Minister of Tourism, Wilhelm von Breymann, and Rodolfo Lizano, Head of ICT’s Planning and Development.

According to ICT figures, the number of tourist arrivals increased by 4.1% in 2014 over the previous year, from 2.42 to 2.52 million. In terms of spending, tourists spent USD$2.63 billion in 2014, an 8.3% increase over 2013 when spending was USD$2.43 billion.

On average, last year tourists spent 12 nights in Costa Rica. In 2013, the average was 12.1 nights, up from 11.6 nights in 2012.

The ICT says when compared to other destinations in the region, in 2012, the last year numbers are available by the World Tourism Organization (WTO), tourists spent an average of 10 nights in Cuba, 8 in Panama, 10.4 in Mexico and 7.8 in Nicaragua.

It’s not enough. The executive directors of the National Chamber of Tourism (Canatur), Tatiana Cascante, and the Costa Rican Chamber of Hotels (CCH), Flora Ayub, agreed, separately, the country should not attract mass tourism, but more is needed to be done to attract more visitors.

Cascante explained that a 4% increase in visitors is good, but the private sector wants more, especially when countries like Guatemala and Nicaragua saw increases of 8.1% and 7.1%, respectively.

According to Lizano, Costa Rica has advantage with 45.531 rooms, when compared to 11.189 in Nicaragua and 22.768 in Panama, which affect their growth in coming years and will difficult for them to achieve the levels of our country.

However, Ayub asks where do tourists stay, when in San José there is a 50% vacancy rate and there are problems filling rooms in other areas.

Source: La Nacion